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SGSI 2016: Public Policy Negotiation and Decision-making

This course is aimed at graduate students in all disciplines to focus on the analytical, practical, and interpersonal skills of negotiation and decision-making. We will integrate theory with practice through literature, cases, and negotiation simulations in select public policy circumstances.

Monday, Sept. 12 – Wednesday, Sept. 14, 9 AM – 3 PM; Thursday, Sept. 15, 11 AM – 6 PM; Friday, Sept. 16, 9 AM – 3 PM


  • Janet Martinez, senior lecturer in law; director of Gould Negotiation & Mediation Program, Stanford Law School
  • Jeff Ball, scholar-in-residence, Stanford Law School

Audience & Capacity

Open to incoming and continuing graduate and professional school students from any school and discipline. Open to postdoctoral scholars if space is available. Space is limited to 24.

We will select participants to assure a good balance of skills, background and areas of policy interests, with priority to those applying first.


By participating fully in this course, you will:

  • Develop your understanding of negotiation and your awareness of yourself as a negotiator
  • Give you some tools and concepts for analyzing and preparing for negotiations
  • Enhance your negotiation skills through role plays, cases, reflection, and feedback
  • Extend those skills into collaborative problem solving and decision-making for public policy issues


As a professional, you will probably negotiate more than you will do anything else. You will negotiate with your boss, your colleagues, your assistant, as well as with other firms, government agencies, legislative bodies, the courts, the public and the media.

This course will use lecture, readings, guests, cases, interactive exercises and simulated negotiations to:

  • Provide overview and experiential learning on the fundamentals of negotiation (2-party, multiparty, facilitated multiparty)
  • Practice collaborative problem solving and decision-making skills with a series of negotiation exercises, drawn from both private and public context
  • Participate effectively as part of a team
  • Reflect on personal experiences, give and receive feedback
  • Assess benefits of negotiation relative to judicial (court) and legislative strategies for making public policy decisions
  • Consider role of media to influence public processes
  • Explore interplay between science, policy, and technology in public policy decision-making
  • Examine role of civic engagement and roles that public citizens play in public policy decisions

This course will be highly interactive. In the first portion of the course, we will begin with two-party negotiations, and advance to multi-party and team negotiations as well, in both a private and public context. Negotiation topics include the tension between cooperative and competitive strategies, bargaining styles, and managing coalitions. We will then explore the use of third party facilitators in collaborative decision-making, examine options for civic engagement, and the influence of the media in such policymaking processes. We will use case simulations drawn from environment and natural resource, land use, economic, and educational policymaking.

This course is intended for all graduate students interested in public policy decision making processes, particularly if you have not had a chance to explore these issues extensively through your coursework. The course focuses primarily on multi-party negotiation and collaborative approaches to public decisions. Such negotiations usually involve diverse policy and community perspectives and technical expertise. One particularly relevant example involves environment and natural resources management issues. The course will use a variety of case studies, but emphasize environmental decisions (as a vehicle with significant scientific inputs) to explore issues that are common in many public policy decision process.  All disciplines are welcome, and indeed, will contribute to a more realistic composition of participants.

SUNet ID required to log in. The priority application deadline is Sunday, May 8.

Resource Type: 
Course or Workshop
Target Audience: 
All Graduate Students
Time Commitment: 
Learning Experience: