Toddi A. Steelman

North Carolina State University
Department of Forestry and Enviornmental Resources

Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC
toddi_steelman@ncsu.eduq |  Visit Personal Website

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Dr. Toddi A. Steelman is professor of Environmental and Natural Resource Policy within the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University. Her research focuses on improving the governance of environmental and natural resources, with an interest in science, policy and decision making interactions. Current projects focus on increasing the adaptive capacity of communities in the face of a changing climate. She has several active research grants that address the challenges of wildfire in this context. Past projects have included watershed remediation and management, land and open space protection, national forest planning and community forestry, wildfire and biodiversity conservation. In 2008, she was a Fulbright Scholar to Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, where she worked on biodiversity conservation issues in the greater Vancouver region.

Brunner, Ron, Toddi A. Steelman, Lindy Coe-Juell, Christina M. Cromley, Christine A. Edwards, and Donna W. Tucker. 2005. Adaptive Governance: Integrating Natural Resource Science, Decision Making and Policy. York, NY: Columbia University Press.
Abstract: How do we move toward more sustainable paradigms of natural resources governance? This presentation presents two paradigms of practice?scientific management and adaptive governance. Scientific management aspired to rise above politics, relying on science as the foundation for efficient policies made through a single-central authority--a bureaucratic structure with the appropriate mandate, jurisdiction, and expert personnel. Adaptive governance integrates scientific and other types of knowledge into policies that advance the common interest in particular contexts through open decision-making structures.
Ascher, W., T.A. Steelman, and R. Healy. 2010. Knowledge and Environmental Policy: Re-imagining the Boundaries of Science and Politics. MIT Press.
Abstract: During the George W. Bush administration, politics and ideology routinely trumped scientific knowledge in making environmental policy. Data were falsified, reports were edited selectively, and scientists were censored. The Obama administration has pledged to restore science to the policy making process. And yet, as the authors of Knowledge and Environmental Policy point out, the problems in connecting scientific discovery to science-based policy are systemic. The process?currently structured in a futile effort to separate policy from science?is dysfunctional in many respects. In this book, William Ascher, Toddi Steelman, and Robert Healy analyze the dysfunction and offer recommendations for incorporating formal science and other important types of knowledge (including local knowledge and public sentiment) into the environmental policymaking process.rnrnThe authors divide the knowledge process into three functions?generation,rntransmission, and use?and explore the key obstacles to incorporating knowledgerninto the making of environmental policy. Using case studies and integratingrna broad literature on science, politics, and policy, they examine the ignorancernor distortion of policy-relevant knowledge, the overemphasis of particular concerns and the neglect of others, and the marginalization of certain voices. The book?s analysis will be valuable to scientists who want to make their work more accessible and useful for environmental policy and to policymakers who wantrntheir decisions to be informed by science but have had difficulty finding scientific knowledge that is useful or timely.
Steelman, Toddi A. 2010. Implementing Innovation: Fostering Enduring Changes in Environmental and Natural Resource Governance. Georgetown University Press.
Abstract: The 1980s and 1990s saw a proliferation of innovative solutions to difficult environmental and natural resource problems. Wondering how well we have faired in this era of environmental and natural resource policy innovation, Steelman asks the question: Why are some innovations implemented, while others are not? Leveraging public management, policy studies, implementation, and institutional theory, Steelman identifies the inherent tensions between innovation and institutions. Innovations, by definition, are transitory. Institutions are not. How then do we establish new practices that can endure? Drawing from land protection, watershed stewardship and community forestry case studies that span 10 years or more, she challenges the conventional wisdom about the optimistic possibilities for innovation. Change is hard, especially within a long established institutional context. There are limits to what individuals can accomplish on their own and this runs counter to long held cultural beliefs and scholarly research about entrepreneurism and innovation. By challenging conventional wisdom, her book deals more realistically with the institutional obstacles that impede innovation and its longer term implementation.

Substantive Focus:
Environmental Policy
Science and Technology Policy

Theoretical Focus:
Policy Process Theory
Agenda-Setting, Adoption, and Implementation
Policy Analysis and Evaluation