University of Calgary

2011 Leopold Leadership Fellow

February 28, 2011

Stanford elects U of C professor for prestigious fellowship

By Kim Lawrence

Joe Arvai is an associate professor of Strategy and Global Management in the Haskayne School of Business. Photo credit: Kim LawrenceJoe Arvai is an associate professor of Strategy and Global Management in the Haskayne School of Business. Photo credit: Kim LawrenceThe University of Calgary’s Dr. Joseph Arvai has been awarded a prestigious Leopold Leadership Fellowship for 2011. Located at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University, the fellowship program was founded in 1998 to fill a gap in environmental decision-making: getting the best scientific knowledge into the hands of government, non-profit and business leaders to further the development of sustainable policies and practices.

A specialist in the field of judgment and decision-making, Arvai holds a cross-appointment as the Svare Chair in Applied Decision Research at the Haskayne School of Business and the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy (ISEEE), where he is also a Fellow. His research focuses on how people process information and make decisions, as individuals and in groups, in the absence of formalized decision support.

Beyond his research, Arvai leads workshops geared at improving the decision-making skills of risk managers and stakeholders. He has worked as an advisor to NASA, the EPA's Science Advisory Board, the National Academy of Sciences, Natural Resources Canada and the Office of the Governor for the State of Michigan. His projects have taken him around the world as a consultant to government agencies and non-profit groups. This year, he will publish results of a study he worked on with Maasai villagers in Tanzania on methods for improving decision-making for international development purposes.

Arvai is one of 20 mid-career academic environmental scientists named as Fellows this year, all selected through a highly competitive process on the basis of their exceptional scientific qualifications, demonstrated leadership ability, and strong interest in communicating science beyond traditional academic audiences.

He will take part in intensive leadership and communications training designed to hone skills in delivering scientific information to decision-makers, the media, and the public. He will also become part of a network of past Fellows and program advisors who are leaders in conducting scientific outreach beyond traditional academic and scientific circles.

More information about the program is available at

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