New Advocates

Walking College 2015

AW_WC_Logo OnlyFor Information on the 2016 Walking College Program, Please Click Here 

The Walking College is a structured, distance-education program of self-study, mentored instruction, and team problem-solving.

In April 2015, Walking College Fellowships were awarded to twenty-five advocates and professionals from around the country. This first class of Walking College Fellows will complete a five-month course of study, culminating at the 2nd National Walking Summit in Washington, DC.

Although the mentored instruction and team problem-solving components of the Walking College are only available to the 25 registered Fellows, we encourage all America Walks members and others to participate in the self-study program and join us for the Walking College series of webinars.

What are the Walking College’s learning objectives?

After completing the course, Walking College Fellows will be able to:

  • Communicate effectively with a variety of audiences about the benefits of a walkable community;
  • Recruit and inspire other local advocates to join the movement, establish an organizational structure, write winning grant applications, and fund-raise;
  • Organize public events, programs, and communication campaigns that emphasize the need for improved walkability;
  • Engage professionals in multiple fields, including public health, planning and transportation, on the ways walkability affects their priorities;
  • Navigate the structure of local and state government and engage elected officials in conversations about walkability;
  • Design and implement effective policy campaigns, such as reducing speed limits and requiring complete streets;
  • Research, understand, and communicate data to support campaigns.
Who are the Walking College Mentors?

The following experienced walkable community campaigners helped design the Walking College and will serve as Mentors by facilitating video-interactive coaching sessions with small groups of Fellows:

  • Jeanne Anthony, Livable Communities Project Advisor, AARP
  • Anamarie Garces, Executive Director, Urban Health Partnerships
  • Kim Irwin, Executive Director, Health by Design
  • Robert Johnson, Director of Consulting, PedNet Coalition
  • Wendy Landman, Executive Director, WalkBoston and Board Member, America Walks
  • Brighid O’Keane, Alliance for Biking and Walking
  • Molly O’Reilly, Board Member, America Walks and Board Member, Idaho Walk-Bike Alliance
  • Robert Ping, Technical Assistance Program Manager, WALC Institute
  • Lisa Quinn, Executive Director, Feet First
  • Jonathan Stalls, Founder/Lead Itinerant, Walk2Connect
  • Jim Stone, Executive Director, Circulate San Diego
  • Ian Thomas, State and Local Program Director, America Walks (course manager)

2015 Walking College Curriculum

For an overview of the curriculum and introduction to the program, please view the introductory webinar below. The power point used in this presentation can be found here. To hear the welcome from Mentor Wendy Landman, click here.

June 8 – September 4:

September 8 – October 23:

  • Independent Study Project

October 28-30:

  • National Walking Summit
Module 1 (June 8 – 19): Why Walking?


  • Why people walk
  • History of car-oriented design
  • Benefits of walking/walkable communities
  • Latest trends/evidence (economic, etc.)
  • Researching/analyzing/communicating data (crash statistics, etc.)

Webinar #1 (June 18, 1:00 pm Eastern):
“Why Walking?”
Jonathon Stalls and Jim Stone

Module 2 (June 22 – July 2): Designing for People


  • How to evaluate the built environment
  • Understanding the impact of land-use, zoning, and place-making
  • Features of walkable design
  • Pedestrian access/ADA requirements
  • Traffic calming

Webinar #2 (June 23, 2:00 pm, Eastern):
“Designing Places for People”
Dan Burden and Samantha Thomas

Module 3 (July 6 – 17): Changing the System


  • Walkability and the local planning process
  • Roles/responsibilities of planners, engineers, and policymakers
  • How to engage and influence decision makers
  • Policy strategies for improving walkability
  • Advocacy versus lobbying

Webinar #3 (July 15, 2:00 pm, Eastern):
“Institutionalizing the Change”
Mark Fenton

Mid-Term Break (July 20 – 24)

Module 4 (July 27 – August 7): Developing Leadership


  • Self-awareness, facilitation skills
  • Community engagement, creating a vision
  • Forming an organization, governance, non-profit status
  • Fundraising/grantwriting, financial stability/growth
  • Strategic planning

Webinar #4:
Leadership Development
Brighid O’Keane and associate(s)

Module 5 (August 10 – 21): Building a Movement


  • Effective communication, building trust and relationships
  • How to build a partnership (whom to recruit, how to inspire, etc.)
  • Engaging professionals/elected officials
  • Media skills, social marketing campaigns
  • Organizing public events/programs

Webinar #5: Engage with Local Government

Planner, traffic engineer, elected official, police chief, etc. all talk about how advocates can most effectively engage them

Module 6 (August 24 – September 4): Planning Campaigns


  • Anatomy and physiology of a model campaign
  • Models include Vision Zero, Complete Streets, and Safe Routes to School
  • Ways to fund campaigns, planning activities, and implementation projects
  • Long-term and short-term campaign planning
  • Articulating campaign plans

Webinar #6 (September 1, 2015): What Is Happening at the Walking College?
A few Walking College Fellows present review of course and plans