The Civic Leadership Academy

The Civic Leadership Academy is an interdisciplinary leadership development program for emerging and high-potential leaders in nonprofit organizations and local government agencies within the City of Chicago and Cook County.

Developed by the University of Chicago Office of Civic Engagement, in partnership with LISC Chicago and the Civic Consulting Alliance, the program is designed to develop a pipeline of talented leaders to help nonprofits and government agencies thrive.

“I think the India practicum was important for all the CLA fellows to be out of their comfort zone and to be in a place where we can’t possibly know the answers. It forced us to think about how we collect information, how we process our thoughts, how we form new relationships, and how we move to action. ”

How will the Civic Leadership Academy benefit you?

Provides Essential Leadership Knowledge and Skills

Taught by UChicago faculty and civic practitioners, fellows engage in a six-month interdisciplinary curriculum that exposes them to essential leadership frameworks and applications.

Builds Network of Civic Leaders

Specifically designed to strengthen connections between Chicago nonprofit and government leaders, the Civic Leadership Academy provides opportunities for its fellows to create links for future impact. Alumni programming allows fellows across cohorts to continuously expand their networks and continue learning.

Delivers Distinctive and Chicago-based Programing

In addition to courses taught by UChicago faculty, the Civic Leadership Academy curriculum includes lectures, panels and classes led by local civic leaders and expert practitioners.

Develops Perspective Through Local and Global Experimentation and Observation

Fellows hone leadership skills via a leadership capstone paper and gain valuable perspective by traveling abroad to learn how leaders in a different context overcome obstacles.

Fosters Learning and Encourages Curiosity

In addition to receiving a Certificate in Civic Leadership from the Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, each fellow’s organization receives a $2,000 credit to take an additional course at the University of Chicago Graham School.

hours of curriculum

What makes the Civic Leadership Academy distinctive?

The Civic Leadership Academy is grounded in the civic leadership development framework conceived by Chicago Booth Professor Harry Davis and Robin Hogarth.

Interdisciplinary academic curriculum

The Civic Leadership Academy brings together faculty from the University’s five professional schools and other institutions to teach with expert practitioners.

Reflection and action

Academy fellows have the opportunity to take action on their leadership skills, apply new frameworks to real world situations, and reflect on their actions with a capstone reflection paper and global practicum.

Cross-sector network

After completing the program, Civic Leadership Academy fellows become part of a network of alumni who will continue to collaborate for positive social change in Chicago.

“I think at the core I'm still the same, but the character, the mask that I put on is different and sharper and something that my supervisor said was that I've become more confident in my leadership and who I am. I think it's always been my core and that hasn't changed, but I've become more comfortable and confident with that. ”

CLA Staff

Our Funders

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
Capital One
Chicago Community Trust
Robert R. McCormick Foundation
The Field Foundation of Illinois

Find us

The Civic Leadership Academy is located at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, 1155 E. 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637.

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