Civic Leadership Education at the University of Chicago
How an Urban Research University Invested in a Program for Civic Leaders that Resulted in a Positive Impact for both the Civic Leaders and the Faculty, Staff and Students of the Institution Itself
Keywords:civic leaders, Chicago, Civic Leadership Academy, non-profit, government, leadership development, civic engagement, equity, civic infrastructure
The University of Chicago (UChicago), known for transformative education, created the Civic Leadership Academy (CLA) to address the need for leadership development in government and the non-profit sector. In 2014 the Office of Civic Engagement recognized that while there were a host of leadership development opportunities for individuals in the private sector, similar opportunities for nonprofit and local government employees were lacking. The program begins by investing in fellows’ leadership capacity, so that in turn, their organizations are better able to carry out their missions. After three years of research and co-creation with foundations, corporations, individuals and groups, an original design, structure and curriculum emerged. The curriculum is rigorous and analytical, drawing upon the expertise of the faculty and the experiences of established civic leaders in Chicago. Action skills help individuals use their knowledge to achieve desired outcomes, and involve elements of communication, negotiation, persuasion, motivating others, and teamwork.