of Transportation Mediators and Facilitators
York State e-Grants Project
Aid Work Group
Event Decision Making
of the NYS Library
for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
for Domestic Preparedness
York State Office for the Aging
and Values Think Tank
Discussion on Group Facilitation (Grp-Facl)
Facilitation: A Research and Applications Journal
The Batchellerville Bridge over Great Sacandaga Lake is one of the longest
bridges in New York State. Built in
1930, the bridge has deteriorated and must be replaced within the next few
years. Closure of the bridge would
require a detour around the lake of more than 25 miles. Six alternatives were considered; four were
dismissed based on engineering and cost criteria. In considering the remaining two, a number of issues became
controversial, such as the effects on nearby property owners, wetlands, town
park, and beach access; traffic safety; noise and light pollution; water
quality impacts of construction and winter ice control; and visual impact of
the bridge on the views of the lake and the surrounding Adirondacks.
A citizen Advisory Group was convened by DOT of 13 members with the
following perspectives: residential
property owners that would be affected by a southern location for the
replacement bridge; residential property owners that would be affected by a
northern location for the replacement bridge; retail business in proximity of
the bridge; commercial business that uses the bridge; users of the town park
adjacent to the bridge; pedestrians and bicyclists; marinas; sailboat owners;
seasonal residents; year-round residents. The Advisory Group held a series of
six meetings focusing on the two most controversial issues: location and height. They established 15 criteria pertaining to location
and 36 pertaining to height and systematically collected information -- with
the help of the governmental resource agencies -- and evaluated it. The group reached consensus on location, but
not on height.
The US Institute for Environmental Conflict
Resolution (IECR), in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration,
created the Roster of Transportation Mediators and Facilitators to
support coordinated environmental review of Federal highway and transit
projects. Sandy Schuman was qualified
and placed on the roster. He continues
to be listed in IECRs National Roster of Environmental Conflict Resolution
and Consensus Building Professionals.
New York State relies heavily on not-for-profit organizations and local
governments to provide many critical services to its citizens and
communities. Current grant making
processes for these services are decentralized; application procedures vary
from one sponsoring agency to the next and there is no single source for Grant
Seekers to learn of grant opportunities.
Grant solicitation, application and award processes are labor intensive
and paper-based, usually requiring numerous and sometimes complex forms
containing redundant information.
It is the mission of the New York State e-Grants Project, a project
sponsored jointly between the Office of the State Comptroller and the Office
for Technology, to automate some of these key grant making processes. The Business Process Analysis phase of the
e-Grants Project relied on the participation of many end-users and stakeholders
from not-for-profit organizations, municipalities, and state agencies in a series
of facilitated work sessions. These
sessions were held to analyze current grant making processes and develop
recommendations for improving those processes.
The recommendations developed comprise the Future State Vision for the
New York State e-Grants System.
$15.5 billion in state aid is distributed annually to local school
districts using formulas that are complex and controversial. To move towards creating a simpler and more
equitable system this State Aid Work Group Retreat was convened. The group brainstormed 50 goals of an ideal
system and explored the relationships among the goals and how they might be
Extreme events -- earthquakes, storms, terrorist attacks, etc. -- have
received a great deal of attention by scholars in the relevant domains of
expertise, e.g., seismologists, meteorologists, terrorism experts. However, these experts have identified
decision making as an activity that is central to coping with extreme
events. The Extreme Event Decision Making
workshop was convened at the National Science Foundation Headquarters to
develop recommendations for research topics in extreme event decision making
and to develop a research strategy for extreme events decision research.
In a series of strategic planning meetings, the Governing Board of the Friends of the NYS Library
explored its relationship with other "Friends of the Library"
organizations throughout the state.
They explored the unique aspects of the New York State Library, and the
unique characteristics of the "Friends" organization. They developed new statements of purpose for
their membership literature, agreed to create a new exhibit, and developed a
strategy for building partnerships with other Friends organizations to
strengthen advocacy for libraries.
Welcoming the new director of the regional Jewish Federation, the Capital
District Board of Rabbis joined with Federation leadership to explore and
examine their interests and concerns regarding the future of the Jewish
community. They organized issues into
seven major themes: Strengthening Jewish education community wide; Outreach and
inreach: reaching those not easily involved; Shalom Bait (Peace in the House);
Process; Community Life; Out of Town or K'lal Yisrael; and Financial.
Workplace conflict management is a growing area of activity. We developed and delivered a new course on
workplace conflict management systems and mediated workplace disputes. For example, the resolution of one workplace
dispute hinged on a shared understanding of the distinctions between (a) an
approved/ scheduled absence, (b) an approved/unscheduled absence, and (c)
excessive use of unscheduled absences.
Another workplace dispute involved an employee who felt his supervisor
was treating him disrespectfully. Both
individuals were conscientious and sincere and left the mediation
Growth in staff and resources at the Center for
Excellence in Teaching and Learning created the need to establish a
shared understanding of its mission and priorities. While different staff had different interests and priorities,
they held a full-day meeting to agree on priorities and tradeoffs.
Researchers from various departments at the University at Albany joined
together with researchers from the University's Institute for Traffic Safety
Management and Research to identify issues and opportunities for collaborative
Representatives of state and county health departments and research
laboratories came together at the University at Albany to assess New York
State's capabilities and gaps regarding the ability to respond to public health
threats that might be brought on by terrorist attacks.
What is the intellectual core of information science? The faculty of the Information Science PhD
Program at the University at Albany met to create an intellectual map of this
multidisciplinary field. Faculty
members wrote key topics and issues on 5x8 cards and placed them on a "sticky wall," then rearranged
them into clusters and named the clusters.
This intellectual map was one of several sources that were brought to bear
at a subsequent daylong retreat to build recommendations for what the Provost's
Advisory Committee had come to refer to as the university's information
science enterprise. The committee
developed recommendations for combining academic departments, fostering
multidisciplinary work, and creating an entrepreneurial academic and research
This summer saw two groups of Korean government
executives spending a total of four weeks with us to learn about government and
information policy issues and practices in New York State. Topics ranged from systems thinking and
strategic planning to the application of information technology to support
executive decision making.
The NY State Office for the Aging implemented a
variety of strategic information efforts such as:
IT Strategic Planning -Initiating
an agency-wide IT strategic planning process to examine the infrastructure
needs and overall support for agency priorities;
Electronic Communications - Exploring the use of
various information technologies -- such as email discussion groups,
teleconferencing, web casting -- to enhance communications between the state
and local agencies;
Technical Support Systems - Enhancing technical
support to enable local governments to comply with new federal reporting
IT Innovations - Investigating options for a
web-integrated Call Center, network performance monitoring, web content
management, help desk staffing, software testing, and e‑Government
Association of Facilitators (IAF) Ethics and Values Think Tank
produced a draft Statement
of Values and Code of Ethics for Group Facilitators which will be
finalized at the upcoming IAF Conference.
For current discussion on this topic visit the ongoing electronic discussion.
Discussion on Group Facilitation continues to provide stimulating
discussion on diverse topics such as Stereotypes, Silence, Sacrilege and
Talking-Sticks, and Consensus vs. Voting. During 2001 the group averaged 895 subscribers in 30 countries
with six posts per day. To subscribe or
search the archives visit the Grp-Facl
This annual journal published by the International
Association of Facilitators will shift to web publication in 2002 with the
publication of Issue Number 4.
Abstracts of articles, submission guidelines, and additional information
is available at the Group
Facilitation Journal website.
Tom Birkland, Peter Bloniarz, Ellen Brown, Bob Bush, Ik Jae
Chung, Deborah Cunningham, Sharon Dawes, Chris D'Elia, Dino DeSorbo, Brian
Doubleday, Philip Eppard, Marcus Harazin, George Hodges, Audrey Hoffman, Dale
Hunter, Jeryl Mumpower, Tony Nash, Dan Ornstein, Zeb Robbins, John Rohrbaugh,
Nancy Schultz, Roger Schwarz, Geri Stewart, Tom Stewart, Diane Taylor, Steve
Walter, and Jo Ann Weatherwax.