Skip to main content

ALC Ambassadors’ Summer Series Builds Connections Amidst Uncertainty

The Advanced Leadership Corps (ALC) Ambassadors is a group of over 120 experienced local elected leaders from across North Carolina who have completed CPLG’s week-long Advanced Leadership Corps residential program.

Cloud of words generated by discussion responses from ALC program participants
Word-cloud generated by ALC Ambassadors when discussing how they felt following the ALC Summer Series.

In April of 2020, CPLG instituted a series of virtual check-in calls with ALC Ambassadors during phase one of North Carolina’s COVID-19 response efforts.

Held at regular intervals, these calls offered the participants an opportunity to share their challenges, discuss the disparate health and economic conditions in their communities, and learn helpful strategies from peers and School faculty. Themes for monthly discussions included:

  • April: Identifying leadership challenges and strategies for community support.
  • May: Recognizing and coping with the pressure and extreme gravity of making decisions that affected their residents’ lives.
  • June: Understanding the long-term demands of crisis leadership, awareness of extended levels of high stress, and dealing with residents in divided and volatile communities.

The concerns shared in these sessions helped CPLG pivot its elected official training and support to areas of highest need: divided communities, food insecurities, citizen fear and anger, racial tensions, and small business collapse as elected leaders lead through 2021.

“So grateful for this group and this resource.  I’m encouraged by each of you and your commitment to doing good.” 

~ALC summer series participant 

Peg Carlson on Focus Carolina

Center for Public Leadership and Governance (CPLG) Director Peg Carlson was interviewed on Focus Carolina an exclusive program on 97.9 The Hill WCHL, sponsored by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Visit the stations’s webpage to hear the full interview. 

Prudential Invests in Training Locally Elected Leaders throughout North Carolina

rudential Invests in Training Locally Elected Leaders throughout North Carolina
In October 2018, the School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received a gift of $115,000 from Prudential Financial, Inc., to continue its support of the School’s work assisting North Carolina local elected officials as they lead and govern their communities.

“At Prudential, we believe that investing in leadership training for local elected officials is an investment in the communities they serve,” said Michael J. McCann, vice president at Prudential.

The longstanding partnership between Prudential and the UNC School of Government strengthens local leadership in communities throughout North Carolina. Since 2008, Prudential’s investment of more than $650,000 in the School’s Local Elected Leaders Academy (LELA), housed in the Center for Public Leadership and Governance (CPLG), has made it possible for local elected officials to learn practical leadership skills and strategies that help them lead change and innovation in their communities.

School of Government Dean Mike Smith said, “We are grateful for Prudential’s consistent support of our programs and their belief in effective and strategic leadership among local elected officials.”

Prudential funding will allow elected and appointed officials from across North Carolina to attend a range of leadership programs, including Essentials of County Government as well as one-day public leadership courses and events. These programs help participants amplify existing skills and teach new skills, allowing participants to put new leadership tactics into immediate practice in their local communities.

This contribution will also support scholarships for CPLG’s Advanced Leadership Corps (ALC) program, which was created in 2013 as a result of initial funding from Prudential. ALC is a weeklong leadership program for county and municipal officials that focuses on personal leadership, working effectively with others, and having a positive impact beyond one’s own city and county. Additionally, Prudential’s investment supports the ALC Ambassador Program, where ALC graduates are invited to continue their learning through intensive continued leadership development.

To learn more about the Local Elected Leaders Academy, visit the Center for Public Leadership and Governance’s website.

DeHart-Davis and Nelson Advise on Advancing Women in the Local Government Profession

School faculty members Leisha DeHart-Davis and Kimberly Nelson are advising on the advancement of women in the local government profession. They will be featured speakers in an International City/County Management Association (ICMA) University Online Classroom webinar entitled “Interest, Confidence, Risk, Reward: Getting More Women Into Local Government Management Positions” scheduled for March 26 2019.

DeHart-Davis and Nelson, among other speakers, will discuss the current state of women entering into local government management and the amount of progress that has been made in recent years. Presenters from ICMA, the League of Women in Government, and the Michigan Municipal League will report on new research data, introduce new professional development models, and provide a range of barrier-breaking ideas and opportunities for women working in local government.

ICMA has funded a UNC School of Government research project entitled Near the Top: Understanding Gender Imbalance in Local Government Management and DeHart-Davis and Nelson will discuss the project during the webinar. The project has sought to understand and address the factors contributing to racial and gender underrepresentation in local government management.  Researchers from six universities (UNC-Chapel Hill included) have conducted interviews, resume analysis, and a survey of local government managers and assistant managers across the country. ELGL and the League of Women in Government are also assisting with project research.

The webinar is free for ICMA members and others can purchase the webinar online at ICMA’s website.

Patrice Roesler Inducted into NCACC Hall of Fame

In August 2018, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners honored School of Government staff member Patrice Roesler with the Hall of Fame award. Roesler serves as manager of elected official programming for the School’s Center for Public Leadership and Governance after an esteemed 42-year career at the Association. Roesler received the award during the Association’s annual conference.

In her roles at the Association and at the School of Government, Roesler has helped coordinate and support the Local Elected Leaders Academy, which comprises courses and programming to train both municipal and county elected officials in all stages of their careers.

Before coming to the School of Government, Roesler served as deputy director at the Association—where she was responsible for strategic planning processes and developing education and training programs. She spent the previous 28 years as a legislative representative for the Association, specializing in issues related to mental health, criminal justice, social services, public health, and community and economic development.

The NCACC Hall of Fame Award is given to individuals for their longstanding commitment and exceptional service to counties. The NCACC provides expertise to counties in the areas of advocacy, research, risk management, and education and leadership training.

For more information about the Association, visit

Faculty Member Carl Stenberg Advises Federal Task Force on Intergovernmental Relations

Faculty member Carl Stenberg testified before a congressional task force on intergovernmental relations on May 17, 2018. The Speaker’s Task Force on Intergovernmental Affairs was created in May 2017 by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to examine ways to restore the balance of power between the federal government and states, tribes, and local governments.

Stenberg is an expert on intergovernmental affairs, among other areas of public administration, and served as a staff member on the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (ACIR) for 16 years.

Stenberg is advising the Task Force on whether or not to reinstate U.S. ACIR and offered his “pracademic” opinion, including concerns around the absence of such institutions. He explores these themes in his new book, Intergovernmental Relations in Transition: Reflections and Directions. Laid out as a series of essays by scholars, thought leaders, and practitioners, this book assesses how a myriad of issues—ranging from health care to climate change to food safety—have markedly altered intergovernmental relations. In addition, contributors explore how these issues will shape the direction of the field moving forward.

This book is useful for students of intergovernmental relations as well as government officials involved in forming public policy. Stenberg edited the book alongside David K. Hamilton, retired professor at Texas Tech University. Intergovernmental Relations in Transition: Reflections and Directions is available for purchase through Routledge Publishing.

Stenberg joined the School of Government in 2003. He served as director of the MPA program at the School of Government from 2006 to 2011, and is a James E. Holshouser Jr. Distinguished Professor of Public Administration and Government. He teaches local government courses to public officials and Master of Public Administration students. Stenberg holds a BA from Allegheny College and an MPA and a PhD from the State University of New York at Albany.

Faculty Member Willow Jacobson Publishes Article on HR Policy Development

Faculty member Willow S. Jacobson analyzes the development of internal human resources policies in her latest publication, The Development of County HR Policies: The Perspectives of Counties in Two States. Alongside Kristina Lambright of Binghamton University, Jacobson conducted interviews with 40 county HR directors from New York and North Carolina.

In their findings, Jacobson and Lambright present the HR tactics found to be most and least popular among their interviewees in shaping the direction of office policymaking. The release of this publication helps provide much needed insight into how government HR professionals deploy strategies to develop internal HR policies for their workforces. The Development of County HR Policies: The Perspectives of Counties in Two States is available for download through SAGE Publications.

Jacobson joined the School of Government faculty in 2003. She teaches in the Master of Public Administration program and directs the LGFCU Fellows program, which she helped found in 2011. She also was an integral player in establishing the 2005 inaugural session of the Public Executive Leadership Academy. Her research interests include leadership, organizational theory and behavior, and Strategical Human Capital Management. Much of this research has been featured in Public Administration Review and Public Personnel Management. Jacobson earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Management from the University of Oregon and aPhD in Public Administration from Syracuse University.

Development Ten Local Government Teams Selected for Opioid Crisis Support from Blue Cross NC and the UNC School of Government

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) and the UNC School of Government announce the selection of 10 North Carolina local government teams who will work to address the opioid crisis in their communities through an intensive two-year program.Each team, or “community,” comprises at least one North Carolina county and represents multiple departments, jurisdictions, and organizations addressing challenges posed by the opioid epidemic. The 10 selected teams are:

  • Beaufort, Hyde, Martin, Tyrell and Washington Counties, Office of the District Attorney and Chief District Court Judge in the N.C. Second Judicial District, and human services and law enforcement agencies from all five counties;
  • Cabarrus County, including the City of Concord and the City of Kannapolis;
  • Cumberland County and the City of Fayetteville;
  • Durham County;
  • Forsyth County, including the City of Winston-Salem and the Town of Kernersville;
  • Greene, Lenoir, and Wayne Counties, including the N.C. Eighth Judicial District;
  • Mecklenburg County;
  • Onslow County, including the City of Jacksonville;
  • Transylvania County; and
  • Wilkes County, including the Town of Wilkesboro.

The School of Government and Blue Cross NC will provide the following to each participating community: five regional forums at which teams will form goals, set plans for implementation, collaborate across fields and jurisdictions, and learn from experts on opioid-related issues; School of Government support throughout the process; $10,000 to assist with the costs of hiring a community project manager; and $10,000 in implementation funding for the project.

“At Blue Cross NC, we know that the opioid epidemic is damaging our communities and hurting people and families across the state, and we’re eager to address a major crisis of our lifetime through preventive health care and cross-sector collaboration.  We must turn the tide against opioids in our communities.” said Patrick Conway, president and CEO of Blue Cross NC.

This project, coordinated by the School of Government’s ncIMPACT initiative, will complement health and policy efforts at the state and local levels by working with communities that are ready to implement best practices. Local governments are the front lines of policy implementation, and the School assists them through training, advising, and research. “These teams seem extremely committed and well-positioned to address this difficult issue. We’re grateful that Blue Cross NC has enabled all of us to learn from each other,” said Mike Smith, dean of the UNC School of Government.

Thirty-nine teams applied for the program. Selection criteria included regional, economic, and demographic diversity; severity of opioid-related issues in the applicant communities; and adequate team structure. Those not selected will still have access to content and reports from the program, and the final forum will be open to all communities who want to participate.A public website will be updated with resources, including a free guide based on lessons learned and other assets collected over the two-year program.Visit for more information on the program.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina improves the health and well-being of our customers and communities through innovative health care products, insurance, services and information to more than 3.8 million members, including approximately 1 million served on behalf of other Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield plans. Since 1933, we have worked to make North Carolina a better place to live through our support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross NC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross NC online at All other marks are the property of their respective owners. For more information, contact Melissa Biediger, Blue Cross NC,, or Sonja Matanovic, UNC School of Government,