• Teacher Teaching a class
  • Students sitting in a circle
  • Stroup Hall
  • Students


The mission of the Center for Civic Leadership is to foster and promote the development of citizens and “citizen leaders” who will address and solve community problems. This model of leadership emphasizes collective action through collaboration for the purpose of addressing social needs and injustices. Civic leadership is a contemporary theory, which calls on the development of citizen leaders who are committed to making our world a better place. In its simplest form, civic leadership encourages us to not only be responsible for ourselves, but more importantly, to take responsibility for those around us. This approach to leadership development operates on the basic assumption that all of us have the ability to serve as leaders, and therefore, should participate in civic action for the purpose of making a difference in our communities.

While civic participation and public service provide a vital and critical role in our democratic and free society, it is the link with leadership that helps shape the decision making process and its outcomes. Beyond service, these citizens identify key issues, raise questions, voice opinions, challenge traditional authority, and take the appropriate actions when necessary. The purpose is to create a new generation of Kansans who empower themselves and have the skills and capabilities to act on behalf of the greater good.

The following principles provide the foundation for the CCL:
  • With the complex problems and challenges of the modern world, the need for leadership is greater than ever.
  • Effective leadership can make a positive contribution at all levels of society.
  • It is possible to encourage civic engagement and develop the competencies needed to foster civic leadership.
  • Leadership training and development are not for a select few, but rather all individuals who could and should benefit from leadership development activities.

The Call for Civic Leadership

The call for civic leadership is born out of the frustration that traditional approaches to problem solving have failed. More and more citizens are becoming disappointed with the inability of elected leaders and public officials to seriously address community issues and problems. Simply, traditional authority structures and leadership methods have struggled to solve the issues facing our society.

As traditional leadership has struggled, many citizens have failed to engage in community problem solving. Today, it seems that few are willing to stand up and address serious problems facing our society. Many seem uninterested in making a difference in their communities. Social indicators routinely show that as social problems increase, public activism decreases. This trend suggests that we must encourage and motivate ourselves and our fellow citizens to develop skills and commit time and energy to community activities that benefit society.

Though some citizens possess a general interest in civic action, many lack the basic knowledge and skills necessary to be successful. We are beginning to see exciting signs of genuine concern and passion for social responsibility from our newest generation of Americans, making it crucial that we tap in to this enthusiasm and provide the needed training for them to become responsible civic leaders.

Those who take part in civic leadership, particularly CCL activities, serve as architects and catalysts for change. They challenge the status quo, as well as initiate and sustain change for the common good.

There are three objectives for the Center for Civic Leadership. They are as follows:

  • Understanding Civic Leadership - Citizens will understand the process and purposes of civic leadership. The learners will be more knowledgeable regarding the role leaders and followers play in making changes for the common good.
  • Civic Leadership Skills - Citizens will be able to demonstrate and perform civic leadership skills and capabilities. This includes the ability to think critically, make decisions, solve problems, and collaborate with others.
  • Commitment to Civic Leadership - As leaders and followers, citizens will assume responsibility by actively engaging in service as agents of change for the purpose of making our community and world a better place.

When participants get involved with activities implemented be the Center for Civic Leadership, they become civic leaders. These participants will leave the programs with the following characteristics:

  • Civic-minded - Participants embody a sense of community and a commitment to civic responsibility and action.
  • Change agent - Participants promote positive community change for addressing social problems.
  • Enthusiastic and passionate - Participants embrace a deep desire and commitment to the cause and endless energy to serve as the key to transformational success.
  • Cooperative - Participants have the ability to create, support, and nurture positive interpersonal relationships and group interaction.
  • Persistent - When faced with obstacles and barriers, participants sustain change and persist even when the odds are against them.
  • Creative and innovative - Participants have the ability to find solutions, add new perspectives, and view things differently when solving complex problems.
  • Credible - Participants recognize that trust worthiness and integrity is the key to influencing and motivating others.
  • Commitment and sacrifice - Participants understand that any transformational efforts require a personal price of the change agents.
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