About NPI

The National Parks Institute (NPI) is the culmination of ten years of dialogue and collaboration between Yosemite National Park, UC Merced, and, more recently, the National Park Service national office. The vision for NPI is to have a sustained academic-agency partnership with a physical center on the UC Merced Campus. The multidisciplinary institute will be devoted to addressing and providing innovative solutions to the challenges that face domestic and international national park and protected area management.

NPI IS BEING INCUBATED IN UC MERCED'S SIERRA NEVADA RESEARCH INSTITUTE AND ACTIVELY SERVES AS THE UMBRELLA FOR THREE VIBRANT PROGRAMS:


The Executive Leadership Seminar — The Yosemite Leadership Program — The Wilderness Education Center

Within five years, it is anticipated that NPI will become part of a new School of Management at UC Merced or grow to be a stand-alone institute on campus.

AS TIME PROGRESSES, NPI WILL MATURE TOWARDS ITS GOALS TO FOCUS ON:

  • Scientific research and scholarly thought
  • Technological innovation
  • Non-traditional audience outreach and education
  • Academic workforce preparation and management development for current and future national and international park managers and staff
  • Collaboration between academics, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and private industry
  • International cooperation

AREAS OF SPECIAL INTEREST WILL INCLUDE:

  • Multidisciplinary scientific research
  • Collaborative relationships among national laboratories, state and federal agencies, cooperating universities, and within the ten-campus UC system
  • Establishment of a multidisciplinary parks issues think tank for long-term thinking
  • Research facilities on campus including a center for strategic fire studies and geographic information system (GIS) technology laboratory
  • Forum for discussions on large-scale global issues that challenge protected area management
  • Curriculum tracks that lead to four-year degrees, advanced degrees, and certificate programs in specific areas of land management and leadership
  • Lifelong learning for leadership in environmental and cultural resource management
  • Development of sustainable technologies for use in public land management arenas