Dr. Gibson's research interests include environmental policy, natural resources management, and intergovernmental relations. In the late 1970s he helped develop the field of alernative dispute resolution for environmental conflict and later implemented a mediation process to resolve city-county annexation disputes in Virginia. He has consulted with local governments, state agencies and non-profits on managing conflict and change, and worked with local grassroots organizations to develop strategies for retaining local control of natural resources.
He teaches courses in environmental policy, public administration, conflict management, state and local government, and urban politics.
His recent research and publications have been on grassroots collaboration. He co-authored (2013), The Case for Grassroots Collaboration: Social Capital and Ecosystem Restoration at the Local Level. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. His co-authored article, "Collaborative Federalism and the Emerging Role of Local Nonprofits in Water Quality Implementation," appeared in the 2014 annual special edition of Publius: The Journal of Federalism. Summer, 2014, V 44.3.