A leader among business schools, the University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business is the education partner for the IMPACT Leadership Development Program. Below, Derek R.B. Douglas, Vice President for Civic Engagement at the University of Chicago, shares with you about how the University’s partnership with the Chicago Urban League impacts the community.
Describe your role at the University of Chicago.
As Vice President for Civic Engagement, I lead the University of Chicago’s local, national, and international urban development and civic engagement efforts. My office provides a “front door” for external organizations seeking to work with the University. In addition to running our own programs and initiatives, the Office of Civic Engagement works with faculty, students, and staff across campus to support a wide range of civic projects and partnerships.
How does the university’s commitment to research, civic initiatives and promotion of volunteerism among its faculty and students work together to enhance the quality of life for Chicagoans?
The University’s model for civic engagement is built on partnerships. As an anchor institution on the South Side of Chicago, and as a center for education, research, and innovation, we partner with organizations and individuals across the city to share talents, information, and resources to have a positive impact in Chicago. Likewise, collaborations among departments within the University drive initiatives that help improve life for people in Chicago.
The University of Chicago states that it is inspired by Chicago – what is it about the mission and work of the Chicago Urban League that inspired you to partner with us?
We were inspired by the organization’s mission, the strength of its leadership, and its long-term record of success. The Chicago Urban League’s mission, especially as it relates to promoting “strong, sustainable communities through advocacy, collaboration and innovation,” aligns closely with the University’s civic engagement focus. Both of our organizations are committed to improving lives and increasing opportunities for people in Chicago, and much of the Chicago Urban League’s programming—including our current partnership on the IMPACT Leadership Development Program—focuses on education, entrepreneurship, and encouraging economic development, areas where the University has strengths.
Discuss the University of Chicago’s involvement with the Chicago Urban League’s recently launched IMPACT Leadership Development Program?
The University Of Chicago Booth School of Business is the academic home for the IMPACT Leadership Development Program. George Wu, Ph.D. led the efforts to recruit Chicago Booth faculty who lead the classroom components of the program. I serve as a mentor and a member of the steering committee, along with my colleague Sonya Malunda, who as Senior Associate Vice President for Community Engagement, leads the University’s civic engagement work in extending education to foster leadership, service, and new ideas. The University is pleased to have the opportunity to partner with the Chicago Urban League on the IMPACT Leadership Development Program because the program has the potential to strengthen organizations across the city by preparing emerging African American talent for leadership in Chicago’s civic community.