Kirk Emerson

Professor of Practice in Collaborative Governance, School of Government and Public Policy

Joint appointments in School of Planning and College of Public Health

Faculty Associate, Environmental Programs, Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy

Kirk Emerson has had a longstanding career in environmental conflict resolution and collaborative problem solving as a practitioner, trainer, researcher, and administrator. She was the first director of the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution housed at the Udall Foundation (1998-2008), the federal government’s first independent environmental mediation program. She is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Management.

Dr. Emerson’s environmental research focuses on collaborative governance, inter-agency cooperation, and conflict management, particularly related to climate change, public lands management, and U.S.-Mexico borderlands. She is co-author (with Tina Nabatchi) of an award-winning book, Collaborative Governance Regimes, Georgetown University Press, 2015. Her research has been published in the Journal of Public Administration, Research and Theory, Public Performance and Management Review, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Environmental Management, Conflict Resolution Quarterly, Public Administration Review, and Administration & Society.


  • PhD, Political Scienc and Public Policy, Indiana University, 1997