Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse Accepted Into Prestigious Harvard Executive Education Program

Mayor Alex B. Morse was recently accepted into a prestigious executive education program at Harvard University. The program, entitled “Senior Executives in State and Local Government,” is offered by Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. The program provides a balance of traditional and hands-on learning experiences to help seasoned public officials meet the changing needs of their constituents and communities. In particular, this program enables participants to become more effective public managers by:

  • Challenging assumptions about how to exercise leadership in the public sector.
  • Developing new conceptual frameworks for addressing policy issues.
  • Examining innovative partnerships and new models of collaborative governance.
  • Exploring the relationship between citizens and their government.
  • Understanding the behavioral dimensions of decision-making.
  • Exchanging ideas with experienced faculty and a diverse group of colleagues.
This 18-day program operates as an interactive classroom, where faculty and participants work together on real-life case studies and learn from each other. Participants will be in an environment where the classroom serves as a forum for raising difficult issues and practicing the skill of creating and maintaining a conversation that leads to change.
Key topics covered during the program will include the following:
  • Leadership - Exercising leadership without authority, and analyzing and managing dynamics that impede progress.
  • Negotiations - Moving beyond positional bargaining to build strong, resilient relationships with key partners.
  • Public/Private Partnerships - Creating new and non-traditional alliances among the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to build support for effective solutions.
  • Cooperative Governance - Developing new operational methods and governance arrangements that can increase capacity and reduce costs.
  • Behavioral Decision Making - Reducing decision biases in an organization, and designing smart accountability systems for decision-making.
Mayor Morse will begin the program on Monday June 6th. The program officially concludes on Friday June 24th. Mayor Morse will continue to fulfill all duties throughout the duration of the program. There will be no costs incurred by the City of Holyoke. The Victory Fund awarded Mayor Morse the Bohnett Fellowship to help cover the costs of the program, as did the Davis Foundation. (
Other participants in the program include mayors, city managers, police and fire chiefs, and other senior governmental officials from across the United States.
Mayor Morse has put strong emphasis on professional development for employees at all levels in city government. Other senior members of the city’s executive team have also embarked on professional development experiences recently, including Police Chief Jim Neiswanger who is currently attending the FBI training in Quantico, VA. City Clerk Brenna McGee will also attend a week-long residential training in New Hampshire in July. 
The Mayor is looking forward to interacting with and learning from other senior government executives from across the United States.
For more information on the program, visit the program’s website:

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