Vinhateiro, N.; Sullivan, K.A., and Mcnally, C.G., 2012. Training for the next generation of coastal management practitioners.

The complex and interconnected problems facing the world's coastal zones require solutions that bridge science and policy and integrate a range of stakeholder perspectives. The next generation of coastal practitioners will therefore need a wide-ranging set of problem-solving skills and the ability to collaborate across disciplines. As graduates of the Coastal Institute Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Project at the University of Rhode Island, we were participants in a multidisciplinary curriculum for students interested in the complex issues of coastal ecosystem management. Here we discuss aspects of the curriculum that were transformative from a graduate student perspective, as well as aspects that presented challenges. Fundamentally, the training provided us: (i) the opportunity to gain multidisciplinary knowledge working with a broad network of colleagues and mentors outside of our disciplinary backgrounds; (ii) communication and leadership training for coastal conflict management; and (iii) experiential learning opportunities that allowed us to apply these skills and knowledge at the science/policy interface. These three important features of our training could be implemented at any academic institution. While the training challenged us to balance the demands of our respective programs with additional work, it is our strong opinion that the benefits of such training considerably outweigh the costs.

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