Program Philosophy & Expectations


Participants must bring an open mind, a commitment to community service, and a willingness to listen to and seek to understand other perspectives. Participants are asked to contribute to discussions as well as give others an opportunity to contribute. The LA Program is a unique experience; many graduates emphasize that “you get out of it what you put into it.” Participants should be ready to engage fully, build trust with classmates, and embrace new experiences/perspectives.

Equity & Inclusion

We recognize the value to learning and growth that comes with a diverse and inclusive class. We strive to increase the diversity of participants including: race, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, religion, work experience and gender. Our goal is to create classes that are representative of the diversity in our community, and to co-create with each class an environment that is equitable, respectful and appreciative of difference.



Attendance Policy

Participants are expected to attend every program day. The commitment of each class member is critical to the success of the program. Attendance is mandatory for orientation and the opening overnight retreat. There are also attendance requirements for the remaining program days, allowing participants up to 8 hours of excused absence for unexpected emergencies. Missing between 8 and 16 hours of class meeting time will require a participant to attend an appropriate number of meetings or events the following year in order to officially graduate. If a participant misses more than 16 hours, he or she may be asked to withdraw from the program.

We understand that from time to time last minute childcare, transportation, or other family issues may make it difficult to meet our attendance requirements. We are committed to working within our own organization and with other local organizations to provide solutions to those issues for our class members when they arise.

Other Commitments

Participants contribute time and effort to a team project and participate in additional activities outside the monthly program days to enrich and complete the experience. The schedule and time commitment outside of class time requires at least 20 hours over the 9-month period.


Ultimately, Leadership Asheville reserves the right to make graduation decisions contingent upon a participant’s fulfilling all program requirements.  This includes, but is not limited to, attendance, team project assignments, readings, exercises, and out-of class activities.


After completing the program, graduates are expected to volunteer for 20 hours of service to the Leadership Asheville program or to UNC Asheville over the course of 2 years.