Government of the Northwest Territories

Brock University and the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding in November of 2020. This exciting three-year partnership is between Brock’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ On The Land Unit within the GNWT. Both organizations are enthusiastic about collaborating and co-creating courses based on traditional knowledge, including a focus on the people of the North and their important voices.

Aurora with silhouette of trees at Vee Lake outside of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada

Key Partnership Goals

Each organization will be contributing valuable skills to ensure the co-creation of course content that will eventually be available  to the staff of the GNWT to facilitate ‘on the land’ environmental knowledge and leadership training.

The main goals of the partnership between the ESRC and the GNWT include co-creating the following:

Meet the GNWT Team

Vincent Casey

Outreach and Education Coordinator, On the Land Unit, Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Meet the Brock Team

Ryan Plummer

Ryan’s multi-faceted program of research broadly concerns the governance of social-ecological systems. In striving to advance knowledge of collaboration and adaptation within complex systems, he has focused on exploring the theoretical underpinnings and ethical implications, modelling their processes, examining the roles of social capital, and investigating the influences of social learning. Water resources are the context in which his research mainly occurs.

Findings from his research have been published in leading international journals such as Ecological Economics, Ecology and Society, Environmental Management, Frontiers in Ecology and Society, Global Environmental Change, Journal of Environmental Management, Society and Natural Resources and the UN journal, Natural Resources Forum. In addition, he is the author of Outdoor Recreation (Routledge, 2010), and co-editor of Adaptive Capacity and the Making of Environmental Governance (with D. Armitage, Springer, 2010) and Resilience in Social-Ecological Systems: the Role of Learning and Education (with M.E. Krasny and C. Lundholm, Routledge, 2011). He serves as a Subject Editor for Ecology and Society.

The scholarly quality of his research program was formally recognized in 2008 with the awarding of a Chancellor’s Chair for Research Excellence. In 2004 he received the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences Award for Teaching Excellence and in 2008 he was selected as one of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Excellence in Education Award winners for Promotion of Sustainable Practices.

Amanda Smits holds a BA from Wilfrid Laurier University in Political Science with a specialization in business administration. She also holds a Master of Education from Brock University focused on administration and leadership. As the Centre Administrator for the ESRC, Amanda acts as project manager on multiple innovative community partnerships and is focused on translating ESRC research findings to the general public, through the use of knowledge mobilization techniques. In 2019, Amanda completed the Certificate in Knowledge Mobilization from the University of Guelph.

Samantha Witkowski

Samantha holds a BA in Environmental Studies from Laurentian University, and completed her Master of Sustainability at Brock University in 2020. Her interests surround monitoring and evaluation (M&E) strategies in environmental planning and management. In her thesis research, she investigated stakeholder perceptions of key performance indicators for M&E and environmental management. This research involved a systematic review of literature encompassing M&E associated with collaborative and adaptive environmental management. The insights gained from this scholarship were applied and assessed within a local environmental stewardship initiative in Summer 2019.

Course Offerings

The Leadership in Environmental Sustainability Certificate is a certificate course offered by the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC) at Brock as a part of its professional and continuing education offerings. Sustainability is an established imperative in businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. Now, more than ever, society needs individuals who have the capacity to navigate the contemporary circumstances of rapid change, uncertainty and conflicts. The Leadership in Environmental Sustainability Certificate is designed to equip individuals with knowledge about environmental sustainability and advanced skills required to become future change agents. Each course explores the linkages of major sustainability-based concepts and their relation to the environment. To support the needs of both current and aspiring leaders, this program can be tailored to ensure that you gain the skills and knowledge necessary to meet your professional development goals.

Program Requirements

The Environmental Sustainability Leadership certificate consists of required and elective courses. Participants are required to complete a total of 4 courses to receive the certificate. This includes 2 intensive required courses as well as 2 electives courses. Each course is made up of a series of linked modules related to the course topic. This program is offered in English and can be completed in 1 year or less. Successful participants will receive a certificate upon completion from the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC) to signify their proficiency in environmental sustainability leadership. Brock and GNWT have co-created two elective courses for GNWT employees:

  • Introduction to Northern Climate Resilience (see below)
  • Ways to Engage (see below)

Aim of the Course:

Climate change is intensely impacting the earth, with profound implications now and in the future. In this course, learners will participate in interactive discussions and content about climate change, from the local to global levels. It will explore both the science and personal actions we can take to tackle climate change. The course will also empower learners with tools and resources to understand the foundations of climate change, its impact on our societies, and how to navigate a changing climate.Throughout the course, examples are provided to help equip learners with credible and practical information on how to act on climate change within their workplace roles.No prerequisites are required to take this course. 

Note: No prerequisites are required to take this course. The course can be utilized as an elective towards gaining a Leadership in Environmental Sustainability Certificate.​

By the end of this course, learners will be able to:   

  • Describe the fundamentals of climate change science    
  • Explain observed and projected trends in the climate  
  • Identify the implications (impacts) of climate change in the local and global context 
  • Understand vulnerability in the context of climate change 
  • Identify mitigation actions as well as how to adapt to the negative impacts of climate change  
  • Demonstrate how resilience to climate change can be fostered through action 

This is an online course offering that allows learners the opportunity to connect with the instructor and their peers on one separate occasion (see date below). Not to worry if you are unable to join the synchronous online meet up listed below as it will be recorded and shared with all learners.

NOTE: Registration for the Fall 2023 offering of this course is now closed. Please monitor this webpage for updates about future offerings.

Aim of the Course:

This course focuses on working together for the environment and how to frame the uncertainty that accompanies collaborative engagement, whether that be through research, projects and initiatives. It equips learners with the knowledge and skills necessary for meaningful community engagement, productive partnerships, and effectively mobilizing knowledge with a focus on concrete skills in areas. Context and experiences in the Northwest Territories, including Indigenous perspectives and Traditional Knowledge, are incorporated throughout the course.  Collaborating with a myriad of audiences will advance shared community sustainability goals.  

The course considers community engagement through a Northern lens, specifically drawing upon multiple perspectives, knowledge systems, and experiences. You may be working with communities in your current role, maybe you engage with local communities on water stewardship projects, or maybe you’re a part of team that formally engages with other governments and/or organizations. Regardless of the ways you engage, this course will help equip yourself with credible and practical information. 

Note: No prerequisites are required to take this course. The course can be utilized as an elective towards gaining a Leadership in Environmental Sustainability Certificate.​

By the end of this course, learners will be able to:   

  • Comprehend emerging issues and approaches in engaging people for environmental sustainability.
  • Develop a comprehensive set of practical skills and tools to engage in innovative ways.
  • Communicate the value of collaborations for achieving shared goals.
  • Effectively mobilize knowledge to communicate information and engage communities.
  • Understand and appreciate the different ways engagement occurs within the Government of the Northwest Territories through and reflect on how you may utilize engagement strategies within your own work.

This is an online course offering that allows learners the opportunity to connect with the instructor and their peers on one separate occasion (see date below). Not to worry if you are unable to join the synchronous online meet up listed below as it will be recorded and shared with all learners.

NOTE: Registration for the Winter 2024 offering of this course is now closed. Please monitor this webpage for updates about future offerings.

Connect with GNWT