"Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." - John F. Kennedy

The Jaguar Connection link

Leadership development is an essential student learning outcome of a comprehensive student experience at Governors State University. Student Affairs educators at Governors State aspire to contribute to the mission of the University by challenging and inspiring students to be responsible citizens and leaders on-campus and in their communities. Among the formal programs supporting our focus on leadership development include: Emerging Leaders Program for first-year students, Student Leadership Institute for upper-class students, and both the Men's and Women's Leadership Retreat.


Due to the impact of COVID-19, leadership program offerings will look different this year as GSU is doing remote learning.  More details coming soon.  Feel free to review previous program offerings below.

  • Service & Leadership Seminar


    Service & Leadership Seminar


    The Service & Leadership Seminar is a week long experiential learning opportunity for incoming undergraduate students at Governors State University.  The seminar is held prior to the start of the fall semester.  Students are provided an opportunity to learn about community service, leadership, and self-awareness.  The seminar encompasses community service projects, workshops, speakers, and interaction with current campus leaders.  Students will be immersed in an array of activities that will enable participants to discover how they can help create positive, sustainable change on Governors State University’s campus.

    Eligible Participants: Freshmen and new Transfer students who will begin coursework in the Fall semester.

    Contact: Dr. Robert Clay
                     Executive Director, Center for Student Engagement and Intercultural Programs
                       rclay@govst.edu - 708.534.4551 


    Preliminary Schedule

    Day 1 – Program Overview, Workshops, Community Service Council

    Day 2 – Civic Leaders Panel and Service Project

    Day 3 – Explore Chicago and Service Initiatives

    Day 4 – Leadership, Vision, Civic Reflection and Group Outing

    Day 5 –Convocation

    Learning Outcomes

    • Gather an understanding of different perspectives.
    •  Observe, analyze, and advocate community needs and social injustices.
    • Build meaningful relationships with peers, leaders and community.
    •  Become familiar with involvement opportunities on campus
    • Comprehension of personal identities in regard to first year transition.
    • Develop an understanding of effective leadership principles.



  • Men's Leadership Summit




     November 22, 2019


    The Men's  Leadership Summit explores the essential elements of what it means to be a man in a leadership role in the Governors State University community and within a global text. The intersection of male gender and leadership will allow us to explore such topics/skills as advocacy, coalition building, contemplative practice, communication, decision making, consensus building, diversity/inclusion and conflict management. 


    • SHERO Women's Leadership Symposium


      SHERO logo 2017

      SHERO Women's Leadership Summit
      March 27, 2020


      S – Sharing, H – Her story of, E – Empowerment, R – Resilience, & O – Opportunity

      The goal of Governors State University’s Women’s Leadership Symposium will be to inspire women to seek their highest level of personal and professional development.  Participants will gain a greater understanding of their own approach to leadership and acquire new ideas to optimize and sustain one’s potential.  The program will provide perspectives and strategies in the areas of: personal development (such as health, financial maintenance, stress management, etc.), career development and advancement, and community engagement.  The conference format will be a tribute to the arts that include a keynote speaker and breakout discussions to celebrate SHEros and diversity.

      Eligible Participants: GSU students, alumni, and community members of all genders who want to learn about women's experiences and perspectives in leadership

      Registration: Registration for this program will open in Spring, 2020.

      Contact: Robert Clay
                  Executive Director, Student Engagement & Intercultural Programs
                   rclay@govst.edu - 708.534.4551

    • CEO Leadership Certificate Program


      CEO Picture


      CEO Leadership Certificate Program


      The Certified Executive Officer (CEO) Leadership Certificate Program is designed to provide student leaders of clubs and organizations with effective and essential leadership skills. Students will have the opportunity to develop and enhance a personal philosophy of leadership that includes comprehension of leadership theory and application. The CEO program develops leadership potential and self-efficacy in preparing today’s students to lead.  Student leaders will also explore leadership trends to foster learning and personal development through exploration of theories and practices. 

      Eligible Participants: Current GSU student organization executive board members

      Contact:  Chris McBride
                       Coordinator for Student Organizations
                       cmcbride@govst.edu  - 708.235.7609



      • Student Leadership Institute


         SLI Video Image  

        View the Student Leadership Institute promo >>

        Student Leadership Institute
        Suspended during COVID

        Based on national best practices for leadership education, the Student Leadership Institute (SLI) is a distinctive co-curricular certificate program designed for students seeking leadership development opportunities that will contribute to their personal development and help achieve their leadership potential.  It is offered annually in the spring semester and completed by Spring Break.

        Eligible Participants: GSU upper division students (sophomores/juniors/seniors) and graduate students 

        Application: Applications will be accepted  at a later date .  Apply here!

        Lisa Carra
                     Assistant to the Dean of Students
                     lcarra@govst.edu - 708.235.2834

        Student Leadership Institute Closing Ceremony-Spring, 2017

        More about the Student Leadership Institute:

        Using Kouzes and Posner's nationally recognized Five Practices of Exemplary Student Leadership as a foundation, this innovative program consists of workshops that participants elect to attend based on their individual interests and leadership goals. While the SLI co-curricular certificate program offers participants the flexibility to create their own curriculum, there are common program features that include:

        • Introduction to, and administration of, the Leadership Practices Inventory, the only leadership tool designed specifically for student leaders that approaches leadership as a measurable, learnable and teachable set of behaviors. This 360 degree leadership assessment tool helps student leaders measure their leadership competencies, while guiding them through the process of applying Kouzes and Posner's acclaimed Five Practices of Exemplary Student Leadership® model to real-life challenges.
        • Support and guidance from a GSU leadership mentor that will assist in processing LPI results, maximize your benefits through the SLI certificate, serve as a personal resource and consult with you throughout the program, and beyond.
        • Choice of topical and interactive workshops offered throughout the semester designed to develop your leadership skills and increase your networking opportunities with other student leaders in a variety of contexts. Successful participants must choose three workshops from the various offerings during the semester in which they are participating. Tracks will be suggested for various leadership positions, such as student organization leaders and peer mentors.
        • A culminating celebration and workshop that integrates reflection and content from selected workshops with action planning to help ensure students achieve their leadership potential.

        In 2012-13, its inaugural year, the response to the Leadership Institute from the campus community was overwhelming. In total, 45 undergraduates and 19 graduate students participated (selected from 160 applicants), and 15 faculty and staff served as workshop presenters, while 45 more served as leadership mentors. Students involved with the Student Leadership Institute program at GSU will also benefit from the mentorship component that is woven into the program design. Students will have the opportunity to work directly with a mentor who will discuss their workshop options, provide direction and track their development and progress. Currently, more than 100 students have successfully completed the Student Leadership Institute.

        The goals of the mentorship component of the SLI include:

        • Develop a connection to the program for students through a personalized mentor.
        • Establish a connection for students to the university through a member of the community serving as a SLI mentor.
        • Articulate an intentional path in the SLI program for students that can specifically meet their leadership needs as it pertains to their major and/or involvement on campus.
        • Assess a student's success in the program.
        • Assist students in understanding and integrating what they have learned.
        • Assist students in applying what they have learned to their experiences at GSU, their leadership and professional aspirations.

      • Emerging Leaders Program


          Emerging Leaders Program Participants-Spring, 2017


        Emerging Leaders Program

        Fall 2019

        The Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) immerses lower division students (freshmen and sophomores) in a process of personal development that lays the foundation for the exploration of leadership. ELP helps students answer the question "What type of leader do I want to be?" This is an experiential program wherein students participate in highly interactive workshops, activities, and discussions.

        Eligible Participants: GSU students in their first or sophomore year of undergraduate studies
        Registration: Open to GSU freshmen and sophomores. Application Deadline: October 4, 2019. Apply here! 

        Date: Fridays 1 to 3:30pm starting October 11 through November 22, 2019.

        Contact: Hannah Cave
                        Assistant Director of New Student Programs
                        hcave@govst.edu- 708.235.6815


      • Jaguar L.E.A.D. Capstone


        Jaguar L.E.A.D. Capstone



        GSU students who have participated in at least two previous GSU leadership programs are invited to complete a ‘Jaguar L.E.A.D.’ capstone project. L.E.A.D. stands for Leadership Experiences Applied and Demonstrated because participants’ projects will demonstrate how they applied concepts they have learned from previous GSU leadership programs. Each participant will be paired a faculty/staff consultant who will help guide the project implementation. Jaguar L.E.A.D. will allow students to synthesize and apply what they have learned in a real-world setting. Most importantly, they will be able to make a positive impact on GSU and beyond!

         Eligible Participants: GSU students who have successfully completed at least two GSU leadership development programs

        Contact: Dr. Robert Clay
                        Executive Director, Student Engagement & Intercultural Programs
                        rclay@govst.edu  - 708.235-7362





      • Student Governance Opportunities


        Serving on the Student Senate, you represent and promote GSU students' concerns and interests regarding governance issues to the administration, staff, and faculty.

        As an elected Illinois Board of Higher Education Student Representative, you’ll represent GSU as a voting member on the IBHE student advisory board.

        The Board of Trustee Student Representative is elected by the GSU student population as a voting member of the Governors State University Board of Trustees.

        Student Activities Council (SAC): Students work in conjunction with Student Life to create campus programs that are timely and meaningful to students.SAC  creates student events, promotes campus involvement, celebrates diversity as it represents the student voice in programming. Through this process, students receive valuable leadership skills that enrich their abilities as they enter the workplace.

        Kaleidoscope (formerly Community Service Council): Student work in collaboration with Civic Engagement & Intercultural Education to create opportunities that will increase involvement and promote the awareness of civic engagement initiatives among students. Members of Kaleidoscope create, plan, and participate in civic engagement events, as well as provide assistance with programming events and workshops.

        For information about student governance opportunities contact:
        CSEIP at 708-235-7362 or email cseip@govst.edu