Extracurricular programming

The Leadership Initiative hosts workshops and partners with units across campus on a variety of programs that take place outside of the classroom. Students gain insights from faculty, alumni, and each other, and have space to practice communicating with clarity and purpose.

Caroline Sweeney

Featured workshop
Being Calm & Confident when Communicating Policy Analysis
This spring, the Ford School’s Leadership Initiative tapped into in-house talent to host a series of communication workshops. Former reporter and current MPA student Caroline Sweeney (MPA ‘23) led a workshop series to help her colleagues better communicate about the impact of policy—from better storytelling to working with the media. 
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Two students, masked, talking to each other in the Betty Ford Classroom
Think on your feet

Fielding impromptu questions

Graduate students learn how to think fast, frame a response, and deliver a message with confidence. Designed similarly to Toastmasters Table Topics, participants have 3 minutes to respond to an impromptu question and then receive feedback from others. Topics can range from policy issues to things to do in Ann Arbor to the best summer vacation spot. Students can sign up on FordCareers.
Communicate with impact

Story Lab

All U-M students are invited to participate in Story Lab to develop executive-level presence and communication skills. Story Lab teaches the art and architecture of story development and delivery as a means toward positive influence and impact. Offered by the Sanger Leadership Center.
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Identify values


An immersive spring break program at Camp Michigania that helps undergraduate and graduate students from across U-M identify values to make a difference in communities. The LeaderShape Institute is a national leadership development program offered through U-M's MLead.
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Demystifying paths to leadership

Leadership dinners

Each event features a faculty guest who shares their journey in an intimate, informal setting. MPP and MPA students hear how faculty found their voice, lessons learned, people who made a difference along the way, their highs and lows, and anchors in their lives.
Learn how you can get involved


Jessica Liang (MPP/MBA ‘23) shares how she learned how to tell influential stories in M-LEAD’s Break Away Podcast.