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In a complex world with a myriad of significant public challenges, only the most innovative and thoughtful solutions take hold. Elected officials, government administrators, policy specialists, entrepreneurs and other leaders in the non-profit and for-profit sectors are increasingly turning to Harvard Kennedy School’s (HKS) Executive Education (EE) programs to help them gain a better understanding of the problems they face, the solutions they can harness and the networks they can leverage in the years ahead.
The Kennedy School offers the most comprehensive range of executive programs to meet the specific public service training and professional development needs anywhere in the world. HKS Executive Education provides instruction — lasting ten days or less — to more than 3,000 students from 150 countries each year on subjects as diverse as economic development, homeland security, NGO management, and regulatory and enforcement policy.
These programs — offered both on-campus and online — provide a unique and rewarding opportunity for participants to be immersed in a collaborative, creative, and inspiring environment led by renowned Harvard faculty and leading practitioners
“Executive Education is one of the most distinctive things about the Kennedy School — something that really sets us apart from other public policy schools,” says Peter Zimmerman MPP 1977, senior associate dean for program development.
The premise of Executive Education — providing short programs to people in leadership posts who have time for only brief leaves of absence — aligns well with the mission of the Kennedy School — to train exceptional public leaders and generate the ideas that provide solutions to our most challenging public problems. Executive Education programs make extensive use of the case study method, enabling participants to explore new analytical frameworks and the latest research within a context of real-world executive decision making.
The school’s first Executive Education program launched in 1976, and the EE portfolio has continued to grow at a rate of approximately two new programs each year.
Christine Letts, senior associate dean from 2005 until 2011, says, “We add programs based on the changing demands we see in the market. For example, we now offer several skills-based programs, like Mastering Negotiation and Leadership Decision-Making.”
In addition to the programs themselves, many participants have found the peer-networking and relationships formed during the programs to be invaluable.
“The people I met during the Executive Education program have become a real support system. We make each other better. It was an energizing experience that I still draw from regularly in my work,” says Mary C. Selecky, secretary of health, Washington State Department of Health.
"The faculty and guest speakers pushed us to think broadly about issues we typically do not have time to consider in our everyday work environments," says C. Robert Kehler, U.S. Air Force general (retired).
Debra Iles took the helm as associate dean for executive education in July of 2011, planning to build on the strong foundation that exists.
“The need for programs like this is greater today than ever before,” she says. “There’s more demand for good government because more countries are moving from authoritarian regimes to democracies.”
Today HKS Executive Education offers more than 30 open-enrollment programs throughout the year. In order to expand access even further, the Kennedy School also has a suite of online programs targeted to nonprofit organizations worldwide. These programs use blended technologies to create online communities of learning, with intensive support from faculty members.
The 2014 Executive Education program schedule is available online.
Julie Boatright Wilson, Harry S. Kahn Senior Lecturer in Social Policy, co-teaching the EE Program, “Driving Government Performance,” with Robert Behn, lecturer in public policy.
Photo Courtesy: Executive Education
“There’s more demand for good government because more countries are moving from authoritarian regimes to democracies,” says Debra Iles, associate dean for Executive Education.
Robert Behn, lecturer in public policy