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University of Colorado Denver

School of Public Affairs

Network Leadership Training Academy


Save the date for 2015 Network Leadership Training Academy: May 28-30, 2015

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We are pleased to announce the Third Annual Network Leadership Training Academy, May 28-30, 2015 hosted by the Research Program on Collaborative Governance (RPCG) in the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver. Registration for the 2015 NLTA will be open to public in Spring 2015. For questions, please contact us at To get updates for the 2015 NLTA go here.


About the 2015 NLTA:  This year’s academy will be held from May 28-30, 2015.  The NLTA is a place where public sector leaders gather to learn, share ideas, and develop skills for engaging in the "network way of working".  The workshop is focused on building, managing, and evaluating effective networks.  Many people today are deeply involved in the network way of working, but are struggling to find tools and a place to build skills for this new way of connecting across boundaries.  This workshop provides conversations about network leadership, activities and exercises to share and demonstrate skills and ideas, and practical tools to translate back to practice. 


What is the NLTA?


Do you engage in partnerships as part of your work? Are you a member of a community collaborative made up of organizations focused on a goal? Have you built up a network of partners to help you reach your organizational and professional goals? Are you looking for a place to learn more about how to do this kind of work effectively? The NLTA is a workshop designed specifically to help you better understand networks and gain skills to more effectively engage in this practice.


The shift to working collaboratively has led to the development of networks and the requirement to achieve “Leadership and Systems Thinking” as a core competency in most jobs. While the “network way of working” has become more accepted (and expected!), the skills required to engage in this kind of work are still ambiguous. The NLTA will bring together practitioners from across the country to participate in a dynamic, hands-on training academy to develop skills that will address how to effectively participate in and manage networks. 


What will you do at the NLTA?  The agenda for the 2015 NLTA is packed full of opportunities for attendees to share their own experiences and skills, interaction with the leading trainers and thinkers in networks leadership through presentation and consultation, and topic specific workshops to develop a "network of networkers" in your specific field.  Each part of the NLTA is led by a recognized leader in the field and will be a variety of small group, breakout, and large group interactions. 


By the end of the training, participants will learn how to:

  • Understand more clearly and better assess the logic of and rationale for networks 
  • Better understand why networks develop and what conditions influence their form and success
  •  Better understand their own networks, how they operate and how they are structured 
  • Have a basic understanding of social network analysis concepts and methods 
  • Work more effectively with other organizations in their networks
  •  Work more effectively with members of their own organizations who are working in a network setting 
  • Improve the benefits of network involvement for their own organization while minimizing drawbacks
  • Be a more effective leader of and manager in a network
  • Meet other practitioners working in networks in your sector
  • Be able to use PARTNER ( to effectively evaluate networks and use network analysis to strategically align goals with outcomes, leverage resources, and strengthen networks. 

What will the training be like? The training will be dynamic, practice-oriented and highly interactive. Drawing on the latest theory, research and practice, the objective of this training is to enhance the skills of network managers so they can be highly effective both in managing their individual organization in a network context and in managing and leading networks themselves. Each participant will leave the workshop with free access to the PARTNER program, instructions on how to customize the program for their own use, and experience necessary to implement PARTNER in their communities.


Who will teach the core training and workshops?
The core training will be led by experts in the area of partnership development, network effectiveness, and evaluation of interorganizational collaboration. We are pleased to announce that Dr. Keith Provan and Dr. H. Brinton Milward, of the University of Arizona will cover network management, Dr. Danielle Varda from the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado, Denver will be present to share her expertise in network evaluation and will provide hands on training for participants to learn about a novel methodology (social network analysis) and learn to use a SNA tool designed for practitioners to evaluate their networks. Dr. Darrin Hicks of the University of Denver will focus on the process of collaboration in networks and share strategies and tactics for improving these processes. Janice Popp, MSW, RSW of the University of Calgary will cover network implementation and will represent the practice community as a trainer with years of experience. She has helped organize a number of Network Leadership Summits in Canada over the past several years. 


Special topic workshops are designed to do two primary things: 1) connect practitioners working in similar fields and 2) provide small group, hands-on experiences for learning and sharing.  Each workshop will be led by an experienced practitioner or academic and will include conversation, exercises, and skill building.  When you register for the conference, you will be asked to select the workshops that you want to attend. The workshops will be about 2.5 hours long and held concurrently in a morning and afternoon session. They will cover special topics on things like Nonprofit Networks, Environmental Networks, Network Leadership for Funders, and Public Service Networks (e.g. education and public health). They will also include skill building sessions such as Conflict Resolution, Network Leadership Tools and Technologies, and SNA tools.  For profiles of all the trainers, please click HERE.

Together, these trainers compose a team of experts that are well-versed in the topic area, have years of experience translating research to inform evidence-based practice, and are committed to improving the way people can utilize networks to reach outcomes.


The core training will be broken down into the following topic areas:

  • Building Networks
  • Managing Networks
  • Evaluating Networks
  • Special Session on Neural Networks with Joan King, Ph.D.



The half day and full day workshops will be broken down into the following topic areas:

  • Network Leaderships for Funders with Sandra Mikush
  • Network Leaderships for Environmental and National Resource Management with Tanya Heikkila
  • Network Leaderships in the Public Services Sector (Education, Public Health, and more) with Bill Fulton
  • Network Leadership Tools and Technologies with Judah Thornewill (TBD)
  • Skills for Facilitating Networks with Lisa Carlson
  • Heroic Improvisation with Mary Tyszkiewicz
  • PARTNER: A Tool for Organizational SNA with Danielle Varda
  • To register only for these, and other, workshops, click HERE.


Registration will open in Spring 2015.

Registration is limited and will fill up fast!  


Cost for Training:             
$600 for all organizations/agencies/companies
$400 for students
$525 per person for a group of 3 or more
(Workshops Only range from $50-$100 each)
Included with registration: Lunch all three days, Breakfast Tuesday/Wed Morning, and one dinner.
*Is the cost prohibitive?  Discounts and scholarships available. Inquire at


2014 Schedule


11:00-1:00 Intros/Lunch (Janice Popp)
1:00-2:00 Networks 101 (Brint Milward)
2:00-3:15 Network Way of Working/Building a Network Culture (Janice Popp)
3:15 -3:30 Break
3:30-5:00 Neural Networks (Joan King)
5:00-6:00 Practitioner Sharing Hour

8:15-9:00 Breakfast
9:00-9:15 Welcome/Agenda/Recap
9:15-10:30 Network Effectiveness; Structure & Governance (Brint Milward)
10:30-10:45 Break
10:45-12:00 Affective Contagion in Networks; Evaluating Process Quality (Darrin Hicks)
12:00-12:45 Lunch
12:45-2:15 Social Network Analysis (Danielle Varda)
2:15-2:30 Break
2:30-5:00 Building Partnerships Case Study with 3D Network Construction
5:30 - 7:00 Rock Bottom Brewery Social

9:00-9:30 Breakfast/Recap
9:30-11:30 AM Workshops (NL for Funders, NL in Public Services Sector; NL Tools & Technologies; PARTNER AM)
11:30-12:00 Box Lunch
12:00-2:00 PM Workshops (NL for Environ/Natural Resource Management; Skills for Facilitating Networks; Heroic Improvisation; PARTNER PM)
2:00-3:00 Closing Plenary (Milward, Popp, Hicks, Varda - other trainers)

For your convenience, block hotel rooms are reserved at The SpringHill Suites Denver Downtown at Metro State for $149 per night. These rooms have free Wi-Fi and come with a microwave and refrigerator.   You can book through Marriott Reservations at 888-236-2427 and reference Network Leadership Training Academy to book via phone or click this link: Book your group rate: Network Leadership Training Academy >>


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