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Public Participation for Managers
Hosted by U.S. EPA, Community Involvement and Program Initiatives Branch
Community Involvement University (CIU)

What is the course overview?
This course provides an overview of how to use public participation to improve decision-making. It examines public participation through a management prism by exploring the approaches and principles that EPA teaches its RPMs, OSCs, and CICs about public participation. The class engages managers in a dialogue on why the public participation principles work, the key cultural and communication skills that are necessary to make them work, and the important roles managers play in achieving successful programs.

Who should take this course?
This course is recommended for individuals who manage staff and projects in the Superfund cleanup process. The principles discussed during this course are also broadly applicable to all programs where community input and involvement is important. There are no suggested prerequisites.

What are the course learning objectives?
Participants who complete this course will gain skills on how to:

  • Recognize the elements of meaningful public participation and overcome some of the key challenges that prevent them from achieving it;
  • Use public participation to support more effective decision making;
  • Identify the appropriate roles and activities of managers in making public participation work and supporting technical and participation staff; and
  • Overcome communication challenges and improve overall communication with communities.

What are the logistics?
This half-day course uses interactive exercises and practical tips to enliven the basic theory and reinforce skills. More specifically, the course style includes short lectures, interactive exercises, and case studies. Recommended course size is 15-30 participants.

Doug Sarno teaches this course. He is a civil engineer with 30 years of experience in Superfund and environmental cleanup as an engineer, policy maker, and facilitator. He has devoted much of his career to improving environmental decision-making and effectively engaging diverse groups of stakeholders in complex and controversial decisions.

Is there available background material?
Participants receive the following:

  • Detailed manual
  • Reading material
  • Relevant handouts
For general information contact Tina Conley by telephone at 703-603-0696 or via e-mail at

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