Community of Practice Lead, Transformations Community of Practice
How can communities combine forces to adapt to social and ecological challenges and foster transformational change? This is the motivating question for my work. I partner with learning networks, which enable place-based learning and system-wide adaptation to innovate solutions that are both sitespecific and applicable network-wide. Learning networks do more than just solve local problems – they promote fundamental change by encouraging practitioners to engage in reflection and learning by addressing essential questions like, “What is the system in which I live and practice, and how do I want to change it?” Accomplishing this isn’t easy, and I am particularly inspired by skilled network facilitators, or “netweavers”. Netweavers balance network-wide coherence with community autonomy, encouraging communities to experiment with new approaches that suit their circumstances. Netweavers support an open flow of ideas between communities and work to develop collective capacity that can overcome powerful resistance to systems change. To support their amazing work, I manage a learning community of netweavers, the Netweaver’s Network. My research is qualitative and interpretive, and I apply the principles of participatory action research. I seek to develop close partnerships with the networks I study, engaging netweavers in the research process and providing them with insights from research that can help them achieve their goals. I am particularly interested in partnering with netweavers who are attempting to promote positive change across critical social and ecological thresholds. These include my five primary projects – the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network, the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Initiative, the Locally-Managed Marine Areas Network, the Savory Institute’s restorative agriculture network, and the National STEM Education Centers network.
Areas of Expertise
Ecological Planning, social-ecological resilience, community participation, learning networks
Education, Licensure & Certifications
Former faculty at C.U. Denver (MURP) and Virginia Tech (Planning)
MOST RECENT COURSES
- Systems Thinking and Practice
- Collaborative Planning
- Sustainability Planning
- focusing on how people facilitate ambitious social-ecological change communities
- Networks for systems change
Check out a set of articles in the Social Innovations Journal
an online journal for practitioners. In the first five articles of this special issue, I examine how netweavers can build and maintain the enabling conditions for productivity, commitment, creativity, and purpose in a time of disruption. These papers emerged from a three-year partnership with some of the world’s most highly experienced and effective netweavers. The core of these articles are the words of the netweavers themselves, which I organized and accompanied with enough commentary to make them coherent and cohesive.