Mission and Values


James McGregor Burns, considered 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.

In a partnership between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs, the Illinois Leadership® Center (ILC) opened its doors in September 2002 as a campus resource hub designed to provide comprehensive leadership education and training to all students at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Our work is to study leadership and teach our students the relevant skills to be effective leaders.

At the ILC, our work is also guided by these overarching principles...

We believe leaders need to be able to work well with others. Leadership is about working with others to create positive change and should be based in a service-focused and ethical foundation of values. Leadership never happens alone.  In our global society, the skills necessary for effective leadership are more complex and multi-faceted now than they have ever been. We believe Illinois students need to develop these skills now while they are in college...

In addition, we believe that leadership can be taught. While some may have more inherent skills at the practice of leadership than others, we believe everyone can enhance and refine their abilities to lead. 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 core competencies.

Our Vision

The Illinois Leadership® Center at the University of Illinois seeks to be an internationally acclaimed provider of leadership education, research, and experiential opportunities for students. 

Our Mission

The Illinois Leadership® Center is committed to developing and enhancing the leadership skills of all students through assessment, learning, and experiential opportunities. In addition, the Center supports faculty and staff who are pursuing leadership-related teaching, research, and student engagement activities. 

Our Core Values

Student Learning

We believe life-long learning and personal growth are essential to effective leadership. We provide purposeful programs and services that allow students to engage in self-discovery, learn essential skills, and apply them to their daily lives and classroom learning.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

We are committed to creating an equitable and inclusive environment where every student and staff member feels a sense of belonging. This commitment extends to respecting differences; accepting multiple perspectives; and challenging biases, prejudice, and oppression. The ILC strives to maintain a supportive culture that embraces continuous learning in an atmosphere where dignity and fairness is evident as we work towards our collective mission.


We help students find value in, and connection to, their leadership development. We create spaces that foster community. We are intentional in how we develop and deliver our programs and services.


We are committed to practicing and teaching ethical and moral leadership by aligning our values, actions, and the Illinois Leadership Competencies.  We are committed to acting with honesty, fairness, decency, and utilizing our resources responsibly.

Innovation and Continuous Improvement

We utilize current theories, research, and assessment to consistently improve and innovative ILC programs and services to assist students as they address local, national, and global issues.