About the Center

James McGregor Burns, considered by many to be the father of modern leadership practices, once famously stated that "Leadership is the most observed, yet least understood, phenomena on earth."  A generation later, we find this still rings true today. Our work at the Illinois Leadership Center® is to study and teach the skills for effective leadership relevant to the 21st Century.

The Illinois Leadership Center opened its doors in September 2002, as a partnership between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs to provide a comprehensive leadership education program for students at Illinois.

At Illinois, our work is guided by a few overarching principles. We believe leaders need to ask, "Why?" just as often as they ask "What?" and "How?"  Leadership, at its essence, is about working with others to create positive change, and should be based in a fundamentally service-focused and ethical foundation of values. It is about practicing global citizenship. 

In addition, we believe that leadership can be taught. While some may have more inherent skill at the practice of leadership than others, we believe everyone can enhance and refine their abilities to lead others. We have created a set of "Core Competencies" that we believe all effective leaders should possess. All of our programs and initiatives are designed to help students learn and develop in these areas.