Recognizing the increasing demands on Rotary leaders’ time, as well as each Rotary district’s need to identify and train Rotarians for district leadership roles, Rotarians took action. In 2004-05, District 5510 created a new and innovative online learning approach to Rotary leadership development: The Arizona Rotary Leadership Academy.

In 2006-07, the Academy was expanded to become an all Arizona program involving Districts 5490, 5500, and 5510 and governed by the Arizona Tri-District PETS committee. Through the academy’s nomination process, selected past club Presidents throughout Arizona were able to participate in exceptional online training at home via their own computers through the guidance of talented and experienced Past District Governors and senior Rotarians from Arizona districts. These students were able to work at their own pace on their own schedules within the academy program guidelines.

Following the 2016-17 reorganization, Districts 5495 and 5500 established a Memorandum of Understanding to coordinate and manage the academy. As a result, the academy has continued its work through this Rotary districts’ partnership. Annually, Past District Governors, current Governors, current Assistant Governors, and RLA graduates, nominate candidates for the academy. These nominees, past club Presidents, Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) graduates, and Rotarians interested in leadership roles beyond their clubs are provided training which prepares them for the “next step,” a district leadership role.  

Each fall, the student participants begin the academy’s annual program with an orientation to our self-paced, computer-based online learning framework. The primary objectives of the academy are: (1) to expand the foundation of Rotary and district leadership, (2) to provide opportunities for excited and engaged Rotarians to expand their leadership talents, and (3) work within the parameters and constraints of Rotarians’ busy lives. This quality online training is facilitated by talented and experienced Past District Governors and senior Rotarians. Within the academy program guidelines, students are able to work at their own pace and on their own schedules.

The following courses will be offered during this Rotary year:

First Semester (September, October, and November):

  • The Rotary Brand — a basic overview of the Rotary branding and public image tools and efforts
  • Understanding and Utilizing The Rotary Foundation — An overview of The Rotary Foundation for District leaders: spending Foundation dollars, giving to the Rotary Foundation, reports you can use, goals, recognition of donors, District Designated Funds, and resources you can use in your District
  • Collaboration and Funding to Meet Needs — helping leaders to think outside the box regarding tackling and funding larger needs that are beyond the abilities and resources of a single club, and often require extending beyond a single Rotary year

Second Semester (January, February, and March):

  • Building on a Heritage of Leadership and Accomplishments — a review of who our district leaders have been and what we have accomplished thus far as a pace-setter district for the Rotary World
  • How to Succeed in Membership Growth and Retention — Rotary International has approved several new/innovative club membership types and club models. This course will draw on these changes to help your club restructure itself to succeed in changing lives in our communities and world.
  • Rotary’s Fiduciary Responsibilities, and Youth Protection — what are a Rotary club’s responsibilities to its members, its contributors, its community, the government, and to Rotary International? How can liabilities be evaluated and minimized?