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ISULeads provides opportunities for student, faculty, staff involvement

In the recent State of the University address, Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Dietz shared that the ISULeads Leadership Certificate Program, coordinated by Leadership and Service in the Dean of Students Office, is one of only a few leadership certificate programs in the state.

ISULeads is a comprehensive leadership program designed to help students select involvement opportunities that build on one another to make the most of their involvement and grow in their understanding, practice, and articulation of leadership. The program is a campus and community-wide initiative incorporating curricular and co-curricular learning within its three pillars: civic engagement; global perspectives; and leadership.

In addition to a few ISULeads-specific activities, students must complete 12 experiences per pillar; examples of experiences might include academic coursework, community service projects, or cultural events.

“ISULeads helped me further develop my leadership skills; it gave me an opportunity to learn and grow personally and professionally,” said Raven Smith, a graduate of the program.

Student involvement

ISULeads is very rewarding and benefits students in the following ways:

  • Developing leadership skills. Students learn how to assess their leadership style, determine how morals and values help make leadership-based decisions, and develop into the leader they are capable of becoming.
  • Increasing understanding of global and cultural issues. Students examine personal perspectives and opinions to more fully interact and live with others.
  • Promoting civic engagement. Students evaluate how to be a productive volunteer and discover what it means to be a conscientious, active citizen.
  • Preparing for the future. Students develop professional skills and build positive relationships with others as they enter the workforce.

ISULeads was piloted two years ago with 17 students, and the program has now grown to include over 250 students. With this tremendous growth comes a great opportunity for support from Illinois State faculty and staff.

Faculty, staff involvement

Faculty and staff can contribute to ISULeads in the following ways:

  • Serve as a mentor. A requirement of the program is for each student to pair with a mentor whom the student will meet with once a month. For more information about serving in this role, please email Kyle Rindfleisch from Leadership and Service.
  • Connect your programs. Inform Leadership and Service about coursework, programs, or events that might count towards one of the pillars by completing an intake form. These programs will then be promoted through ISULeads. Icons provided by Leadership and Service can also be used in a syllabus or marketing for applicable programs or events.
  • Encourage enrollment. While the staff of Leadership and Service is pleased with the current enrollment numbers, they intend to continue encouraging this growth opportunity for students.

Open registration will become available again in January. To learn more about ISULeads, visit or watch a video about the program. The staff of Leadership and Service can also give a presentation to a class or departmental meeting. Contact the office at (309) 438- 7346 to arrange a presentation.

ISULeads is successful because of the ongoing enthusiasm from students, faculty, and staff. Thank you for your support of ISULeads, where students are encouraged to be strong leaders and engaged citizens.

Marie Huels contributed to this article.