Registration Opens for Maryland Heights University

School will be back in session in August, but not only for kids and teens! If you would like to learn more about how your local government operates, this is your chance! Maryland Heights University (MHU) is a free citizens academy that was established in 2009 with one primary goal in mind: to help residents better understand how their city government works.

The first class was well-attended with twenty-four residents ranging in age and experience. The roster included a 16-year old high school student who encouraged her parents to join her, retirees, working moms, college students, longtime residents and a young couple who had just moved to the city. Based on the program's successful debut, the City installed the program as an annual asset.

Fourteen years later, not much has changed structurally with the program. Classes meet once a week for several hours and students enjoy presentations taught by our senior staff. Many of the sessions include facility tours and the interaction in the programs keeps students interested. "We have realized that people are interested in a show-and-tell type format," stated Trisha Hall, Communication Manager. "Learning how the departments operate and then getting to see it either physically or in action really solidifies the lessons." Students can expect to learn the following topics:

  • Organization of the city
  • Functions of the Mayor and City Council
  • Role of the City Administrator
  • The budgeting process, revenue sources and taxing districts
  • The function of the Communications Division and tools used
  • Street maintenance
  • Snow and ice control
  • Stormwater management
  • Capital improvements
  • Recreation programming
  • Parks maintenance
  • Senior services
  • Recreation facilities
  • Planning and zoning processes
  • Building inspections
  • Code enforcement
  • Special taxing districts
  • Maryland Park Lake District
  • Long-term planning efforts
  • Methods for encouraging economic development
  • Divisions within the Police Department
  • Emergency management and crisis response
  • Community partnerships and programs
Sessions include several interactive activities including tours of the Public Works Garage, the Maryland Heights Community Center, and the Maryland Heights Police Department. During the final session, students will be recognized at the City Council meeting. "We even had a few graduates return for another year's session," states Hall. "They have told us that every year is different and they learn something new every time!"

The City of Maryland Heights currently has 11 commissions, which are comprised of both residents and representatives from the business community. These commissions were formed to obtain necessary community input. Oftentimes, a MHU graduate goes on to apply for one of these boards or commissions. These boards and commissions are appointed by the Mayor and approved by City Council. "It's a wonderful way to get involved," said City Clerk, JoAnn Cova. "The members of our boards and commissions play an integral part of municipal government."

The 2023 MHU session will take place on Wednesdays from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. from August 23 - September 20. Graduation will take place at the City Council meeting on Thursday, September 21. The first class will be held at the Government Center, 11911 Dorsett Road and a schedule will be provided for the meeting place for the remaining classes. To sign up, click here or call (314) 738- 2497. Registration will open on July 10 and will close August 16. If you have ever had a question about how the City operates, don't miss this opportunity! We hope that you will join us for MHU Class of 2023!

Click Here to Register