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.

“CLA gave me the [leadership] tools, experiences and relationships that convinced me that I have the potential to impact the culture around me.  ”

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 found myself leaning on [Betsy] for personal advice on how to deal with HR issues and restructuring here at the office. I had complete confidence and trust in being able to share where I'm vulnerable and to get advice on how to proceed. ”

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 1307 E. 60th Street Chicago, IL 60637.

Get in touch

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