The program seminars are held in communities all over Arkansas, which are conducted by political and business leaders, state and federal agency personnel, university staff, and others.
Prior to each seminar, homework is assigned to focus on learning about current issues at the participants' local level related to the upcoming seminar topic (education, agriculture, economic development, etc.). Often times these assignments consist of face-to-face interviews of city and county resource persons to get a local perspective of the issues to be discussed. Results of the interviews are discussed at each seminar in an open session with the program director.
Lastly, each participant is required to set a community service goal or project during their tenure in the program.
National Study Tour (NST)
Each class participates in a study tour to another state and Washington, D.C. to learn about issues beyond our borders and those affecting our nation.
The visit to another state are home stays with graduates of another leadership program, which are arranged by the LeadAR director with the host state's program director.
The purpose of the portion of the trip to Washington, D.C. is to learn how policies are made and how the various agencies participating develop that policy at the federal level. Classes meet with Arkansas' congressional delegation and various federal agency personnel to discuss current national issues and identify sources of grants and programs that can benefit the state. The class will also visit various historical sites around the national capital.
International Study Tours (IST)
The International Study Tour is meant to be a microcosm of the entire LeadAR seminar curriculum. The goal of the international tour is to learn Arkansas' relationship to other countries and as much as possible about the culture of the country(ies) visited. This tour includes sessions on government, agriculture, environment, education, community and economic development, and media.
The basic objective of the IST is to show each class that people in other countries may be different in their culture, but are much like people in Arkansas in many ways.
Arkansas Needs Leaders
We are recruiting people who have a passion to serve Arkansas and their communities to deal with the critical problems facing our state. Many social and economic problems face Arkansas communities, especially in rural areas. To help resolve these problems, citizens must show initiative, responsibility, and good decision-making. Our state needs more visionary, pragmatic leaders bound by public needs to serve their neighbors.
Arkansas is no longer isolated -- its boundaries now extend around the world as national and international forces profoundly affect life in our state. Arkansas is increasingly influenced by decisions made in Washington, D.C., on farm programs or environmental protection; in New York corporate headquarters on employment in Arkansas manufacturing or industrial plants; or in Bejing, New Dehli, London, or Tokyo on international trade and finance.
LeadAR develops leaders who have this wide-angle perspective and are equipped with a vision with both a close focus and a wide-angle perspective is in more touch with the changing world. These leaders are not pipe-dream visionaries, but leaders whose knowledgeable perspectives can solve problems and save money in the long run. We believe that these dedicated, passionate leaders can increase their knowledge of resources and improve their leadership skills by participating in LeadAR.
The original advisory council included, as it does today, farmers, university educators, Extension faculty, business people and representatives of state agencies, industries and non-profit organizations. They planned LeadAR with four guiding principles in mind:
- To avoid seeking public funding.
- The LeadAR program would be broadly represented with farmers as well as community leaders from "all kinds of occupations".
- The curriculum would be evenly divided between current issues and process and skills training.
- Participants would be chosen from a wide range of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.
The LeadAR Advisory Council is appointed by and serves at the will of the Associate Vice President for Agriculture – Extension. Council members are selected from rural and agricultural leaders, corporate sponsors, University faculty and LeadAR alumni ranks. The purpose of the Council is to support and advise the Associate Vice President for Agriculture-Extension and the LeadAR Program Director about the LeadAR Program. Council members look for opportunities to strengthen, develop, coordinate, and extend adult leadership education through LeadAR program participants' roles in communities, counties, and the State of Arkansas.
The Council consists of 15 members who serve three-year terms, on a rotation schedule. Terms are staggered, and re-appointment is allowed. Officers of the Advisory Council include a Chair, a Vice Chair and Committee Chairs. The Council Chair and Vice Chair are elected by the Council Members and serve two year terms. The LeadAR Program Coordinator serves as Secretary to the Council.
The Council meets two times per year in May and November with dates set by the Members. At these meetings the Council reviews program finances, new sources of program funding, potential curriculum changes, recent seminars and study tour agendas, participant success stories and any problems that arise in the class in participation or behavior.
There are four standing committees: Finance, Curriculum, Selection, and Ethics. Chairs of these committees are appointed by the Council Chair.
LeadAR prepared me for community service and connected me to some of the best resources available. People from both large and small communities gave me fresh ideas and a more complete perspective than my own view of things.
Regional Operations Manager, Holt Agribusiness
Class 3 – Jonesboro
The LeadAR experience was the "change" that allowed me to stretch and discover horizons that I would not have otherwise considered. As a result, I grew personally and professionally and am now a champion for improving the status quo.
Regional Manager, Entergy
Class 8 - Pine Bluff
If you want to be a part of a dynamic program that will affect and influence your life beyond the two-year commitment become a LeadAR class member. If you want a program that will help you make contacts and friends throughout the state of Arkansas and beyond, become a LeadAR class member. If you feel you need and want to make a difference in your community and state, then become a LeadAR class member. LeadAR changed my life, and I know it will change yours.
Rose Mary Jackson
Director of Community Relations
Arkansas State University-Beebe
Class 8 – Searcy
My LeadAR experience was the pivotal point in my personal and professional life. Through friendships, networking, knowledge, and experiences gained during my two-year commitment, I developed the confidence and skills to step outside the box. I now have a very challenging and rewarding career that touches communities throughout the state of Arkansas.
Director Community Development
Arkansas Economic Development Commission
Class 9- Maumelle
LeadAR is an amazing opportunity to meet people from around the state and form professional bonds and friendships. My classmates have been resources that have made a huge impact on my job performance over the last few years. Without the LeadAR experience, I can honestly say there are a number of projects for my community that wouldn't hav
Newport Economic Development Commission
Class 10 – Newport
With LeadAR’s valuable leadership training along with the national and international experience, I came away from the program with a greater understanding of challenges we face: but more importantly, confidence and resources to overcome those challenges.
Director, Delta Center for Economic Development
Arkansas State University
Class 4 – Jonesboro
There seems to be a direct correlation between ignorance and living a selfish, isolated life. LeadAR immerses it's participants in travel and interaction, not only with classmates, but people who are in positions to make a real difference in this world. LeadAR allowed me to walk a mile in a lot of other people's shoes, giving me insight and perspective on a wide spectrum of subjects. Subjects that matter, the ones which shape the communities, state and nation in which we live.
Jackie C. Prince
Rice and soybean farmer