Steven L. Yaffee



PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (environmental policy and planning)

MS, University of Michigan (natural resource policy)

BS, University of Michigan (resource planning and conservation)



Professor Yaffee's research focuses on collaborative decision making on complex environmental and sustainability choices, including the ways that traditional political processes and organizations function, and how new collaborative structures can be developed to encourage more effective decision making. He is particularly interested in landscape-scale conservation and sustainable natural resource management, and how decision-making institutions can be encouraged to take on an ecosystem-scale perspective. Of particular interest is policy involving biological diversity, public lands, marine and coastal ecosystems and energy. Yaffee's research and teaching draws from substantial on-the-ground work with nonprofit organizations and charitable foundations in facilitating dispute resolution and collaborative problem-solving processes, and in helping them develop monitoring, evaluation and adaptive management strategies. He is committed to professional education at SEAS and teaches skill-building courses in political and institutional analysis, negotiation and mediation.


2013-2017: California Marine Life Protection Act Initiative: An Assessment and Lessons Learned. Resources Legacy Fund Foundation

2014-2016: Evaluating the Impact of the Kinship Fellows Program: An External Assessment. Kinship Foundation

2014-2016: Demonstrating Proof-of-Concept for Video-Based Training on Collaborative Ecosystem Management. McCance Family Foundation

2008-2013: Evaluating and Disseminating Case Studies of Marine Ecosystem-Based Management. Packard Foundation

2008: Preserving Wild California: An External Assessment. Resources Legacy Fund Foundation


Profiled in SNRE Stewards magazine, “Change Agent: Yaffee Reflects on Three Decades of Teaching and Mentoring,” Spring 2012 issue.

Rackham Master’s Mentoring Award, 2010 (awarded to 1-2 faculty members at the University of Michigan annually, for commitment to master’s students and excellence in mentoring).

Theodore Roosevelt Professorship in Ecosystem Management, 2002-2008.

Students for SNRE Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award, 2012-2013, 2010-2011, 2008-2009, 1998-99

State of Michigan Excellence in Teaching Award, 1991

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