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Coronavirus COVID-19

COVID-19 Advisory: The Ruckelshaus Center is working to keep our communities safe. All programming is being provided virtually, postponed, or canceled. Effective March 12, 2020, the Center’s office is closed to the public. We are available via email, phone, and webconference. Contact information can be found here.


A Message from the Ruckelshaus Center Chair, Vice Chair, & Director

We wanted to be sure all of you on the Ruckelshaus Center’s mailing list saw the statements issued by the leaders of our two host universities, Washington State University and the University of Washington, in response to the events of the past two weeks.

The work we do is about ensuring that those who are affected by the outcomes of a policy-making process are included in that process. Collaborative governance is about enabling solutions to complex challenges based not on who can muster just enough votes or stifle opposing perspectives, but rather on establishing a shared set of facts, and using that shared understanding to help wide-ranging interests reach consensus on solutions that address the needs of all affected parties, not just those who have traditionally had power.

In her statement, UW President Ana Mari Cauce says, “I am confident that we can and will continue to learn and grow together, building toward a healthier future for all … to address issues of equity, racism, and bias.” WSU President Kirk Schulz says, “When our actions are informed by the truth of others, we can move forward, together, courageously and realize the aspirations of racial and social justice. Only then can we begin to create an authentic space from which to proceed.” We, at the Ruckelshaus Center, are honored to be asked to help create those authentic spaces.

With hope for a more just future,




Bob Drewel                            Phyllis Campbell                    Michael Kern
Advisory Board Chair           Board Vice Chair                    Director

Coronavirus COVID-19

The Ruckelshaus Center and its universities (Washington State University and the University of Washington) have been closely monitoring the outbreak of a respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus, COVID-19. The Center’s offices at Washington State University’s Seattle office and at the University of Washington’s Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy & Governance are closed to the public, but our team is still doing its work virtually, and can be reached via phone or email. For contact information, click here.


The mission of the William D. Ruckelshaus Center is to help parties involved in complex public policy challenges in the State of Washington and the Pacific Northwest tap university expertise to develop collaborative, durable and effective solutions.


The Center envisions a future in which government leaders, policy makers, and citizens routinely employ tools of collaborative decision making to design, conduct and implement successful public policy processes.


We are a joint effort of Washington State University (hosted and administered by the WSU Extension) and the University of Washington (hosted through the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance). Building on the unique strengths of these two institutions, the Center applies university resources and knowledge towards solving challenging public policy issues.


Collaboration, consensus, neutrality, knowledge, education, inquiry, and civility.




Senior Project and Development Lead, Chris Page, was recently quoted in the Journal of American Planning Association‘s publication Where Should We Have the Meeting?

Center Director, Michael Kern, is co-author of a recently published article, “How Collaborative Governance Practitioners Can Assess the Effectiveness of Collaborative Environmental Governance While Also Evaluating Their Own Services”, via Society and Natural Resources Journal.

More articles are available on the Publications page.


TVW’s weekly show, The Impact focused on the work of the Ruckelshaus Center in a ten-minute interview with Michael Kern, Director of the Ruckelshaus Center. Watch the interview.


KOMO Radio interviewed Michael Kern, Director of the Ruckelshaus Center about the work the Center does and how beneficial the partnership between the University of Washington and Washington State University has been to solving complex policy issues within Washington.

Listen to the Interview here.

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You can read the Spring 2020 issue here.

Updated on July 15, 2020