NLC University expands the capacity of municipal officials to serve as ethical, effective and engaged leaders by offering leadership development, providing proven strategies, and fostering innovation.
As part of NLC’s mission to create stronger communities, the Leadership Training Institute (LTI) was established over 20 years ago in order to provide local officials with opportunities to develop the vital skills and abilities needed to facilitate good government and positive change within their communities. Guided by a Leadership Training Council, LTI programs included seminars at NLC’s two annual conferences, a stand-alone Annual Leadership Summit, and sessions targeted to a particular region, constituency group, or state municipal league.
Nearly 2,000 mayors, council members, and local leaders participated annually in more than 30 different LTI leadership seminars and programs designed to explore the nature and practice of local governmental leadership.
The LTI program acknowledged participants’ professional development through a Certificate of Achievement in Leadership program, which encouraged well-rounded skill development in key areas, labeled catalyst (innovation and change management), collaborator (partnership, inspiration and empowerment), communicator (interpersonal skills, communication and media relations), competent practitioner (technical skills and knowledge specific to local government), and cornerstone (developing and enhancing personal leadership qualities). At higher levels of the program, participants served as mentors to other local leaders.
In 2013, NLC President Marie Lopez Rogers appointed an Education and Training Redesign Task Force to assess the strengths of NLC’s leadership training program and opportunities to expand and improve this capacity. This 22-person Task Force laid out a new vision for education and training, which was approved by the Board of Directors in June 2013. This vision has guided the development of the new NLC University.
Building on the strong foundation of in-person training seminars offered by the LTI program, NLC University expands NLC’s offerings to add online training formats and provide greater clarity and choice about the depth and intensity of learning opportunities.
Drawing on NLC’s expertise on many of the most pressing issues facing municipal officials today, the University serves as a single point of entry for the diverse learning opportunities offered throughout the organization. NLC University also leverages the expertise of state municipal leagues, corporate and nonprofit partners, and academic institutions to bring the best training available to NLC members.
The University continues to recognize participants’ achievements, with an expanded set of recognition levels.
NLC University benefits from the guidance and advocacy of two leadership groups:
This small group of advisors provides strategic advice on key priorities and opportunities for NLC University. In addition, this Board of Advisors helps NLC cultivate new strategic partnerships, connect with new audiences, develop new content, and engage with members in new formats.
Up to 40 champions of education and training for municipal leaders are selected each year as Leadership Fellows. These Fellows promote NLC University offerings; cultivate leaders within the organization; strengthen peer networking and support among leaders committed to professional development and lifelong learning; increase connections to state municipal league educational programming; field-test new educational platforms or learning models; and provide feedback on the overall program.