The Delta Regional Authority has announced a partnership between the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement at the University of Mississippi, the Arkansas State University Delta Center for Economic Development, and the University of Louisiana at Monroe to host the Delta Leadership Institute and support leadership education in the Delta region. The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership that serves 252 counties and parishes in parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee.
The Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) consists of an Executive Academy, which provides a yearlong leadership development program for individuals from across the eight state region desiring to prepare themselves to collaborate regionally and lead change, and the Delta Leadership Network, a growing coalition of Executive Academy alumni. The McLean Institute will host sessions throughout the Delta region, beginning with a session in Oxford this November.
The Executive Academy works to empower local leaders to confront the challenges they identify in their home communities. “We are looking forward to the implementation of sustainable pathways for Delta leaders to serve as change agents for the Delta region. The opportunity to lead the Delta Leadership Institute into the future provides us with the challenge to learn from and partner with communities throughout our great Delta region,” said Dr. Albert Nylander, Director of the McLean Institute.
The Delta Leadership Institute places a strong emphasis on helping leaders understand the policy issues important to the region and encouraging them to be advocates for their home communities. “Leaders from across the Delta can be the best ambassadors for creating change in their home communities because of their on-the-ground perspective on issues like schools and job creation. Participants in the Executive Academy will learn how challenges in their communities connect across the region, and receive the tools they need to communicate that perspective with policymakers,” said Laura Martin, program coordinator for the McLean Institute. The 50 members of the Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy will travel to Washington, DC, in June 2014 to meet with members of their congressional delegation.
The Delta Regional Authority is currently accepting applications for the ninth class of the Executive Academy, who will join more than three hundred past members of the DLI as ambassadors for small businesses, public health, education, green technology, infrastructure, and other issues facing the Delta region. “These leaders will play a key role in supporting economic and community development throughout the Delta region. The DLI is an exciting opportunity for the University and the McLean Institute to engage with these communities,” said Ryan Parsons, an AmeriCorps VISTA member who works at the McLean Institute.
The University of Mississippi is joining with Arkansas State University and the University of Louisiana at Monroe to execute the Delta Leadership Institute. These three schools will work together in an innovative collaboration designed to leverage the unique expertise of each of these institutions. Dr. Nylander will serve as the DLI co-coordinator along with Alan McVey of ASU and Dr. John Sutherlin of UL-M. The McLean Institute will also consult with its partners at Delta State University, Arkansas Baptist College, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, and the University of Central Arkansas.