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Shape Your Community: Apply to LeadAR

by Noah Washburn - September 14, 2017

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Arkansas’ most intensive leadership development program is now accepting applications for Class 18, the first class to benefit from a redesign that incorporates an online classroom. The new class starts in February 2018.

The deadline to apply is Oct. 15, 2017. You can find the application, program guidelines, and application “help sheet” at

What is LeadAR?

LeadAR is a two-year program designed to educate emerging leaders on public issues and develop their expertise in addressing critical problems facing agriculture and rural Arkansas.

Over the course of this intensive program, you will be immersed in an array of topics including: leadership theory, effective communication, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, emerging technology, and complex social and cultural issues. These courses are designed to contribute to economic and community growth within our state.

LeadAR works on the internal aspects of leadership, such as increasing self-awareness of the emotional, intellectual and philosophical frameworks enabling a person to express his or her leadership qualities externally. Essentially, LeadAR’s approach focuses on the individual, with program efforts aimed at changing the inside to spur change to the outside – at the community and organizational level.

What have we been doing?

LeadAR recently turned 30. This milestone called for an extensive evaluation of what we should do to continue our success in the day and age of online networking and information at your fingertips.

Evaluation recommendations, interviews with other state program directors, and an extensive review of published leadership development research all led to several changes that start with participants of Class 18.

LeadAR will continue to offer face-to-face seminars, national and international study tours, and individual leadership/community service projects.

What’s new?

Class 18 participants and those who follow will benefit from the latest leadership development research, introduction of an online classroom, coaching and mentoring from LeadAR alumni, personal development assessments, and video conferencing that recognizes the busy lives of class members. 

Our selection criteria focuses on reaching a diverse group of individuals in terms of race, gender, geographic regions of the state, leadership experience, and community involvement.

How much does it cost?

Tuition is $3,000 for the two-year program (payable in installments). The actual cost of the program averages $20,000 per participant, but each class is generously supported by LeadAR alumni, corporate donors, foundations, and the UA System Division of Agriculture.

LeadAR is a program of the Community and Economic Development Unit at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service. For more information about joining Class 18, contact Noah Washburn at or go to