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University of Colorado Denver

School of Public Affairs

Meet the Trainers

Darrin Hicks, PhD
Associate Professor in the Department of Communications Studies at the University of Denver
Core Trainer

Brint Milward, PhD
Director of the School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona
Core Trainer

Janice Popp, MSW, RSW
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary
Core Trainer

Keith Provan, PhD - In Memory

Danielle M. Varda, PhD
Assistant Professor at University of Colorado Denver and the Director of Research Program on Collaborative Governance
Core Trainer
Workshop: PARTNER: A Tool for Organizational SNA

Joan King, PhD
Speaker, Author, Coach at Beyond-Success LLC
2014 Guest Speaker

Lisa Carlson
Director of Facilitation at Engaged Public
Workshop: Skills for Facilitating Networks

Bill Fulton
Co-Director of The Civic Canopy
Workshop: Network Leadership in Public Service Sectors (Health, Education, Early Childhood, etc.)

Tanya Heikkila, PhD
Associate Professor at the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver
Workshop: Network Leadership for Environmental & Natural Resource Management

Sandra Mikush
Deputy Director at the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation
Workshop: Network Leadership for Funders

Judah Thornewill, PhD
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of GroupPlus, LLC
Workshop: Network Leadership Tools and Technologies

Mary Tyszkiewicz, PhD
Senior Analyst at the Homeland Security Institute
Workshop: Heroic Improvisation

Core Trainers and Workshop Trainers

HicksDarrin Hicks, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communications Studies at the University of Denver. Dr. Hicks teaches courses and conducts research in argumentation, rhetoric, community collaboration, and the philosophy of communication. His research has appeared in journals such as Rhetoric and Public Affairs, Cultural Studies, Quarterly Journal of Speech, Argumentation, Argumentation and Advocacy, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, and Evaluation Review.

MilwardBrint Milward, PhD., is Director of the School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona. He holds the Providence Service Corporation Chair in Public Management. Until July 1, he was the Director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse, co-chaired by President George Herbert Walker Bush and President Bill Clinton.  He has been president of two national associations: the Public Management Research Association and the National Association of Schools of Public Administration and Affairs. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and in 2010 won the Distinguished Research Award given by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration and the American Society for Public Administration for a "coherent body of work over a career." Dr. Milward's research interests revolve around networks and collaboration. The focus of his work has been on understanding how to efficiently and effectively manage networks of organizations that jointly produce public services like health and human services. He has conducted studies of what happens when governments privatize public services, which he terms "governing the hollow state. Milward received his B.A. from University of Kentucky and his Ph.D. from Ohio State University. Dark Networks Half-Day Workshop:
Since 9/11 Brint Milward has studied illegal and covert networks that pursue grievances or greed. His articles on "Dark Networks," have been widely cited for their application of network analysis and management theory to terrorist networks, human trafficking, drug smuggling, and other illegal activities.

Janice Popp, MSW, RSW is an Adjunct Assistant Professor, Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary.  Janice has a keen interest in the use of inter-organizational networks to create mechanisms and mobilize knowledge to improve service systems.  From 2001 to 2009 she was Director of the Southern Alberta Child & Youth Health Network, a highly successful inter-regional, cross-sector network established to optimize the health and well-being of children, youth and families.  She is the past Chair of Child and Youth Health Networks of Canada, a ‘network of networks’ that came together to promote the awareness, understanding and evaluation of child and youth health networks and evolved into a network with an expanded focus on all networks in the public interest. She is also currently managing the ongoing development of an inter-organizational network designed to provide supports and services to children and youth, primarily within the school setting. Janice has been a lead organizer of a series of Network Leadership Summits held in Canada over the past six years bringing together international network researchers and practitioners.  Janice also has extensive clinical, management, and policy experience in the area of children’s mental health. She holds a Masters of Social Work Degree from the University of Calgary and is an approved clinical supervisor under the Alberta College of Social Workers.

VardaDanielle M. Varda, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor at the School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado Denver.  She specializes in collaborative governance and policy networks, focusing specifically in public health systems research, public-private partnerships, and social network analysis.  Her research focus is on evaluating the network structure of collaborations between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors and the subsequent network effects of these recorded interactions.  She has developed models and methods of network measurement. Her research portfolio includes projects in the areas of pandemic influenza preparedness, public health infrastructure, maternal/child health, impacts of Homeland Security on local law enforcement agencies, nonprofit community networks, national service, and recruitment and retention of volunteers for public health emergencies. She has developed models and methods of network measurement, for example, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, she has developed a software tool (PARTNER) that allows public health managers to measure and monitor their collaborative activity over time.  Dr. Varda’s PARTNER tool was featured in her first place award for the 2008 Maxwell School Collaborative Governance Initiative competition, Teaching Simulation.  This tool includes a validated survey and analysis tool and is in use in over 600 communities across the U.S. and 29 countries. PARTNER is a social network analysis tool designed for use by collaboratives/coalitions to demonstrate how members are connected, how resources are leveraged and exchanged, the levels of trust and value, and to link outcomes to the process of collaboration. The tool includes an online survey that you can administer to collect data and an analysis program that analyzes these data.  By using the tool, you will be able to demonstrate to stakeholders, partners, evaluators, and funders how your collaborative activity has changed over time and progress made in regard to how community members and organizations participate. (Find more information at

Milward"Brain networks: What can they tell us?" with Joan C. King, Ph.D., Joan’s passion is evoking greatness. She taught college chemistry courses at Dominican College in New Orleans while a Dominican Sister. After leaving the convent, Joan obtained a master’s degree in Psychology followed by a Ph.D. in Neurosciences and Physiological Psychology from Tulane University in 1972 and further postdoctoral training.  During her 20-year tenure at Tufts University Schools of Medicine, Joan directed her research laboratory, taught and directed medical student Neuroscience courses and served as Chair of the Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology. Tufts awarded Joan the title Professor Emerita in recognition of her contributions to the University.  Joan left academia to found her coaching business, Beyond Success LLC in 1998 designed to help people simultaneously achieve success and self-actualization.  Her latest book in the Cellular Wisdom series of books, A Life on Purpose:Wisdom at Work shows readers how to interpret the truths that the human body teaches and how to apply them to discover each person’s own unique Purpose and how to be in action to live a truly fulfilling life. Joan is one of 690 Master Certified Coaches in the world and an even fewer number of Board Certified Coaches.  She is a Success Unlimited Network™ certified coach, a Certified Financial Coach, an Executive Career Master Coach as well as a Certified coach trainer and mentor coach. Joan believes in everyone’s greatness and directs all her activities to help people get in touch with their greatness so that they can make their contribution to the world.

Lisa CarlsonLisa Carlson is the Director of Facilitation at Engaged Public. She specializes in collaborative problem solving and consensus building, and has more than 25 years of experience in this field. She has provided technical meeting facilitation services for diverse governmental and non-profit organizations seeking resolution of complex and politically sensitive issues ranging from water quality, health policy, suicide prevention, and strategic planning. She is an expert trainer in the fields of conflict management, team building, leadership development and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Prior to joining the Engaged Public, Lisa was the Director for the Center for Public-Private Sector Cooperation with the School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado Denver. She is vice-president of the International Association of Public Participation, Colorado Chapter and is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College.

billfulton.jpgBill Fulton is the Co-Founder and President of the Civic Canopy, a Denver-based nonprofit dedicated to helping the many work as one for the good of all.  The Civic Canopy provides staffing or "backbone support" to a range of initiatives that are improving outcomes for children, families and communities across Colorado. Bill is a Denver native who received his degree in history from Brown University and MA in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado at Denver. He completed a doctoral program at the University of Denver and Iliff School of Theology focusing on public dialogue and civic engagement.

Tanya KeikkilaTanya Heikkila, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado Denver, School of Public Affairs.  She received her PhD in Public Affairs in 2001 from the University of Arizona.  Dr. Heikkila’s research expertise is in comparative institutional analysis, common pool resource governance, and water resource management. She has studied institutions for coordinating groundwater and surface water in the western United States, interstate water conflicts and cooperation, the organization of collaborative ecosystem restoration programs, as well as the performance of special purpose governments. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, the PepsiCo Foundation, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

MilwardSandra Mikush is deputy director of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, a private family foundation located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Babcock Foundation works across the southeastern United States to help people and places move out of poverty and to achieve greater social and economic justice. The Foundation supports organizations and networks in low-wealth communities that are poised to expand their scale of impact and that are working across race, ethnic, economic and political differences to build just and caring communities.
As a member of the management team, Sandra oversees the Foundation’s operations and finance functions. She directs the Foundation’s efforts in mission investing, including program-related investments, and assists other foundations interested in exploring mission investing. In addition, Sandra’s program responsibilities include working with Babcock applicants and grantees in the Appalachian region and throughout North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Sandra is on the board of the Southeastern Council on Foundations and the steering committee of Mission Investors Exchange. She is a founding member and chair of the Appalachia Funders Network, which seeks to align philanthropic support for a sustainable economic transition for the region. A North Carolina native and graduate of Duke University, she held various fundraising and management positions in nonprofit organizations prior to joining the Foundation in 1992. She and her husband Don have three adult children.

judah.jpgJudah Thornewill, Ph.D., an expert in IT enabled networks, is founder and Chief Executive Officer of GroupPlus, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in interorganizational networks and collaboration, and an assistant professor (adjunct) at the University of Louisville's School of Public Health and Information Sciences. Prior to his work with GroupPlus he served as Director of the Collaborative Communities Research Program (2003 - 2009) in UofL's Department of Health Management and Systems Sciences. While there, he organized and led the Louisville Health Information Exchange (2006-2010), and led research studies in health related areas. From 2000-2003 He founded and led Four Leaf Clover Corporation, a developer of knowledge exchange technologies used in his work at UofL. Before that he formed and led Integrated Customer Services, a call-center services and direct marketing firm, and served as a consultant and chief operating officer for a niche consulting firm.  He is a published author and conference speaker. Graduate-level courses he has developed and taught at UofL include Network Leadership: How to Lead and Succeed in a World of Networks and Teaching in the Cloud: a Course for Faculty and Administrators. He earned his Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies in 2011 at the University of Louisville with a dissertation on factors affecting participation in health information exchange networks.

tyskiewicz.jpgMary Tyskiewicz, Ph.D., is devoted to bringing the Heroic Improvisation process to American and Filipino citizens, emergency managers and elected officials.  The Heroic Improvisation process prepares small groups for innovative disaster response using theater improvisation techniques.  (See The process is a distillation of Dr. Tyszkiewicz’s 20 years of experience as a policy analyst for top leaders in the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Congress, U.S. Department of Defense, and U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  In collaboration with improvisation experts -- Topher Bellavia (US) and Gabe Mercado (Philippines) -- she has brought this workshop to citizens, emergency managers and elected officials in both countries.  She uses her Public Adminstration Ph.D education from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School every day.

~In Memory~

Keith G. Provan, Ph.D.


Keith G. Provan, one of the original trainers, and a leader in the field of Network Leadership, passed away on February 16, 2014.  We will all miss Keith very much.

Keith G. Provan was the McClelland Professor of Management in the University of Arizona's Eller College of Management.  Keith’s original and interdisciplinary approach to organizational theory, governance, and networks in public management made lasting contributions to our field. Keith’s 1995 article (co-authored with Brint Milward), “A Preliminary Theory of Network Effectiveness: A Comparative Study of Four community Health Systems” published in Administrative Science Quarterly is a seminal study for all of us who work in public management and networks research. His many more recent studies continued to advance our thinking and knowledge about how the world of public management works.
Keith was very active in the Public Management Research Association from its beginning, attending most of the conferences, and serving as an associate editor of JPART. I remember talking with Keith in amazement about the growth of network research in the PMRA conferences to the extent that by the 2000s, maybe 25-30% of the papers were on network research. He smiled and didn’t take any credit for that development, and was pleased to see how public management scholars were building on each other’s work to push theory and our knowledge further.  
Keith was a delightful man with a wry sense of humor, a dedicated mentor to young scholars, and achieved excellence in his scholarship and teaching.  He had a great mind and love for public management, and was someone we all learned from on many fronts.  We will certainly miss him.
For more information on Keith’s work and life, here is the link to Keith’s obituary posted at the University of Arizona. | Physical Address: 1380 Lawrence St., Ste. 500  Denver, CO  80204 | Mailing Address: University of Colorado Denver, SPA, Campus Box 142, P.O. Box 173364, Denver, CO 80217-3364 | ph: 303.315.2228 | fax: 303.315.2229 | SPA Website Feedback

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