LEAD Archives - Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy


IMSA graduates will be proficient in essential leadership skills and concepts such as communication skills, service learning, and advocacy. The program also provides opportunities to explore belief systems, values, and the process of ethical decision making.

Leadership Education and Development (LEAD): LEAD Student Schedule

IMSA’s Leadership Education & Development program (LEAD) is a student facilitated course for sophomore students. At IMSA, we believe that leadership can be learned through discussion and application. Thus, this course is designed to take an intricate look at various definitions, theories, models, and conceptualizations of leadership. Students are challenged to think critically about leadership during peer-to-peer facilitated class discussions, hands-on exercises, and group work. Students are provided with leadership foundations early in the year through LEAD’s Evolution of Leadership Modules. These modules examine the nature of leadership as it is understood through organizational and psychological models. After the Evolution of Leadership Theory modules, LEAD students attend meetings of CORE modules and an elective series of their choice.

The mission of LEAD is to foster social awareness and civic engagement among youth in their communities and this is done through application in an elective course. The three electives students may choose from are SocEnt, EnACT, ImpACT, which center on social entrepreneurship, public policy, and data journalism, respectively. During the first semester, students explore what leadership means to them. They begin to work on student group projects which address a social justice issue through their elective. IMSA students use the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) as a framework to choose a targeted issue and structure their research. The seventeen UN SDGs have been organized into four umbrella categories. The four categories are environment, energy, social justice, and economy. LEAD facilitators chose to made categories for the UN SDGs in order to address overarching problems that students were seeing in their communities. Once a UN SDG category is chosen, students then identify one of the seventeen SDG’s, such as quality education, and use this to connect with industry experts, entrepreneurs, and educators in order to better understand how their selected global issue exists locally.


CORE is an introductory seminar on leadership and its applications. In addition to academic leadership theory, students explore a multitude of topics in the social sciences and psychology and focus on how those topics relate to leadership. Furthermore, students construct an understanding of their own positions on complex issues in leadership. Heavy emphasis is placed on peer-to-peer facilitation and engaging discussion when in the classroom environment. Facilitators do not lecture. Students are expected to become active participants in their own education. In CORE, students are challenged to reconsider the notion of leadership objectively and curiously. Ultimately, students are better able to comprehend their own identities as leaders.

Social Entrepreneurship (SocEnt): SOCENT SYLLABUS

The purpose of SocEnt is to foster entrepreneurial skills and social thinking in students and emphasize leadership in those fields. It is structured to focus on theory, applicability, and creativity. As a part of SocEnt, groups of sophomores are given the opportunity to create a social entrepreneurial venture (SEV) that target social issues impacting their local community. Each student group project seeks to address a social justice issue and students are to use the UN Sustainable Development Goals when choosing their subject matter. The four broad categories students chose from are environment, energy, social justice, and economy. In the SocEnt elective, most student projects focus on good health and wellbeing, education, decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation, and infrastructure, and lastly sustainable cities and communities.

EnACT: ENACT Syllabus

EnACT allows students to analyze public policy while learning about politics and our government. Students learn about political discourse through the process of creating a policy portfolio. Students are introduced to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and are asked to find the cause of one of these issues. Student projects attempt to solve one of the UN SDG’s by creating their own public policy proposition. Students choose a public policy that will focus on one of the four following umbrella categories: environment, energy, social justice, and economy. In the EnACT elective, most student projects focus on zero hunger, gender equality, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, reduced inequalities, responsible consumption and production, and peace, justice and strong institutions.

Information Motivating Public Activism (IMPACT): IMPACT SYLLABUS

IMPACT allows students to explore the informative power of data journalism. Students learn about both the data analysis aspect and the storytelling aspect of data journalism; module topics include media bias, misleading statistics, FOIA requests, data in politics, and much more. By the end of the year, each IMPACT student will have contributed to a project that uses data analysis and visualization to profile a UN Sustainable Development Goals. The four umbrella categories students chose from are environment, energy, social justice, and economy. In the IMPACT elective, most student projects focus on no poverty, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, sustainable cities and communities, and climate action. The goal of the IMPACT program is to provide students a stronger understanding of how to find trends and meaning in mass amounts of information.

LEAD meets on select Tuesday evenings from 8pm-9:30pm. For questions about LEAD, please contact Assistant Director of Residence Life, Andrea Stuiber.

SLX and Hollister Lecture

LEAD culminates in the presentation of student projects, developed in elective modules, at the annual Student Leadership Exchange (SLX). The fifth annual SLX will take place on April 11th, 2018. SLX provides students an opportunity to present their projects and research to entrepreneurs, visiting professors, experts in their fields, IMSA faculty, state legislators, and most importantly each other. SLX functions much like an academic conference focusing on youth leadership, bringing awareness to social issues from around the world.

Connected to SLX is the long-standing tradition of the Hollister lecture, an annual lecture series sponsored by the family of one of IMSA’s former faculty Dr. Bernard Hollister. The Hollister Lecture series aims to inform students about various social issues and topics in student leadership.

Considerations in Ethics (CinE)

Considerations in Ethics is a series of sessions comprised of a lecture on a subject or topic in Ethics followed by a peer-to-peer facilitated breakout session. Lectures are typically given by History and Social Science Faculty Dr. Lee Eysturlid, though some lectures each year are given by other faculty, visiting professors, and experts in their field. All juniors attend each session. For more information, contact Lee Eysturlid at 630-907-5896.

Residence Life

At IMSA, we believe that leadership must be developed in all areas of life. This is why the Residence life staff has curriculum focusing on leadership, among other topics. For more information regarding this, please go to the Residence Life page for a description of the Residential Life program with and Residential Life staff listing.  For questions, please contact Katie Berger at (630) 907-5009.


To help transition into the IMSA community, the student life staff holds Navigation sessions aimed at building up identity, community, and leadership.

Sophomore Navigation – This is a list of the Navigation sessions all sophomores must attend during their first year.  For questions, please contact Kevin Kusy.