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.


members of the Ford School community gathered for a discussion around Ta-Nehisi Coates' essay, "The Case for Reparations."

Featured workshop (March-April '23)
Confident communication 
All students are invited to a five-session series that covers how to tailor messages, talk with the media, and share impact through stories. Designed and facilitated by a former reporter turned MPA student, these workshops are meant to be fun and informative, and give students tools and tips for their toolbox.

Email us for more information

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.