Chicago Civic Leadership Certificate Program CCLCP

CCLCP boosts academic skills
by linking learning to community life


Students hone their skills by working on writing projects with community-based partner organizations. Examples include brochures, fact sheets, news releases and media kits, annual reports, issue overviews, and workshop materials. Students also learn to present their community-based research in thesis-driven, formally docu¬≠mented academic papers. Other written work may include field notes, a community or organization profile, a blog, and “cover letters” explaining and justifying an approach to writing projects.


To establish a basis for their projects, students examine primary documents, such as government records; conduct personal interviews; administer surveys; and record their own observations of a situation. Students learn not only to conduct research, but also to summarize, analyze, and synthesize their findings to forge an effective presentation.


Students learn to analyze and create persuasive, issue-oriented arguments, with particular emphasis on the dimensions of language, genre, situation, and consequences, and experiment with presenting arguments in both verbal and visual media. CCLCP’s capstone course broadens and deepens students’ understanding of the rhetorical tools used by civic leaders and change agents.


Students learn to recognize and adjust to diverse communication contexts, from the classroom to city council hearings, from press conferences to advocacy rallies.

Issues and ideas in the disciplines

In the second year of CCLCP, students explore one or more academic disciplines while working with not-for-profit organizations on community-based projects. Students learn to view and analyze community and civic issues through a particular disciplinary lens while continuing to apply and advance their writing, research, rhetoric, and communication knowledge and skills.


Students develop the understandings and skills that enable civic leaders to instigate and effectively apply fresh and creative approaches to community problem-solving and team-building. Students also have reported that participation in CCLCP helps them develop individual academic and professional goals.