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.
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.