Staff and Faculty

Tanya Denckla Cobb

Ever since taking my first mediation training in 1991, bringing people together to find creative and workable solutions has been a passion. As Director of IEN, I strive to be a servant leader for an extraordinary team of people who enjoy working together while making a difference in our world. IEN has a rich history of tackling tough issues through mediation, negotiation, and facilitating difficult conversations, which I’m proud to be a part of since 1997. I’ve worked on a broad palette of issues at the intersection of environment, health, and community – from urban forestry to food and agriculture, from septic and waste issues to stormwater and sea level rise.

Frank Dukes, Ph.D.

I have been privileged to work for the Institute for Environmental Negotiation (IEN) since 1990, and served as its Director from 2000-2015. As a mediator and facilitator, I seek to help individuals and groups address complex public problems and conflicts in ways that strengthen communities rather than tear them apart. Each year I work on average on a dozen or so projects involving environment and land use, contaminated sites, community development, education, and health. I have also facilitated many difficult community conversations on topics ranging from faith and homosexuality, to education, to reparations for slavery. 

Mike Ellerbrock, Ph.D.

Professor, Extension Specialist and Director of the Center for Economic Education at VT. Mike has been teaching environmental economics, environmental ethics and environmental theology for 24 years. Mike participated in the Kellogg Foundation’s Natural Resources Leadership Institute at the University of Kentucky. He served on the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Environmental Education and drafted the final report. Mike has received seven major university teaching awards, including the Congressionally-Sponsored USDA National Award for Teaching Excellence for all fields of Agriculture, Natural Resources, Human and Veterinary Sciences. Mike serves as Special Assistant to the Provost for undergraduate education. He has taught twice in UVA’s Semester-at-Sea program.

J. Michael Foreman

Director of the Office of Environmental Education for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Mike’s focus has been on collaborative leadership and decision-making tools throughout his career. From 2006 to 2012, he was Deputy Division Director for the Division of Soil and Water Conservation–now the Stormwater Division–at the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. He has been a trained facilitator since 1987 and has led and served on many collaborative efforts such as the Chesapeake Bay Program, US Forest Service Forest Legacy Program and Virginia Nonpoint Source Advisory Council, Virginia United Land Trusts, and Farmland Preservation Task Force. He has also led many NGO and state strategic planning efforts. Mike has been teaching leadership with the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute since 2001 and is a graduate of the Covey Leadership course.