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University of Colorado Denver

School of Public Affairs



Tanya Heikkila
Chris Weible



John Calanni 
David Carter
Daniel Costie​
Dallas Elgin
Sam Gallaher
Juniper Katz
Kristin Olofsson
Andrew Pattison



Jon Pierce



Mark Davis
Saba Siddiki


Peter deLeon


SPA Workshop on Policy Process Research

The Workshop on Policy Process Research (WOPPR) brings faculty and students together in studying the interactions between people and public policy.  Among the questions we ask:

  • How do people define issues as problems worthy of attention on government agendas? 
  • What is the role of science and technology in public policy?
  • How can people make a difference in public policy?
  • How can policies and processes be more effective in serving a democratic society? 
  • In what ways do formal and informal rules shape behavior?
  • What are the sources of policy change?

In pursing these questions, the Workshop on Policy Process Research applies and strengthens various frameworks, theories, and models.  The analytical and substantive purview of the Workshop on Policy Process Research is generic and flexible. 

If you have questions about the Workshop on Policy Process Research, contact David CarterTanya Heikkila, or Chris WeibleTo learn more about policy process research visit the What is Policy Process Research?” page.                      


  • Professors Tanya Heikkila and Chris We​ible, accompanied by Ph.D. students Daniel Costie and Juniper Katz, travelled to China this summer to continue work on the Partnership for International Research and Education (PIRE)​ grant awarded by the National Science Foundation in 2012. The group partnered with students and faculty from American and Chinese universities to explore interdisciplinary and intercultural research on sustainable development topics. Projects included testing low-cost air pollution monitors, researching the implementation of China's circular economy law​ and learning about industrial symbiosis. You can see pictures from the trip and read blog posts from students on the PIRE Sustainability blog.

  • In May, PhD student Kristin Olofsson​ attended the inaugural PhD conference “Public Policy in Asia” at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore. This conference aimed to be an Asian “Minnowbrook” by “pushing the empirical and disciplinary frontiers of public policy research and practice”. The conferenced brought together the most promising doctoral students working on Asian issues worldwide. Kristin presented a paper “Understanding the Narratives and Framing of Air Pollution in Delhi, India”, a product of her research with the PIRE grant.

  • On January 23-24, 2014, the School of Public Affairs hosted a "Social Actors, Institutions, and Sustainable Cities Workshop", sponsored by the university and NSF's Research Collaborative Network grant. A public seminar entitled "What big questions, theories, and data are needed for understanding/achieving sustainable cities?" was held on January 24 from 12pm-1pm in Lawrence Street Center Building, Room 500.
  • Tanya Heikkila and Chris W​eible, along with PhD students JC Martel and Kristin Olofsson, began work on an NSF PIRE award that supports a five-year project exploring transformations needed in coupled technological, infrastructural, and social sub-systems to help urban areas, primarily in Asia, realize low-carbon, resource-efficient outcomes, leading to sustainable cities.  During summer 2013, the group travelled to India to collaborate with researchers and students from six US institutions, five partner institutions in India and three partner institutions in China.
  • For those joining us online, streaming of WOPPR seminars can be found at:
  • Visit our ACF Collaborators and Discussion page.  You can join the discussion by signing up for the ACF Forum by emailing David Carter.
  • A new report titled "A Summary Report of Perceptions of the Politics and Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing in Colorado" presents the findings from a survey conducted in the spring of 2013 of people directly or indirectly involved in the politics and regulation of oil and natural gas development that utilizes hydraulic fracturing in Colorado. The survey finds areas of agreement and disagreement between those advocating for and against hydraulic fracturing-related oil and gas development. These findings may help clarify the underlying concerns, preferences, and resources of a diverse range of people involved in this issue in Colorado. 


All IGERT seminars will be held in Room 500 in the Lawrence Street Center Building from 12pm to 1pm on the Wednesdays listed below. Seminars are streamed online in real-time at Contact Ali Kent for more details or with questions (

  • February 5: Kara Luckey: "Who benefits from regional rail transit investments? Identifying planning and policy levers that support socially-equitable transit and transit-oriented development"
  • February 5: Eric Stonebraker: "Exploring the relationships between neighborhood amenities, accessibility, and place attachment"
  • February 26: Ed Gaviria: "Understanding traffic congestion and its implications" Subtopic: Challenges of gathering and modeling time series data
  • March 5: Zac Coventry: "Measuring Sustainable Residential Construction: A Preliminary Research Plan"
  • March 5: Laurie Manderino: "Findings from cross-country analysis of national institutional and governance policies in low-income countries as relates to progress on Millennum Development Goal 7.C for extension of water and sanitation access to more citizens"
  • March 19: Stephen Fisher: "Urban agriculture characterized by cycle assessment and land use patterns"
  • April 9: Kate Oviatt: "Exploring Urban Agriculture as a Strategy for Empowerment"
  • April 9: Andy Pattison: "Learning through Belief Change and Reinforcement: A Study of Coalitions in Climate and Energy Issues"
  • April 23: Alejandro Henao: "Effects of Fuel Price Shocks in Commuting Expenditures: A Transportation Economic Resilience Analysis"
  • May 7: Joshua Sperling: "Exploring the nexus of infrastructures, environment and health: challenges and opportunities in rapidly growing Asian cities"


Held on Tuesdays in Room 500 at the School of Public Affairs, the WOPPR Fall 
2013 S
eminar Series featured several researchers discussing their undertakings in policy process research worldwide.
 Seminars are streamed online in real-time at

  • September 17: Sebastião Venâncio Castro and Liliana Pimentel, visiting SPA scholars from Brazil.
  • October 8: Jennifer Kagan, MPA graduate, presented "Interorganizational Relationships and Nongovernmental Organization Institutional Sustainability in Uganda".
  • October 22: Dr. Paty Romero-Lankao, social scientist at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and collaberator with SPA, presented "Transitioning Cities to Seedbeds of Sustainability and Resilience".
  • November 12: Kristin Olofsson and JC Martel, PhD students, presented "Developing Low Carbon Cities in the US, China, and India: Experience, Education, and Goals at the International Sustainability Summer School Program in India".


    • Calanni, John, Saba N. Siddiki, Christopher M. Weible, and William D. Leach.  2014. “Explaining Coordination Networks in Collaborative Partnerships” Journal of Public Administration Review and Theory.  Advanced online publication.
    • Carter, David P., Christopher M. Weible and Saba Siddiki. 2014. “Organic Food.” In Brent Steel (Ed.), Science and Politics: An A-to-Z Guide to Issues and Controversies, Thousand Oaks, CA: CQ Press​
    • Carter, David P. and Christopher M. Weible. "Assessing Rule Compliance and Robustness in Recreational Resource Management" in the Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning.
    • Carter, David P., Christopher M. Weible, Saba S. Siddiki, John Brett, and Sara Miller Chonaiew. 2014. “Assessing Policy Divergence: How to Investigate the Differences between a Law and a Corresponding Regulation.” Public Administration. Advanced online publication.
    • Elgin, Dallas J.and Christopher Weible. "A Stakeholder Analysis of Colorado Slimate and Energy Issues Using Policy Analytical Capacity and the Advocacy Coalition Framework" in Review of Policy Research.
    • Feiock, Richard, Christopher M. Weible, David P. Carter, Cali Curley, Aaron Deslatte and Tanya Heikkila. Forthcoming. "Capturing Structural Diversity through Institutional Analysis: The Mayor Position in City Charters. Urban Affairs Review
    • Fidelman, Pedro, Louisa S. Evans, Simon Foale, Christopher Weible, Franciska von Heland, and Dallas Elgin. 2014. “Coalition Cohesion for Regional Marine Governance: A Stakeholder Analysis of the Coral Triangle Initiative.” Ocean & Coastal Management. 95:117-128.
    • Gallaher, Samuel, Tanya Heikkila, Will Patterson, Vanessa Frank and Christopher Weible. "Adapting water policy tools to new issues: lessons from Colorado’s experience over time" in Water Policy.
    • Heikkila, Tanya, Jonathan J. Pierce, Samuel Gallaher, Jennifer Kagan, Deserai A. Crow, and Christopher M. Weible. 2014. “Understanding a Period of Policy Change: The Case of Hydraulic Fracturing Disclosure Policy in Colorado.” Review of Policy Research. 31(2): 65-87.
    • Heikkila, Tanya, Andrea K. Gerlak, Andrew R. Bell and Susanne Schmeier. "Adaptation in a transboundary river basin: Linking stressors and adaptive capacity within the Mekong River Commission" in Environmental Science and Policy.

    • Heikkila, Tanya and Andrea K. Gerlak. "Building a Conceptual Approach to Collective Learning: Lessons for Public Policy Scholars" in Policy Studies Journal.
    • Heikkila, Tanya and David P. Carter (Forthcoming).  "Common Pool Resources.” In Ellen Wohl (Ed.), Oxford Bibliographies, New York, NY: Oxford University Press​
    • Heikkila, Tanya, Chris Weible, Jonathan Pierce, Samuel Gallaher, Jennifer Kagan, and Benjamin Blair. A new report titled "Summary Report of the Politics of Shale Gas Development and High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing in New York" presents the findings from a survey conducted in the fall of 2013 of individuals who are involved with the politics, policies, and rulemaking concerning shale gas development that utilizes high-volume hydraulic fracturing in New York.




    Advocacy Coalition Framework

    Institutional Analysis and Development Framework

    ACF Simulation Project

    Aquaculture Partnerships Project

    Assessing Policy Designs & Improving Outcomes in Organic Farming

    Assessing Sustainable Practices Among Climbers Project


    Collaborative Institutions for Managing Regional Watershed

    Innovative Policy Reform of Colorado's Domestic Violence Treatment Standards


    Interstate Institutions for Managing Transboundary Rivers


    Political Coalitions in Shale Gas Development

    State Aquaculture Coordinators Study

    Policy Capacity Project




    Jarkko Levänen was a visiting Fulbright scholar at the School of Public Affairs and a WOPPR contributor. Jarkko is a doctoral candidate specializing in environmental policy at the University of Helsinki in Finland.


    The spring 2013 WOPPR seminar series featured presentations from notable visiting scholars Ed Weber, Oregon State University, Edella Schlager, University of Arizona, and Pedro Fidelman, University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia.


    The fall 2012 WOPPR seminar series, Emerging Policy Theories & Emerging Scholars, featured presentations from a number of visiting scholars as well as SPA PhD students and postdocs.


    View and download slides from Hongtao Yi's and Rick Feiock & Jungah Bae's recent WOPPR presentations.


    Veiw and download slides from Deserai Crow's presentation "The Narrative Policy Framework: Broadening the Framework for Greater Policy Relevance."


    See a picture of WOPPR affiliates at the 2012 annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association.

    In June of 2012, the WOPPR hosted presentations from visiting scholars: Chuck Davis & Jonathan Fisk, Colorado State University; Deseria Crow, University of Colorado Boulder; Hongtao Yi, The Ohio State University; and Rick Feiock & Jungah Bae, Florida State University.  


    View and download the compilation document with presenter papers from the fall 2011 New Frontiers seminar series.

    Visit the Aquaculture Partnership Project page to see the Final Report and accompanying research instruments.


    View and download presentation slides and presenter blog postings from the spring 2012 seminar series cohosted with the Environmental Affairs Working Group at the the Digging Theories in Environmental Management Blog.

    Dallas Elgin presented Policy Analytical Capacity and Policy Activities, co-authored by Chris Weible and Andy Pattison, at the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) conference in Washington, DC on November 3, 2011.


    Professor deLeon was awarded the Distinguished Professor award.  Read the interview: Five Questions for Peter deLeon.

    The Meaning and Implications of Crises in Policy Processes Workshop was held on June 27, 2011.


    Dr. Daniel Nohrstedt from The Swedish Defence College was a visiting scholar April through June 2011.


    Read the Political Feasibility Analysis of the Coral Triangle Initiative Report by Dallas Elgin and Chris Weible.  


    Institutional Analysis and Development Symposium was held April 9-10, 2010.


    Social Construction Workshop was held on May 5-6, 2009.

    2010 Compilation of Policy Process Research

    Fall 2012 Workshop on Policy Process Research


    Fall 2011 Workshop on Policy Process Research

    Fall 2010 Workshop on Policy Process Research

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