The Sanford School of Public Policy Executive Education and the Hart Leadership Program present a six-session intensive course: “Community Engagement and Participatory Design.”


This three-week intensive course, presented by Prof. Andrew Nurkin, Director of the Hart Leadership Program, explores the theory and practice of community engaged leadership in public service. Beginning with an assets-based framework, we will explore how to build and execute meaningful community engagement strategies for partnership development, program design, and participatory governance.

Course participants will learn from leadership faculty at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy as well as accomplished practitioners who put principles of community engagement to work every day in government, nonprofits, and social impact organizations. Class sessions will also be structured for participants to learn from each other through breakout discussions and knowledge sharing. In this course you will gain new skills, a network of potential collaborators, a theoretical grounding for your own purposeful leadership, and a plan to apply your learning

Program Dates: January 23 – February 8, 2024

Location: All classes will be held virtually using the Zoom video conference platform. Sessions will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:00 – 8:30PM (ET).

The coursework comprises six sessions of 90 minutes each, which will be delivered synchronously via Zoom. Each session will include approximately 40 minutes of engaging presentation and 40 minutes of interactive group discussion, with ten minutes of break. The sessions are as follows –

  • Introduction: The Leader’s First Act Is to Listen
  • Framework: Asset-Based Community Development
  • Case study: Building Partnerships
  • Case study: Designing Programs
  • Case Study: Participatory Governance
  • From Purpose to Practice: Your Plan for Action


While the course welcomes participants from all backgrounds, its modules are crafted to resonate with leader-practitioners in the public, nonprofit, and social impact sectors. Designed for those aspiring to integrate thoughtful community engagement and participatory decision-making into their leadership practices, the course offers a tailored and enriching learning experience for individuals passionate about making a meaningful impact in their respective fields.

If you have questions about whether this course is a fit for you, email us at

Apply for the course here!