Institute for Environmental Negotiation

Empowering communities to create shared solutions

Dukes Celebrates 25 Years With IEN

From IEN's Director, Tanya Denckla Cobb - 

Please help me congratulate and thank Frank Dukes for his 25 years of service to the School of Architecture and the Institute of Environmental Negotiation. Frank has been a pioneer in our field of Environmental Dispute Resolution (EDR) and has left a clear mark on both our field as well as IEN and the University.

As a member of the first graduating class of the first doctoral program in the nation (yes!) on conflict management, Frank completed his doctorate in Conflict Analysis and Resolution while working at IEN. Since that time Frank has produced numerous articles and four books, each contributing to best practices in public involvement, community engagement, and community-based collaboration. He is also widely known for his work (and book) on “higher ground,” in which he developed key practices for effective group collaboration.

On the ground, Frank made an early mark through his facilitation of the 7-year national and regional dialogue between tobacco farmers and public health advocates, which resulted in over $2 billion for tobacco farm regions and tobacco control, and also enabled the unanimous legislative approval in 1999 of Virginia’s tobacco revitalization commission, which in turn has distributed more than $1 billion in grants across Virginia’s tobacco region.

In 1999, he co-founded the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute and serves as core faculty, helping 400+ emerging leaders gain skills in community conflict resolution and collaboration.   In 2008, Frank was a force for the creation of UCARE, the University-Community Action for Racial Equity, to bring community and University members together to collaborate on real, relevant and effective ways for healing the legacy of slavery.   His work in the Appalachian coalfields led to the Clinch River Valley Initiative, a pioneering effort initiated in 2010 to integrate regional economy, environment and community.

Recognition for his work has come in different forms – being invited to serve on the national Policy Consensus Initiative ….. as well as serving on the University Network for Collaborative Governance …. and also receiving specific awards, including the 2012 Sharon M. Pickett Award from the Association for Conflict Resolution foradvancing the cause of environmental protection through alternative dispute resolution ….  and the 2016 John T Casteen III Diversity-Equity-Inclusion Leadership Award for demonstrating a deep commitment and passion for diversity; exemplifying a leadership role in increasing diversity, equity and inclusion; and achieving a sustainable and quantifiable impact on diversity, equity and inclusion at the University and in the local community.

So, in case you can’t tell, we’re mighty proud of Frank!

Help us congratulate Frank on his 25 years, and going stronger than ever.


Photo courtesy of Dan Grogan