Support us

Civic Leadership Academy Wins Top Prize in Voinovich Public Innovation Challenge at NASPAA 2022

Published: Dec 14 2022


$10,000 Award for Re-Imagining Executive Education in Chicago Will Support CLA in 2023

CHICAGO, IL — The Civic Leadership Academy (CLA), the University of Chicago Center for Effective Government’s flagship leadership development and training program housed at the Harris School of Public Policy, was awarded the top prize in the sixth annual George V. Voinovich Public Innovation Challenge last month. 

The challenge, co-sponsored by the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service at Ohio University and the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA), invited all NASPAA member institutions to pitch their programs and strategies that demonstrate innovative approaches to applied learning or executive education. Now in its sixth year, the challenge brought 17 applicants, which were narrowed down to four finalists—including Center for Effective Government Executive Director Sadia Sindhu—who pitched their ideas during NASPAA’s 2022 annual conference in Chicago. In placing first, the Civic Leadership Academy secured a $10,000 prize to support its work.

Sindhu’s proposal highlighted the Civic Leadership Academy program and its impact, focusing on CLA’s distinctive interdisciplinary curriculum, bridge-building capacity, and deep investments in the city’s civic infrastructure to address leadership gaps in the civic sector.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Voinovich Public Innovation Challenge for recognizing CLA and the innovative work happening at the Center for Effective Government, as we strive to have critical conversations across difference on a host of issues facing Chicago,” said Sindhu. “This award serves as a vote of confidence in the network of CLA fellows and alumni working every day on behalf of deeper institutional reform in Chicago—and as an important investment in the future of the program.”

In addition to Sindhu, other finalists in this year’s Challenge include Judith Kelley, dean of Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, who earned second place; and Jennifer Niggemeier, associate director of the Ford School of Public Policy’s Leadership Initiative at the University of Michigan, who placed third.

“The work of the Civic Leadership Academy and the Center for Effective Government reflects Harris’ steadfast commitment to evidence-based policy and to investing in emerging leaders in our community dedicated to having real impact,” said Katherine Baicker, dean and the Emmett Dedmon Professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. “We are immensely proud of our community of CLA fellows, and we thank the Voinovich School and NASPAA for supporting CLA and recognizing its important efforts.”

The Center for Effective Government will announce the ninth Civic Leadership Academy cohort of 30 non-profit and government leaders from Chicago and Cook County in mid-January 2023. 

About the Civic Leadership Academy

Launched in 2014 by the University of Chicago Office for Civic Engagement and Harris School of Public Policy, the Civic Leadership Academy (CLA) is an annual interdisciplinary leadership development program for emerging and high-potential leaders in non-profit organizations and local government agencies across Chicago and Cook County. CLA fellows engage in six months of programming and instruction with renowned faculty from across the University’s professional schools, including the Booth School of Business, the Graham School of Continuing and Professional Studies, UChicago Law School, and the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. CLA is designed to challenge fellows to analyze organizational best practices, community impact, and institutional reform in the city of Chicago and beyond while developing a diverse pipeline of talented leaders to help Chicago nonprofits and government agencies—institutions and organizations critical to the city’s civic infrastructure—thrive. Since 2019, CLA has been administered by the Center for Effective Government.

About the Center for Effective Government

The University of Chicago Center for Effective Government was founded in 2019 to help solve the problems of government ineffectiveness with a multi-faceted theory of action. The Center organizes its work and activities, and builds bridges between its stakeholders—scholars, students, practitioners, leaders, journalists, and advocates—around three key areas: ideas, education, and engagement. Through robust, innovative programming, the Center works to strengthen institutions of democracy and improve government’s capacity to solve public problems.

About the Harris School of Public Policy

For more than three decades, the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy has been steadfastly committed to advancing policy based on evidence, not ideology. Guided by this exacting perspective, our exceptional community of scholars, students, and more than 4,000 alumni take on the world’s most important problems using the latest tools of social science. As the second-largest professional school at the University of Chicago, Harris Public Policy offers a full range of degree and executive education programs to empower a new generation of data-driven leaders to create a real social impact throughout our global society. This is Harris Public Policy: Social Impact, Down to a Science.