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Leadership Academy

Academy Update:

After careful consideration of the risk to student health, we have made the decision to cancel the 2020 Sophomore Leadership Retreats. Current sophomores will be invited to attend next year's Retreats. 

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


Four leadership development seminars per academic year. Check them out here.

2019-20 Leadership Academy Seminar Series - click on Seminar title for more information:

  1. Saturday, October 5th, 2019: Your (Ethical) North Star
  2. Saturday, November 16th, 2019: Leading Creative Teams
  3. Saturday, February 15th, 2020: Increasing Your Communication Effectiveness
  4. Saturday, March 28th, 2019: Navigating Change


Senior capstone project where students in their final year of the Academy design, develop, and deliver a one hour leadership workshop at the Chicago Undergraduate Leadership Conference.


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