Andrea K. Gerlak

About Andrea K. Gerlak

My research agenda examines the causes of—and innovative solutions to—some of our world’s most pressing environmental challenges. Broadly speaking, I am interested in how we can better design institutions to promote adaptive, flexible policies to improve human and ecosystem well-being and produce fair and equitable decisions.

I hold a joint appointment at the University of Arizona as an Associate Professor in the School of Geography and Development and as an Associate Research Professor at the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy. 

Presently, I serve as a co-editor for the Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning (, an international journal published by Taylor and Francis providing a forum for the critical analysis of environmental policy and planning. I am also a member of the editorial board for Anthropocene (, a journal addressing the nature, scale, and extent of the influence that people have on Earth.

Before joining the School of Geography and Development, I served as the director of academic development with the International Studies Association ( where I facilitated academic development across ISA’s substantive academic sections, including developing programs to foster junior scholar engagement and program development in international studies. In addition, I have over ten years’ experience building, administering, and teaching in interdisciplinary environmental studies programs during my time as a faculty member at Guilford College and Columbia University.

Areas of Study

  • Water governance and policy 
  • Global environmental policy 
  • Transboundary waters 
  • Groundwater management 
  • Resilience, adaptation, social-ecological systems 
  • Western U.S., U.S., Latin America, SE Asia, Europe


Research Interests

In one major stream of my research, I study collaborative governance in environmental decision-making and management.  In regional watersheds from the Florida Everglades to California’s Bay Delta, I study the emergence and performance of institutional design features, like how science is shared or how stakeholders are engaged.  In another stream of my research, I examine cooperation and conflict in global water governance. This includes research on institutions and processes associated with effective management in transboundary basins in river basins such as Colorado River, Danube River, Mekong River, La Plata River, and Uruguay River.

I have also been writing on interdisciplinarity for global environmental change and the role of academics and researchers in framing environmental challenges and working together to identify solutions and agendas for change.

Selected Publications


Volgy, Thomas J., Zlatko Šabič, Petra Roter, and Andrea K. Gerlak, editors.  2009. Mapping the New World Order. Wiley-Blackwell Publishers.


Emerson, Kirk and Andrea K. Gerlak. 2016. Teaching Collaborative Governance Online: Aligning Collaborative Instruction with Online Learning Platforms. Journal of Public Affairs Education 22 (3): 327-344.

Gerlak, Andrea K. and Farhad Mukhtarov. 2016. Many Faces of Security: Discursive Framing in Cross-border Natural Resource Governance in the Mekong River Commission. Globalizations (forthcoming).

Heikkila, Tanya and Andrea K. Gerlak. 2016.  Investigating Collaborative Processes Over Time: A 10-Year Study of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. The American Review of Public Administration 46(2): 180-200.

Armitage, D., de Loe, R.C., Morris, M., Edwards, T.W., Gerlak, A.K., Hall, R.I., Huitema, D., Ison, R., Livingstone, D., MacDonald, G., Mirumachi, N., Plummer, R., Wilfe, B.B. 2015.  Science-policy processes for transboundary water governance. Ambio 44(5): 353-66.

Baer, Madeline and Andrea K. Gerlak. 2015. Implementing the human right to water and sanitation: a study of global and local discourses. Third World Quarterly 36(8): 1527-1545.

Sugg, Zachary P., Robert G. Varady, Andrea K. Gerlak, and Rafael de Grenade.  2015. Transboundary groundwater governance in the Guarani Aquifer System: reflections from a survey of global and regional experts. Water International 40(3): 377–400.

Megdal, Sharon, Andrea K. Gerlak, Robert G. Varady, and Ling-Yee Huang. 2015.  Groundwater Governance in the United States: Common Priorities and Challenges.  Groundwater 53(5): 677–684.

Gerlak, Andrea K. and Farhad Mukhtarov. 2015. ‘Ways of Knowing’ Water: Integrated Water Resources Management and Water Security as Complementary Discourses. International Environmental Agreements: Politics Law and Economics 15(3): 257-272.

Schmeier, Susanne, Andrea K. Gerlak, and Sabine Blumstein. 2015.  Clearing the muddy waters of shared watercourses governance: conceptualizing international River Basin Organizations. International Environmental Agreements DOI 10.1007/s10784-015-9287-4.

Cheng, A. S., A. K. Gerlak, L. Dale, and K. Mattor. 2015. Examining the adaptability of collaborative governance associated with publicly managed ecosystems over time: insights from the Front Range Roundtable, Colorado, USA. Ecology and Society 20(1): 35.

Gerlak, Andrea K. and Marcelo Saguier. 2015. Interdisciplinary knowledge frameworks for transboundary river basins. International Journal of Water Resources Development, DOI: 10.1080/07900627.2014.1003347.

Gerlak, Andrea K.  2015. Resistance and Reform: Transboundary Water Governance in the Colorado River Delta.  Review of Policy Research 32(1): 100-123. 

Emerson, Kirk and Andrea K. Gerlak. 2014. Adaptation in Collaborative Governance Regimes. Environmental Management 54: 768-781.

Gerlak, Andrea K. and Susanne Schmeier. 2014. Climate Change and Transboundary Waters: A Study of Discourse in the Mekong River Basin. The Journal of Environment and Development 23: 358-386.

Berardo, Ramiro, Tanya Heikkila, and Andrea K. Gerlak.  2014.  Interorganizational Engagement in Collaborative Environmental Management: Evidence from the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 24(3): 697-719.

Gerlak, Andrea K. 2014. Policy Interactions in Human–Landscape Systems. Environmental Management 53: 67-75. 

Chin, Anne, Kathleen A. Galvin, Andrea K. Gerlak, Carol P. Harden, and Ellen Wohl. 2014. The Future of Human–Landscape Interactions: Drawing on the Past, Anticipating the Future.  Environmental Management 53: 1-3.

Harden, Carol P., Anne Chin, Mary R. English, Rong Fu, Kathleen A. Galvin, Andrea K. Gerlak, Patricia F. McDowell, Dylan E. McNamara, Jeffrey M. Peterson, N. LeRoy Poff, Eugene A. Rosa, William D. Solecki, and Ellen E. Wohl. 2014. Understanding Human–Landscape Interactions in the “Anthropocene”. Environmental Management 53: 4-13.

Wohl, Ellen, Andrea K. Gerlak, N. LeRoy Poff, and Anne Chin. 2014. Common Core Themes in Geomorphic, Ecological, and Social Systems. Environmental Management 53: 14-27.

Heikkila, Tanya and Andrea K. Gerlak. 2013. Building a Conceptual Approach to Collective Learning: Lessons for Public Policy Scholars. Policy Studies Journal 41(3): 484-511.

Mukhtarov, Farhad and Andrea K. Gerlak. 2013. Epistemic forms of integrated water resources management: towards knowledge versatility. Policy Sciences 47: 101-120.

Mukhtarov, Farhad and Andrea K. Gerlak. 2013. River Basin Organizations
in the Global Water Discourse: An Exploration of Agency and Strategy. Global Governance 19: 307-326.

Heikkila, Tanya, Andrea K. Gerlak, Andrew Bell, and Susanne Schmeier.  2013.  Adaptation in a transboundary river basin: linking stressors and adaptive capacity within the Mekong River Commission.  Environmental Science and Policy 25: 73-82.

Gerlak, Andrea K., Francisco Zamora-Arroyo, and Hannah P. Kahler. 2013.  A Delta in Repair: Restoration, Binational Cooperation, and the Future of the Colorado River Delta. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development 55(3): 29-40.

Gerlak, Andrea K. and Margaret Wilder.  2012.  Exploring the Textured Landscape of Water Insecurity and the Human Right to Water. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development 54(2):  4-17.

Berado, Ramiro and Andrea K. Gerlak. 2012. Conflict and Cooperation along International Rivers:  Crafting a Model of Institutional Effectiveness. Global Environmental Politics 12(1): 101-120.

Gerlak, Andrea K. and Tanya Heikkila.  2011. Building a Theory of Learning in Collaboratives: Evidence from the Everglades Restoration Program. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 21(4): 619-644.

Gerlak, Andrea K., Jonathan Lautze, and Mark Giordano. 2011. Water Resources Dataand Information Exchange in Transboundary Water Treaties. International Environmental Agreements 11: 179-199.

Gerlak, Andrea K., Robert G. Varady, Olivier Petit and Arin C. Haverland. 2011. Hydrosolidarity and beyond: can ethics and equity find a place in today's water resource management? Water International 36(3): 251-265.



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Contact Information

Andrea K. Gerlak
Associate Professor (tenure-track)
Telephone: 520-621-1842
Fax: 520-621-2889
Office: ENR2 S518


PhD, Political Science