Collaborative Governance at SGPP

The 21st century workplace requires productive collaboration across different organizations, professions, and sectors. Executives, managers, and professionals, whether they work in the public, private or non-profit sector, are being asked to collaborate with their colleagues down the hall, across town and around the world. New skill sets, strategies, tools and institutions can assist in sharing resources, solving complex problems together, and leveraging experience and knowledge.

Civic leaders and public managers must also foster cross-boundary collaboration in the public arena, which has become increasingly polarized and divisive. They are being called on to express themselves and represent others, participate in work groups, task forces, and coalitions, and lead and serve on committees of stakeholders with widely-divergent interests and values. They must negotiate professional relationships, contracts, and employment disputes as well as engage with the public as public officials, community leaders, and voters. At home, at work and in the public square, they need to be practiced in civil discourse, conflict management, and collaborative leadership.

The Collaborative Governance Program at the University of Arizona's School of Government and Public Policy (SGPP) is designed to meet the growing need of government, non-profit and corporate managers to find ways to work together across institutional, geographic, economic and social boundaries in many different policy domains, such as natural resource management, public health, urban planning and economic development, energy and public utilities.

The program builds on the experience and expertise of highly qualified instructors, practitioners and researchers working across the following program areas:

Teaching and Training:

  • The Collaborative Governance concentration is offered for MPA students and other professional schools on campus
  • The Graduate Certificate in Collaborative Governance provides online instruction and workshop training for students and professionals on and off campus and at a distance
  • Seminars and workshops designed for specific audiences are also available to extend the capacity of those in the public and non-profit sectors to work in complex networked settings, manage conflicts and collaborate effectively.

Projects and Service:

  • SGPP faculty work on a variety of service projects to facilitate collaborative governance. These efforts can include situation assessments, process or system design, evaluation, convening, facilitation and mediation services.


  • SGPP and other UA faculty study collaborative governance and conduct research on how collaboration works, how public/private partnerships and public service networks function, and how to improve collaborative governance systems through design and evaluation, among other research themes. This ongoing scholarship contributes to the quality of collaborative governance instruction as well as its effective collaborative governance practice.

Civil Discourse:

  • SGPP also houses the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD), a national initiative to build civility and respectful deliberation among members of congress, within state legislatures, and  the media.