Elizabeth Andrews

The Institute for Engagement & Negotiation (IEN) is pleased to announce that Elizabeth Andrews is the recipient of the 2024 Gerald P. McCarthy Award for Leadership in Environmental Conflict Resolution. The McCarthy Award is presented annually to an individual who demonstrates leadership in preserving and protecting the Commonwealth's environment through collaboration.

Elizabeth was selected as the 2024 recipient for her extensive work and service to the Commonwealth, which has included roles with the Office of the Attorney General, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and the Department of Environmental Quality, and as Director of the Virginia Coastal Policy Center at the College of William & Mary Law School.     

During her tenure as Director of VCPC, Elizabeth significantly expanded the state’s capacity to address the unique challenges faced by coastal communities. In this role she exemplified collaborative leadership, bringing together communities, law students, scientists with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), local and state governments, and others to identify and address critical issues and conflicts arising in the region. These included user conflicts over working waterfronts, resiliency issues where environmental and human needs can appear to be in conflict, and many others.   

Elizabeth’s role as a co-leader of the Resilience Adaptation Feasibility Tool, or RAFT, is yet another example of her leadership in collaboration. Working together with faculty and staff from the University of Virginia and Old Dominion University, she has helped to shepherd a new framework for collaborative planning for coastal resilience in Virginia. Her participation in the advisory committee process, whether as an appointed member, facilitator, or interested stakeholder, has consistently helped to find consensus and develop solutions.  

Elizabeth has been an extraordinary force in bringing together all the elements that are needed to identify and resolve conflicts over the use of our natural resources: the law, science, the people/stakeholders, and the commitment to finding solutions. She continues to work on the RAFT project and other collaborative efforts as a Practitioner Fellow with the Environmental Institute at the University of Virginia.