Executive Certificate in Local Government

Executive Certificate for Municipal Councillors and Senior Municipal Officials

Local governments across Canada are in a state of transition. Where once they had to address complicated problems such as the provision of clean water, solid waste management, leisure services and streets and sidewalks now they are confronted with complex problems such as responding to issues of public safety, economic development, the environment and even health and poverty. Addressing complicated problems requires a traditional, linear approach to problem solving which can often find a champion in a municipal department. On the other hand complex problems require a concerted and coordinated effort of all departments, governmental and non-governmental agencies and the business community. No longer are there clear black and white choices to be made. Rather the role of the successful leader will require the ability to navigate ambiguity. Moreover there is an increasing desire on the part of the citizenry to be meaningfully engaged in the governance of their communities. All of this requires a different way of defining problems and a different way for leadership to be expressed at the senior levels of local government. The underlying premise is that leadership, within a municipality, is a shared function that is best exercised when elected and appointed municipal officials have a common understanding of the strategic issues and are able and committed to working cooperatively with one another and with community stakeholders.

Who should enroll in this executive certificate?

This certificate is intended for senior municipal administrators and municipal councillors. It will be of value to chief administrative officers or the equivalent as well as those who exercise senior management functions at the departmental level, interact with council and who have completed academic or professional development programs at the post-secondary level. Consideration will be given to candidates who do not possess the normal pre-requisites but, who by virtue of experience, would otherwise qualify for admission. It will also be of value to new chief administrative officers as well as those who aspire to this position.

This certificate is also intended for municipal councillors who want to be able to develop a new way to provide leadership within their municipality. This is the first time that Dalhousie University has offered a professional development certificate that is specifically targeted to the needs of councillors and senior staff as a learning cohort.

This is a national program and as such participants will be drawn from across the Canada.

What are the learning outcomes?

The overall course outcome is to improve organizational performance. The specific learning outcomes include:

  • Knowing how local government got to be the way it is
    Having a better understanding of the challenges facing your municipality
  • Appreciating the various stakeholders and the roles that they can play in addressing complex problems
  • Knowing the importance of aligning resources with desired strategic outcomes
  • Recognizing that form and process serve function
  • Refining your appreciation of the respective roles of appointed and elected municipal officials
  • Developing a better understanding of the role of the community and the various ways in which to engage it
  • Improving organizational governance and accountability
  • Developing skills in policy formulation, analysis and execution

As well, there will be an opportunity for individualized guided learning.

How does the executive certificate work?

The executive certificate is offered entirely online. The online environment encourages debate and discussion with other students from across Canada and is not bound by time differences and geography. Without the need for travel it becomes a very cost effective method for learning. The learning platform is quite easy to navigate and a dedicated staff person is always available to make sure that you are able to fully participate.

The course will be delivered in a highly interactive manner with an abundance of facilitated online discussions, structured experiences, case studies, videos, webinars as well as readings. Everything that you need will be online. The vast majority of the course will be asynchronous which means that you will be able to participate when your schedule permits.

The course will be offered annually over a 10-12 week period beginning in 2017. The course enrollment will be strictly limited to 25 registrants to ensure a quality interactive learning experience.

What will I receive at the completion?

Students who successfully complete all the requirements of the program of study will be awarded an Executive Certificate from Dalhousie University. Successful completion means that students will need to read all assigned readings, participate in online discussions, make online postings, and prepare and submit assignments as required. Assignments will be applied in nature and will help students address real issues in their municpality. The passing grade is 60%. Those considering this program should be prepared to devote approximately six hours per week in reading, participation and assignment preparation.

Program Facilitator - Gordon McIntosh, Ph.D. & CLGM
, has received wide acclaim for providing dynamic training sessions involving civic officials and staff throughout Canada and overseas. Gordon has 36 years of executive, consultant and educator roles in local and regional government. Dr. McIntosh’s current research is focused on the situational leadership success of Chief Administrative Officers.

Fee: $2995

Please contact us for information regarding our limited number of scholarships.

Application intake dates for Spring 2019

1st Intake: January 25, 2019
2nd Intake: February 28, 2019
Final Intake: EXTENDED to March 25, 2019

Certificate Dates: April 15 - June 28, 2019

Leaflet [PDF - 52 KB]

Application Form [PDF - 312 KB]