Jennifer Talhelm 301-405-4390
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland School of Public Policy is pleased to announce the launch of an expanded partnership with the Maryland Municipal League and the Maryland Association of Counties, in which the School will assume administration of the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance and expand education and training opportunities for local government leaders statewide.
The Academy, formerly part of the UMD Institute for Governmental Service and Research, provides voluntary instruction in ethics, open-meetings laws, budgeting, and other programs to help city and county elected officials govern effectively. Participants earn a certificate of completion.
Under the new agreement, the School of Public Policy will work with MML and MACo – professional associations that represent local elected officials across the state – to expand the offerings of the Academy, broaden the subjects offered, and open the program to more participants.
"This is a very powerful collaboration in service to the citizens of Maryland that can strengthen government officials' readiness for office," said UMD president Wallace Loh. "Combining university and professional expertise this way offers a model that could be applied nationwide to assist our elected and appointed public officials. I am proud of UMD's role in this important program."
School of Public Policy dean Don Kettl said, "This partnership represents the essence of our core mission – providing the knowledge and leadership skills that inspire people to become great public servants. Moving the Academy to the School of Public Policy gives participants access to some of the nation's top experts in fields such as budgeting and management, providing critical training in issues that are central to local governance."
MML executive director Scott Hancock added, "Maryland's municipal officials recognize the potential for a national model academy by partnering with the School of Public Policy, and we look forward, with great anticipation, to both a wider array and higher quality of educational opportunities for Maryland's local government leaders."
Said MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson, "Maryland's county elected officials are eager for more educational opportunities. The School of Public Policy is well situated to help the Academy provide our county elected officials with an educational experience they can rely on when faced with everyday governing challenges. We are thrilled with this partnership."
The agreement establishes that the School of Public Policy will be the Academy's program administrator, responsible for program design and instruction as recommended by a newly created Academy Council. The Council will provide insight and feedback to the School related to strategic direction, core competencies and topics of study. In addition, a working group made up of the School, MML and MACo staff will assist with course scheduling and other needs.
The Academy will offer a series of courses for its fellows including consensus- and team-building, the basics of risk management, municipal budgeting, county financial management, and Maryland's Open Meetings and Public Information acts. It also will offer a new set "graduate courses" in areas such as advanced local and state finance, and effective and transparent governance, with additional courses to be designed. The School of Public Policy expects the Academy will make new use of the campus's state-of-the-art distance-learning capabilities while continuing to offer live classroom sessions.
"We anticipate that our shared interest in promoting high ethical standards in public service and providing the foundation needed for informed policy making will invariably take this program to new heights of success and recognition," reads the letter of agreement between the School, MML and MACo. "We firmly believe that the educational resources and expertise provided by the University of Maryland's School of Public Policy will greatly enhance the credibility of this program as well as the quality of the training provided through the Academy."
Photo (from left): UMD School of Public Policy Dean Don Kettl; UMD President Wallace Loh; Maryland Municipal League Executive Director Scott Hancock; Maryland Association of Counties Executive Director Michael Sanderson at the Maryland State Capitol.