Oregon State’s New Natural Resources Academy has a Global Appeal

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A leadership academy on the Oregon State University campus has pulled in natural resources professionals and students from across the world to discuss global concerns and solutions.

Aaron T. Wolf, Ph.D., professor of geography at Oregon State University

Anybody who’s working in natural resources and wants any of these skills in leadership that the two weeks are going to bring, this is the place to be.

Students and professionals from around the world are on the Oregon State University campus this month to take part in a pair of weeklong natural resources leadership seminars.

OSU’s expertise in the field was an international draw for the inaugural Natural Resources Leadership Academy (NRLA), which runs through June 29 and features courses focusing on conflict management, communication, sustainable natural resources and leadership.

A total of 47 students – from 10 states and two foreign countries – are enrolled in either one or two of the five weeklong classes.

The collaborative course work and the opportunity to study with renowned faculty attracted Mohammad Al-Atrash – a director for the Ministry of Water and Irrigation in Amman, Jordan – for both weeks of the academy. He made the 7,000-mile journey to increase his knowledge and then use it to improve living conditions in his country.

“The conflict related to water is very important to us because we are in the Middle East, and we are suffering from a shortage of water,” said Al-Atrash, who is enrolled in the Water Governance and Conflict Management class this week. “I hope to gain a valuable experience and learn from the others here to find out what they think.”

The NRLA, offered by OSU’s Division of University Outreach and Engagement and OSU Summer Session, is designed for natural resources practitioners who work for state and federal agencies, NGOs, environmental firms, watershed councils and graduate students.

A number of Oregon State’s distance students are on campus for the first time thanks to the seminars. Stephan Petranker traveled to Corvallis from Airmont, N.Y., where he is pursuing a Master of Natural Resources degree online through OSU Ecampus.

The academy and the master’s program are the latest endeavors for Petranker, an anesthesiologist who holds an MBA from New York University and is also the commander of an Army Reserve hospital.

Seven of the eight NRLA instructors hold a Ph.D., and six are based at Oregon State. Professors from UNLV and Whitman (Wash.) College are also leading courses on campus this month.

“This (academy) is going to be terrific,” said OSU professor of geography Aaron T. Wolf. “Anybody who’s working in natural resources and wants any of these skills in leadership that the two weeks are going to bring, this is the place to be.”

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About OSU Outreach and Engagement: The Division of University Outreach and Engagement connects Oregon State University, the state’s only land-grant university, to the rest of the world by making its educational programs accessible wherever and whenever people need to learn. The division encompasses OSU Extended Campus, OSU Extension Service and OSU Professional and Noncredit Education.

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Tyler Hansen
Oregon State University Extended Campus
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Lynette de Silva
Oregon State University
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