2019-2020 Civic Leadership Academy Program Descriptions


Schedule at a Glance

Schedule by Location

Presenter Bios

Volunteer Center McHenry Co. Workshops

The CLA webinars below are being brought to you at NO COST on behalf of NIU's Center for Governmental Studies and our CLA presenters. We thank our presenters for donating their time and talent to help us bring this opportunity to you.

CLA Webinar Registration Form

What Does Environmentally Friendly Engineering Really Mean?
May 12, 2020, 1-5 p.m.,
Webinar-based instruction

Presented by Logan Gilbertsen, PE, CF., Lead Engineer, Water Resources at HR Green, Inc.; Ravi Jayaraman, PE, ENV SP, Associate/Senior Project Manager at HR Green, Inc.; and Sean LaDieu, PE, Senior Project Manager at HR Green, Inc.

Description: Environmental friendly engineering is the design, and use of processes and products in a way that minimizes pollution, promotes sustainability, and protects environmental health without sacrificing economic practicality and efficiency. Attendees of this session will learn about contemporary engineering designs and practices that help to protect the environment while completing needed infrastructure improvements. The presenters will show how to incorporate environmental best practices and green infrastructure in public improvements such as storm water management, water and wastewater, highways and building design projects. Participants will learn how to incorporate "environmentally friendly" policies while delivering needed services to their customers.

Strategic Choices and I.T. Leadership: Where Are You Going and Who is Going to Lead?
May 21, 2020, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.,
Webinar-based instruction

Presented by Sam Ferguson, MS, retired Municipal Director of Information Technology, Village of Schaumburg, Interim CIO for the City of Joliet; and Marc Thorson, MBA, Executive Director of Regional Technology Services, Division of Information Technology (DoIT), Northern Illinois University.

Description: Bits, bytes, gigabytes, network integrity and the cloud. What does it all mean? This workshop provides leaders with a good foundation to better understand the whirlwind of demands that information technology presents for every organization. Wi-fi, hi-fi or sci-fi? The workshop will present an up-to-date view on technology that every leader should know in order to survive in our digitally-driven environment. The government is not immune to the advances of technology. Participants will learn how and why technology matters and what is being embraced out there as "state of the art." Participants will also learn about organizational decision-making approaches they can use to critically assess the cost-benefit and viability of new technologies. These new models will enable leaders to better manage competing demands as well as coordinate the integration of technological changes into old or new organizational arrangements.

New Civics and the Impact of Globalization
June 2, 2020, 1-5 p.m.,
Webinar-based instruction

This is one of two core workshops required to earn a CLA ‘Certificate of Achievement'

Presented by Greg Kuhn, PhD, Interim Director, and Jeanna Ballard, MPA, Senior Research Specialist, Center for Governmental Studies, Northern Illinois University.

Description: The purpose of the workshop is to explore the impact of globalization in our communities and region. Participants will be able to understand the demographic, development, and economic factors that will determine the competitive advantage of local places in an increasingly global world. Vertical and horizontal global networks and current trends affecting our region will be reviewed, including the region's role in the global economy. Discuss strategies in coping with the challenges and maximizing the opportunities of increased competition and interconnectivity in the global economy that impact communities, local government, the region, and state.

Retaining Small Businesses Through Community Supported Enterprises
June 4, 2020, 9-11 a.m.,
Webinar-based instruction

Presented by Norman Walzer, PhD, Senior Research Scholar, Center for Governmental Studies, Northern Illinois University.

Description: Pending population declines and increases in elderly residents with limited mobility mean that many small communities, especially in rural areas, will face more retirements by aging owners of long-standing businesses considered essential to local quality of life. If these businesses are not retained in some way, the community will have increased outmigration further aggravating local conditions. Community leaders and residents are looking to new methods to finance these businesses with residents investing small amounts of funds to purchase a building or business, reopen it, and hire a manager to run the business profitably. Residents volunteer time in business activities, in some cases, supply some of the merchandise. These ventures are organized as cooperatives, nonprofits, or limited liability corporations. The businesses can compete due to low financing costs and volunteer help. Residents involved with the business are active in the community, reducing loneliness and isolation plus build social capital in the community, and improve the overall quality of life.  These types of ventures have already succeeded in many states and rural England. In some cases, churches with dwindling populations have also found that adding part-time compatible commercial activities provides supplemental funds to maintain church buildings which often are local landmarks. This session will acquaint participants with successful practices.

Alternative Service Delivery: What's New? What Works? What Doesn't Work So Well?
June 9, 2020, 1-5 p.m.,
Webinar-based instruction

Presented by Tim Hartnett, Vice President/Practice Leader - Governmental Services, HR Green, Inc.; Jim Halverson, AICP, Vice President & Principal, at HR Green, Inc., and Russ Loebe, ICMA-CM, Vice President of Governmental Services, HR Green, Inc.

Description: Simply stated, Alternative Service Delivery is providing services without your own employees doing the work. It encompasses shared services, contract services and shared contracts. A 2017 Survey conducted by the International City Management Association (ICMA) found that 77% of local governments use intergovernmental contracting and 80% of local governments use the private sector in delivering some form of services to their citizens. The vast majority of communities surveyed cited attempts to decrease costs as the primary reason in considering Alternative Service Delivery options. This presentation will address what's new, what works and what doesn't. Through examples of real-world Alternative Service Delivery programs, the presenters will walk through the various steps in consideration of ASD including policy development, internal assessments, labor issues, finances and quality assurance. Several examples of actual local government ASD programs will be explored. 

Executive Director 101 - Nuts & Bolts
June 15, 2020, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Webinar-based instruction

Presented by Alicia Schatteman, PhD, Acting Director for Center for Nonprofit and NGO Studies and Associate Professor, Northern Illinois University.

Description: This workshop will cover the basics of running a nonprofit organization from mission to roles of the Executive Director, board, staff and volunteers, to best practices in nonprofit strategic leadership and management. In this interactive session, the presenter will lead you in an exploration of "best practices" and case studies in the Nonprofit Executive Director's role and expectations of performance by key stakeholders. Whether you have been promoted internally to the top staff position or you are switching sectors to manage your first nonprofit, this is the workshop for you. For practiced professionals, this workshop is a great way to refresh and update your skills in compliance with current best practices. 

Performance Measures & Organizational Change
June 18, 2020,
9 a.m.-1 p.m., Webinar-based instruction

Presented by Alicia Schatteman, PhD, Acting Director for Center for Nonprofit and NGO Studies and Associate Professor, Northern Illinois University.

Description: Many public and non-profit organizations collect data about the performance of their programs and services but do not make use of that data to change the management of their programs and services. This workshop challenges participants to make the shift from performance measure data collection to performance management. The workshop will explain how performance measures can be used to engage in organizational learning and change. Participants will engage in scenarios to practice employee engagement, benchmarking, and advocacy for program needs. 

NEW This Year! Smart Cities and Data Maturity: The importance of data collection, use, and connectivity for Economic, Business, and Government Success
June 24, 2020, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.,
Webinar-based instruction

Presented by Marc Thorson, MBA, Executive Director of Regional Technology Services, Division of Information Technology (DoIT), Northern Illinois University.

Description: Many organizations look to be "Smart", but what does that mean? This course will work through what makes an organization Smart, the components needed to become smarter, and what the future holds for the public sector. The discussions will delve into the gauging the technological maturity of an organization, the role that data plays in becoming smarter, breaking down what big data is and how to use it, the criticality of connectivity, and artificial intelligence including machine learning. The course topics are critical to understanding the future of government and how the commoditization of these technologies will put power in the hands of communities of any size.


For additional information about the Civic Leadership Academy, please contact:



Earn a CLA Certificate of Achievement

Certificate of Achievement Recipients




Giving DuPage: Together making a difference

Center for Non-Government Organization Leadership and Development

Continuing Professional Education

Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence

Volunteer Center McHenry County