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Leadership Academy

About the Academy

Founded in 2000, the M. A. and Lila Self Leadership Academy at Illinois Tech is an undergraduate education initiative that trains students to be capable leaders and empowers them to inspire the same in others. Sponsored through generous gifts from M. A. (Al) and Lila Self, and John Mitchell, the academy works to:

  • Create and implement an effective leadership-development program for all undergraduate students at Illinois Tech
  • Promote a culture of leadership and innovation across the Illinois Tech community
  • Identify, develop, and support students with exceptional leadership potential
  • Evaluate leadership development outcomes at the individual and program levels

Joining the Leadership Academy

To apply for membership in the Leadership Academy, candidates must complete a comprehensive electronic application. An interdisciplinary team of faculty and staff evaluates each application using a standardized scoring rubric. Promising candidates are invited to a half-day simulation designed to assess their current leadership abililities and potential; professionally trianed assessors from Illinois Tech's Department of Psychology observe, record, and score the simulation exercises. 


Programming and Participant Benefits


Significant multi-year tuition scholarships for undergraduate students.  Click here for application information

View the current and alumni Scholars


Assignment to mentors and leadership apprenticeship programs


Individual coaching and mentoring from the executive director and program manager


The Academy offers several leadership development seminars across the academic year. For Fall 2020 all Seminars will be hosted virtually, sign up to recieve the link. Check them out here

2020-21 Leadership Academy Seminar Series - click on Seminar title for more information:

  1. Saturday, September 12th, 2020: Mentoring Masterclass: Are you up to the challenge?
  2. Saturday, October 17th, 2020: Jahmal Cole: Leading on the Ground
  3. Saturday, November 14th, 2020: Leading in the Midst of Crisis
  4. Saturday, January 30th, 2021: Navigating Change
  5. Saturday, February 13th, 2021: Stress & Leadership
  6. Saturday, March 6th, 2021: Leading Through the Next Normal 


The  Senior Capstone project is designed to display what senior Scholars have learned since entering the Academy and to share that with the wider community. Seniors work in small groups over the course of the year to complete an approved project of their choosing. At the end of the academic year, seniors present the results and implications of their project along with the leadership theory that informed their project. 


Sophomore Leadership Retreat—a 2-½ day retreat in the woods of Michigan focused on building leadership and team skills.


Attending Chicago civic group meetings, meeting with individual members of the Illinois Tech Board of Trustees, and attending an annual luncheon with alumni of the academy