Aligning Land Grant leadership programs with the needs of elected officials through Extension: Perceptions, priorities, and participation among Florida county commissioners
Keywords:community leadership development, leadership program evaluation, community capacity building, leadership education
Addressing complex challenges has become the norm for local elected officials, and the need for skilled leadership at the local level has never been greater. County commissioners are not only tasked with day-to-day county management but must also make crucial decisions on issues such as pandemic response, rapid population growth, and natural disasters. The purpose of our study is to assess a university-based leadership development program for county commissioners, offered in collaboration between Extension at the University of Florida and the Florida Institute for County Government. We explore attitudes toward leadership programs among Florida county commissioners, show which competencies commissioners prioritize for leadership development, and identify potential barriers to participation. We find that county commissioners believe that leadership programs improve the effectiveness of leaders and the quality of local government. Additionally, we discover that the highest priority leadership competencies are strategic planning, communication, economic trends, conflict resolution, and critical thinking. Finally, our study shows that universities that partner with county government associations to offer leadership programs can create an important avenue for rural, resource-constrained counties to build the capacity of elected officials.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Nathan Palardy, Matthew Sowcik
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