University of Minnesota
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The Humphrey School of Public Affairs is the University of
Minnesota's school of policy and planning.

Public Safety Leadership:
New Executive Leadership courses

Public safety professionals face extraordinary challenges that require innovative thinking, an expanded capacity for community engagement and collaboration, a leadership approach that can build public trust.. Responding to these challenges, the Humphrey School has created a 6-credit executive leadership program (two 3-credit courses) for public safety leaders. These courses provide students with knowledge and skills in leadership, defining public problems and formulating solutions, and communications that prepare them for advancement to serve in chief, deputy, director, and mid- to senior-level leadership positions.

Public Safety Leadership is intended for working professionals in law enforcement, fire, emergency management, emergency health services, military, and related public safety fields. The courses were designed by highly respected leaders in those same fields. Students completing both courses can apply 6 credits towards a graduate or undergraduate degree or choose to participate as a non-degree-seeking student.

Flexibility + Convenience

The courses, held at the University's Twin Cities West-Bank campus and in area public safety department locations, start in the Fall with an intensive two-day introduction in September, followed by on-campus sessions one Thursday each month, with online work between class sessions.

Up to 20 diverse public safety leaders, from the U.S. and other countries, will comprise a close-working student cohort. Faculty and guest speakers from the public safety sector will employ active learning techniques including case studies and simulations, collaborative tasks, lectures, readings, and an individual student project in their assigned department that may incorporate deeper understanding of diverse topics such as:

  • Leadership & Ethics
  • Community Engagement
  • Collaboration
  • Cultural Understanding
  • Public Communications
  • Employee Wellness
  • Crisis Response

What You Will Gain

  • Advanced ethical skills in executive leadership through reflective practice
  • Increased confidence in delivering executive leader communications in diverse situations
  • Understanding issues across public safety fields and application of responsive methods
  • New knowledge, skills, wisdom, and motivation to formulate public safety problems, fashion effective solutions, and build necessary coalitions of support to achieve public value and advance the common good
  • A new network of colleagues from across Minnesota and the international community that has built a trusting communityof praxis

Your Peers

  • Sheriffs, Chiefs, Commanders, Directors, Deputies, and emerging leaders in public safety disciplines of law enforcement, fire, emergency management, and emergency medical
  • Administrators in city and county government
  • Military leaders in civil -- military plans and operations
  • Officials in state agencies that collaborate with public safety
  • Public servants committed to becoming more effective in their professional lives
  • Business leaders interested in collaborating with public safey disciplines

Your Professors

In addition to Humphrey School faculty, guest speakers for these courses will include well-respected leaders in various public safety professions. All have practical experience in nonprofit, private, and government organizations around the world.

Apply Now

Enrollment begins in late spring for students not currently admitted into the University of Minnesota. For more information about enrollment, contact Dr. Kevin Gerdes at 612.626.1337 or

photo of Kevin GerdesWhy study Public Safety Leadership at the Humphrey School?

"Our program is designed for the working public safety professional looking to advance his or her career with a prestigious education and without a costly out-of-state commitment."

-Kevin Gerdes



"I have attended a lot of training and education…I believe this was the best I have ever attended. Not only did I learn something, but it changed my process of thinking and problem solving.”


“This was a terrific program and I am recommending it to everyone in leadership within my organization.”


“Much respect has been earned by Dr. Kevin Gerdes and all of the other great leaders that came in to present.”


“This was a very positive experience and has been helpful to me in looking at departmental issues in a new light. I feel I can focus on them more clearly and take quicker actions to address them.”

POST logo

NEW! This program has been approved for 90 credits of continuing education for MN peace officers and part-time peace officers by the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST).

Center for Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy

Humphrey School
University of Minnesota
280 Humphrey School
301 19th Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55455