Institute for Environmental Negotiation

Empowering communities to create shared solutions

IEN Team

Franklin Dukes, Ph.D., Director

I have been privileged to work for the Institute for Environmental Negotiation (IEN) since 1990, and have been its Director since 2000. As a mediator and facilitator, I seek to help individuals and groups address complex public problems and conflicts in ways that strengthen communities rather than tear them apart. Each year I work on average on a dozen or so projects involving environment and land use, contaminated sites, community development, education, and health. I have also facilitated many difficult community conversations on topics ranging from faith and homosexuality, to education, to reparations for slavery. Learn more about me here. You can find my resume hereEmail Frank.

Tanya Denckla Cobb, Associate Director

My work as a mediator, writer and teacher are expressions of my core passion for building understanding and helping people find ways to work together. Since joining IEN in 1997, my work has covered a wide range of issues, from forest planning to sea level rise. One of my specialties is to help design large stakeholder engagement summits, such as the Virginia Food Security Summits, two Governor’s Summits, and an Interfaith Summit. I’ve facilitated the development of watershed plans, community visions, and organizational strategic plans. In recent years, my work has focused on issues of stormwater management, onsite septic systems, food and agriculture, tobacco harm reduction and health. Learn more about me here.  You can find my resume here. Email Tanya.


Ellen Martin, Supervisory Grants and Office Manager

As the Supervisory Grants and Office Manager for IEN, I oversee the financial accounting for the office, manage most aspects of our grants and contracts, supervise our student interns, and coordinate various other business and administrative operations of the office. My background is in customer service, marketing, voluntarism, and as an entrepreneur. My education includes a BS in business management and an MS in Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy. Prior to IEN, I worked at UVa’s Office of Engagement for six years.  I enjoy traveling, quilting, cycling, and reading. Email Ellen.

Tammy Switzer, Administrative Assistant

My role at IEN is part-time Administrative Assistant. I provide general administrative support to the IEN staff, but the majority of my time is spent working on the Virginia Natural Resource Leadership Institute (VNRLI). I came to IEN in September of 2008 after being a stay-at-home mom for over 10 years. I am originally from Littleton, Colorado, where I worked for the University of Colorado for 12 years. In 1999, my husband was transferred to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where we lived for six years. In 2005, his company brought us to Charlottesville. We have two wonderful boys that keep us very busy and active. Email Tammy.

Kelly Altizer, Project Manager, Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute

As Program Manager for the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute, I coordinate VNRLI’s logistics, and organize alumni events and the six sessions that comprise the leadership program. After graduating from the University of Virginia in 2009, I volunteered for a year with Americorps at the Southeastern Appalachian Rural Alliance in Lewisburg, WV. I received my Master's degree in Environmental Management from Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, where I researched the effectiveness of UN peace-building programs in areas of environmental conflict and interned with the North Carolina Conservation Network. Email Kelly.

Judie Talbot, Senior Associate

I started working at IEN in February 2015. I have had 15 years of experience in facilitating and mediating collaborative efforts and public involvement programs. My projects include strategic planning; assessments and process design; joint fact-finding; facilitating of meetings, workshops, and technical panels. My work focuses on policy planning for natural resource issues involving federal, tribal, state and local agencies as well as underserved communities, environmental, commercial, agricultural and recreational interests. My services include technical research, writing, and editing. I also create tailored materials for public engagement such as press releases, informational brochures, and content for briefings, newsletters and websites. My resume can be found here. Email Judie.