ACES opens leadership studies minor to campus

Starting this semester, the College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, or ACES, is introducing a new leadership studies minor open to students of all majors. The college held its first information session Wednesday from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Illinois Leadership Center in the Illini Union.

“There’s been an overwhelming feedback,” said Lisa Burgoon, program coordinator for the minor. “As of now, I’ve already received 72 emails from students interested, 20 students enrolled and five students who will graduate with this minor this spring.”

These numbers are prone to grow after more students are informed about this new minor, Burgoon added.

She said marketing for the minor began about two weeks ago.

The information session told prospective students about how to sign up, the minor’s curriculum and the sequence of courses.

Katie Ruhl, freshman in DGS, attended the session.

She said she didn’t know the skill of leadership could be studied, so she was interested to see what the course list would entail. As her ultimate goal is to become a hospital administrator, leadership skills will be critical to her future profession, Ruhl said.

“This minor is highly distinctive because it’s open to any students in any major,” said Corey Flournoy, advising coordinator for the college and teaching associate. “As students differentiate themselves within their majors, this experience of understanding leadership is one of the things that can distinguish students from their peers.”

“All students would benefit from the coursework of leadership,” said Laurie Kramer, associate dean of academic programs for the college. “It doesn’t matter which career path. Almost every discipline requires leadership. Students need to have a vision, know how to achieve goals and work effectively with other people.”

Eight years ago, several faculty members and administrators wanted to create some form of a leadership program. They wrote a proposal to the faculty senate, which must approve new majors and minors.

The senate approved the leadership minor this past February, and the University’s Board of Trustees signed off on the proposal this summer, Burgoon said.

The College of ACES coordinates the leadership studies minor because it’s important to have one college responsible, Kramer said.

“In the proposal, the College of ACES was asked to complete this job,” Kramer said. “ACES has a history of leadership. There are a lot of programs that provide students with leadership and provides the infrastructure for leadership to do so.”

There will be a reception celebrating this minor in the General Lounge at the Illini Union in Room 210 on Oct. 31 at 3:30 to 5 p.m.