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Communication Theories and Strategies for Agriculture and Natural Resources (AEC6540)

Instructor of Record, University of Florida

This course introduces a broad range of theories for understanding the communication process – how people communicate, why they communicate the way they do, and how communication affects both messengers and message recipients. The tool chest of theories, concepts, and strategies gained through this course will enable you to make communication decisions based on science, rather than gut instinct. It will also enable you to better predict the likely outcomes of communication decisions and, therefore, increase the probability of achieving your agricultural and natural resources objectives.

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Analyze agricultural and natural resources issues with communication theory

  • Apply communication theory to novel agricultural and natural resources scenarios

  • Select appropriate theories and strategies for research and practical applications

Partisanship and Natural Resources (FOR6934)

Instructor of Record and Course Developer, University of Florida

Stakeholder bias and political division contribute to and impede the resolution of environmental issues. Our effectiveness as natural resources professionals, therefore, requires the ability to navigate the sociopolitical systems that influence stakeholder perspectives. This course will examine the psychological and social mechanisms that cause people to divide on environmental topics. You will learn the aspects of human nature that promote division and how to use those natural inclinations to promote communication and collaboration. In addition, you will gain cultural domain analysis research skills for evaluating stakeholders’ mental models of natural resources issues.

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Identify concepts and theories that influence perceptions of natural resources issues

  • Explain how differences in value priorities across the liberal-conservative spectrum shape attitudes toward natural resources

  • Analyze diverse natural resources issues to identify unique situational components, actors, and processes that contribute to partisanship

  • Recommend strategies for addressing partisanship with novel natural resources issues

  • Critically evaluate personal biases and assess how those biases affect their understanding of natural resources issues

  • Use cultural domain analysis to qualitatively evaluate stakeholders’ mental models of natural resources issues

Society and Natural Resources (FOR3202)

Lead Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Florida

Society and social systems play critical roles in natural resource planning and management. Public resources are managed under policies that are established by decision makers on behalf of the public. Private resources are managed to maximize landowner objectives, and these often reflect social constraints, such as market influences, neighbor tolerance, and public policies. 


This course is a Social and Behavioral Sciences general education course and provides a foundation for understanding how society influences the management of natural resources. We use case studies from Florida, Alaska, and Australia to explore the course’s fundamental concepts. The assignments in each case will help you practice communication skills that should help you address natural resource conflicts, work with citizens and staff, and access mass media and will build toward a culminating final assignment: to assess a case study for relevant opportunities to engage society in enhancing the sustainability of our natural resources.


The world is on the cusp of considerable change. Making good decisions in the context of the coming opportunities will require that we have the ability to consider different perspectives and needs, rights and responsibilities, economic development and livelihoods, community and personal well-being, and ecosystem continuity. This course will help give you some perspectives and skills for approaching these elements of sustainability.

Conservation Behavior (FOR6005)

Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Florida

Conservation behavior is becoming an increasingly important concept as natural resource managers, development officers, educators, politicians, regulators, and business leaders consider what it takes to nudge people toward sustainable behaviors. Most acknowledge that our behavior plays an important role in creating and resolving environmental challenges. This course will explore what we know about human behavior and apply it to the design of helpful education and communication tools.
A variety of disciplines have something to contribute to the field of conservation behavior. While this class will be firmly rooted in psychology, we will also explore other social sciences, such as anthropology, sociology, and communication.

While it is important to understand environmental issues, that is not the purpose of this course. Education and communication play essential roles in creating a sustainable future. We will explore the theoretical foundation and application of using education and communication strategies in our collective efforts to reach this goal. This course is geared toward those who will be conducting research on behavior change through work with the public in a variety of formal and informal settings to develop strategies that support responsible environmental behavior.

Policy and Economics of Natural Resources (FNR6669)

Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Florida

Forests and other natural resources serve many economic, social, and environmental needs of people around the world. The patterns of use and management of natural resources can have a profound impact on the economy and the environment. However, public policies largely dictate the patterns of use and management of natural resources thereby influencing the lives of diverse stakeholders including future generations. Therefore, it is critical for resource professionals to understand concepts, administration, and economic and environmental impacts of resource policies.

The specific goals of Natural Resource Policy & Economics are to help you:

  • Develop an understanding of concepts and theories of natural resource policy and economics,

  • Further your knowledge of major natural resource policies and public policy processes,

  • Advance your ability to critically evaluate natural resource policy issues from economic, policy, environmental, and social perspectives

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