Walter M. Vannette, PhD

AB, Calvin college
MS, Utah State University
PhD, University of Colorado 1977

Specialty areas:

  • cultural
  • applied
  • education and sustainable development
  • North America
  • Asia/Pacific, Europe

Biography

Dr. Vannette is an applied cultural anthropologist. He has conducted numerous research projects both within the U.S and abroad. The majority of these projects have focused on land and religion related issues. He also has worked closely with local communities on issues related to sustainable development.

These projects, without exception, have been largely collaborative undertakings and often included significant participatory components that have actively involved community members in nearly all phases of the research process.

Vannette currently teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses and continues to explore ways for students to become involved in research activities outside the classroom. 

Current research and applied projects

Sedona-Verde Valley projects

Dr. Walter Vannette has completed a series of eight Sedona-Verde Valley projects since 1992. These projects have provided applied research opportunities for dozens of undergraduate and graduate students. The project’s success and collaborative working relationship with local residents, community based organizations and agency personnel provide the Department and NAU high visibility and a leading research role in the region.

The Verde Valley Projects are complex and comprehensive. They are funded by different government bodies and result in eight to ten chapter background research reports. The issues addressed in these reports, among others, include water management, alternative modes of transportation, tourism development, city planning processes, State and Federal land use issues (e.g., land exchange), and human values related to growth management.

This research involves working closely with officials of the Arizona Department of Transportation, Arizona State Land Department, Arizona Office of Tourism, Yavapai-Apache Tribe, Prescott and Coconino National Forest, ten communities in the Verde Valley and several inter-agency bodies.

All projects are followed by 2 1/2 day community forums. The forces of growth in the Verde Valley provide us with a natural experiment in cultural change. As mentioned above, such projects provide field research, publication and internship opportunities for many of our students.