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Dr. Todd Schenk

FACULTY AFFILIATE   |   Global Change Center

School of Public and International Affairs

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Dr. Todd Schenk is an Associate Professor in the Urban Affairs and Planning Program of the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech. He has extensive research and consulting experience working on environmental policy and planning, and collaborative governance issues in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Dr. Schenk received both a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Planning and a Master in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from the University of Guelph. He served as the Assistant Director of the MIT Science Impact Collaborative, and held a research fellowship with the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. Dr. Schenk has also held positions with the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe and the Consensus Building Institute.

Dr. Schenk’s current work falls into three overlapping areas:

1) Collaborative governance, particularly in situations with high degrees of uncertainty, complexity and institutional ambiguity. He is co-editor of a forthcoming volume on joint fact-finding, which is an approach that aims to move beyond ‘adversarial science’ by engaging stakeholders to collectively identify their information needs, partner with experts to develop and implement research agendas, and collectively receive and consider the results and their implications on policy-making and planning.

2) Climate change adaptation, particularly as a governance challenge. Dr. Schenk is currently writing a book on ‘institutionalizing uncertainty’, which examines how infrastructure managers and other stakeholders can prepare for uncertain climate futures. It considers various tools and approaches, including the use of multiple scenarios.

3) Serious games as a tool for action research. Much of Dr. Schenk’s work uses role-play simulation exercises to engage stakeholders in the collective exploration of their challenges and consideration of their options.