Urban Park Leadership Program

The Urban Park Leadership Program brings together senior-level urban park professionals for a nine-month experience of learning, network building, and creative problem-solving.

2022 Application is closed

Thank you for applying. The next cohort will begin in fall 2023.


Designed, facilitated and hosted by the Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks in partnership with the City University of New York School of Professional Studies Office of Professional Education and Workplace Learning (PEWL), the Urban Park Leadership Program comprises a combination of web-based professional development experiences and in-person learning covering a range of topics relevant to urban park leadership and management.

Participants engage in a series of online workshops, seminars, self-paced modules, and coaching sessions over the course of nine months, culminating in a week-long session in New York City, and a capstone project.

PEWL was created at the same time as CUNY SPS and designs custom workplace learning programs to help organizations achieve their goals. They are experts in research-based learning practices, online as well as in-classroom curriculum development and implementation. They are uniquely positioned to respond to organizational learning needs and support change management initiatives swiftly and effectively.

Urban Park Leadership Program alumnus Heath Riddles-Sanchez provides a testimonial of his experience.


The Urban Park Leadership Program is open to executive and senior-level leaders (e.g., Director, Vice President, Executive Director, Board Member) of:

  • Park non-profit organizations in urban areas (conservancies, trusts, alliances, corporations, friends of groups)
  • Parks and recreation agencies in urban areas
  • Affiliated public space partners of urban parks (business/park improvement districts, cultural institutions)


COVID-19 has caused widespread financial challenges for urban park organizations and agencies around the world. In an effort to make the program accessible, the fall 2022 program fee has been reduced to $1,900 per person (from $2,250).

The registration fee covers: participation in the online learning management system; online workshops, seminars, and forums; in-person programming in NYC; and all program materials. The fee does NOT cover travel to NYC or hotel accommodations.

The Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks, through generous support from its donors, offers a limited number of scholarships to applicants from qualifying organizations and agencies. Scholarships are awarded on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Institute. Those who are interested in applying for a scholarship can find more information in the admissions application.


The 2022-2023 cohort will run from October 26, 2022, through May 2023. A week-long, in-person session in NYC will take place from April 17-21, 2023. For the full schedule, visit the CUNY School of Professional Studies program webpage.


As New York’s leader in online education since 2006, the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) offers the most online bachelor’s and master’s degree options at the City University of New York, and serves as the University’s only undergraduate all-transfer college. With 24 degrees and numerous other non-degree and grant-funded workplace learning programs, CUNY SPS meets the needs of adults who wish to finish a bachelor’s degree, progress from an associate’s degree, earn a master’s degree or certificate in a specialized field, and advance in the workplace or change careers. Consistently ranked highly by U.S. News & World Report for its quality online offerings, and noted for its soaring growth and enrollment, CUNY SPS has emerged as a nationwide leader in online education. The School’s renowned and affordable online programs—which offer in-state tuition to all students regardless of where they live—ensure that busy working adults may fulfill their educational goals on their own time and schedule.

CPC Institute of Urban Parks logo and CUNY School of Profressional Studies logo