Universities Initiate Economic Development Program for Executives

Neal Wade

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Led by The University of Alabama, four universities have united to form a new economic development leadership executive education program.

Clemson University, the University of Southern Mississippi and Texas Christian University have joined UA in this national program.

The inaugural two-week class for the Advanced Economic Development Leadership program begins with one week sessions in February and August.  The February session will be held on TCU’s campus in Fort Worth.  Forty-seven mid and senior level economic development professionals were accepted for the inaugural advanced program representing organizations and governments across the United States.

“Each participant will return to their communities better prepared to create quality jobs, enhance local revenues and engage the community in active, broad-based economic development,” said Neal Wade, the leading architect of the program and director of The University of Alabama Economic Development Academy.

“The program targeted the best and brightest economic development professionals from across the country and, with this first class, we certainly achieved our objective.”

“The multi-university collaboration adds significant weight, and the curriculum demonstrates that the leadership component and deep-dive into contemporary subjects defines the experiential approach to the program,” said Nan Johnston, director and “Chief Idea Scout” at the Clemson University Center for Corporate Learning.

“The partnership is unique in that it not only brings together subject matter experts in the academic field of economic development but also practitioners that face the real–life challenges in city planning, economic diversification and leadership development,” said Jim Roach, executive director of the TCU Neeley Executive Education. “These two perspectives will provide an exceptional learning opportunity for professionals.”

“One of the best outcomes of the program will be the opportunity to interact with a world-class faculty and also learn from a diverse group of experienced participants,” said  Bill Smith, University of Southern Mississippi partner. “The interacting among classmates is as important as the experiential instruction.”

The program exceeded its original participant goal and already has a waiting list for the 2019 class.


Neal Wade, 205-348-7881, fnwade@ua.edu


Adam Jones, UA communications, 205-348-4328, adam.jones@ua.edu

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.