Monthly Archives: March 2011

New Energy Economy

Depiction of Energy GridBeyond the Smart Grid: Partnerships for Sustainable Communities

We all certainly know what America’s “Old Energy Economy” looks like; it’s (still) everywhere around us.

More than 90% of the U.S. transportation sector now relies on petroleum products like gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. Most of this oil comes from foreign sources, including many autocratic and unstable regimes. Meanwhile, our U.S. domestic oil production is increasingly coming from environmentally sensitive and even risky locales such as deep-water wells in the Gulf of Mexico.

For electricity, most American consumers rely on coal, natural gas, or even nuclear power. Here in the Northwest, we’re fortunate to derive most of our electric power from an “old renewable” source: hydroelectricity. But even that has its challenges, reflected in the environmental challenges of dams and long-running issues over endangered species such as salmon.

So what would a “New Energy Economy” look like – and what will it take to get us there?

Across many divisions and disciplines, including the Center for Public Service, faculty and students at PSU have been exploring how we might redesign existing courses and develop new ones that will help answer these questions – and prepare the energy industry and society for this new energy economy.  In March, CPS will offer its fourth “Smart Grid” related course, with a particular focus on the intricacies of effective policy within the context of the state’s Public Utility Commission recent investigation involving Smart Grid initiatives and plans. Beginning in June, the Hatfield Summer Institute will likely feature additional courses designed and offered with other PSU partners such as the School of Engineering and the School of Business.

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Institute for Nonprofit Management: A Local and Global Influence

Institute for Nonprofit Management: Challenge/OpportunityNonprofit organizations work to meet the needs of the community; the Institute for Nonprofit Management works to meet the needs of nonprofits. Through high quality educational and training programs, INPM supports the development of a strong, informed, and effective nonprofit sector. INPM’s educational and training programs teach nonprofit leaders what they need to know to build their community through management and leadership in nonprofit organizations.

Director of the Institute for Nonprofit Management Linda Golaszewski recently attended two events that reminded her of the strong connections the INPM has with the community. The first, a PSU celebration of alumni/ae and faculty, included the acknowledgement of MPA graduate Amber Fowler (Class of 2000). Amber specialized in nonprofit management and was a student in courses that INPM sponsored at that time. She has since leveraged her degree as founder and Executive Director of Dress for Success Inland Northwest, continuing to apply her education with a strongly community-focused nonprofit.  Then, as now, INPM provided links to students to apply what they learned in real-life situations in functioning organizations. Continue reading

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Introduction to Collaborative Governance

Photo from Collaborative Government Workshop

Participants work together on real-time, practical issues.

Learn to Tackle Tough Issues Together

The creation of sustainable solutions for complex public issues is increasingly dependent on assuring meaningful public involvement and the establishment of effective collaborative partnerships with public, private, and civic stakeholders. To increase their effectiveness, the public and government institutions tasked with addressing these difficult issues are shifting toward integrating more collaborative problem solving approaches. President Obama’s Memorandum on “Transparency and Open Government” has called on Federal Agencies to be more open, transparent, and collaborative in carrying out their missions. (January, 2009)  Until now, public sector employees wanting to utilize these new governance models have been challenged by their lack of experience in applying successful collaboration problem solving approaches and the lack of training programs to teach the skills essential to effective collaboration.

The next workshop will take place  May 9-13, 2011.  Register by April 15 for the earlybird rate of $1300, or after April 15 for $1450.  Registration details are online at:  www.pdx.edu/eli/collaboration.

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