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SGSI 2023: Public Policy Negotiation: Multiparty Problem-solving and Conflict Resolution

Course is closed

Monday, Sept. 11 - Wednesday, Sept. 13, 9 AM – 4 PM; Thursday, Sept. 14, 9 AM - 6 PM; Friday, Sept. 15, 9 AM – 12:30 PM

As a professional, you may negotiate more than you do anything else. You will negotiate with your boss, your colleagues, funders and investors, other firms, government agencies, legislative and scientific bodies, the courts, the public and the media. You will negotiate on your own behalf, but also to influence and shape policy outcomes that have an impact on larger communities and even the public as a whole. This course is designed to help you develop your understanding of negotiation and your awareness of yourself as a negotiator. Provide tools and concepts to analyze and prepare for negotiations. Enhance your negotiation skills through simulations, cases, reflection and feedback. Lastly, it will extend those skills into collaborative problem-solving and conflict resolution in public policy contexts you may encounter in your professional life.

This is a highly interactive course organized around simulations, small group and plenary group activities, guest speakers and discussions.  We place a strong emphasis on peer-to-peer as well as instructor feedback.


  • Jan Martinez, PhD, senior lecturer in Law
  • Brenna Powell, PhD, lecturer in Law

Audience & Capacity

Open to all graduate students in any discipline (particularly those who have not had a chance to explore these issues extensively through their coursework), as well as postdoctoral scholars, if space allows.

Participants will be selected to assure a good balance of skills, background, and areas of policy interest, with priority to those applying first. Space is limited to 24.


By participating fully in this course, you will:

  • Provide overview and experiential learning on fundamentals of negotiation (2-party, multiparty, facilitated multiparty)

  • Practice collaborative problem-solving skills with series of negotiation exercises, drawn from both private and public context, in domestic and international settings

  • Participate effectively as part of a team

  • Reflect on personal experiences, give and receive feedback

  • Explore the contexts in which students and members of the Stanford community engage in public policy negotiation in their professional lives

  • Explore interplay between science, policy and technology in public policy decision making

  • Consider role of media to influence public processes

  • Examine role of civic engagement and roles that public citizens play in public policy decisions


This course is intensive and highly interactive. We will begin with exploring and understanding your own negotiation style, move on to two-party negotiations, and advance to multi-party and team negotiations. More advanced simulations will emphasize complex problem-solving and conflict resolution among multiple parties (government, corporate, civil society). Negotiation topics include the tension between cooperative and competitive strategies, building trust, exchanging information and managing coalitions. We will then explore the use of third party facilitators in collaborative problem-solving, examine options for civic engagement, and the influence of the media. We will use case simulations drawn from environment and natural resource policymaking, intergroup conflict resolution and peacebuilding, and other policy areas of interest to the class. Guest speakers from the Stanford community will share insights into their own professional negotiation experience and engagement in public policymaking.

Past participants who took this course said the following about their experience:

"It's a practical learning opportunity, and I immediately deployed the skills I practice several times during the week outside of class. It's a time commitment with prep and reading, but it is fun and once you get into it, the time flies.” -SGSI 2022 Participant

“The course puts a structure to something we all do so many times but do not know how to go about it. It is worthwhile to take the course, especially with the instructors who taught it.” -SGSI 2022 Participant

“I gained confidence in my skills as a negotiator and felt that I left with a toolkit of tactics to use in all kinds of situations, from one-on-one negotiations, to complex negotiations without a clear outcome." -SGSI 2021 Participant

Additional Course Expectations

  • Participants will complete roughly 2 hours of reading and preparation for negotiation simulations each evening.
  • Full attendance is expected.

SUNet ID required to log in; all SGSI correspondence sent to your Stanford email account.

Resource Type: Course or Workshop  
Target Audience: Postdoctoral Scholars, All Graduate Students
Time Commitment: > 8 hours


Grad Grow Competencies

 Diversity Equity & Inclusion
 Leadership & Management
 Career Development