MTSU recently wrapped up this year’s Institute of Leadership Excellence on campus as instructors guided almost 30 undergraduate student participants in the weeklong immersive course.
Developed in 2005 by a cross-disciplinary task force of faculty and staff, the purpose of the institute is to “provide an intensive, unique, and interdisciplinary total-immersion experience in leadership and leadership development for promising undergraduate students from across the university.”
Held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily from May 17-21, the institute allows students to study leadership theory and practice through a combination of lecture, discussion, activities, speakers, and interaction with classmates, all with a clear focus on application and experiential learning.
ILE instructor David A. Foote, associate dean in the Jones College of Business, said he shared a dozen 15-minute segments from a book titled “The Art of Possibility” by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander.
“The book and the segments I shared give life lessons about focusing on the relationships among us as people rather than focusing on individual people and things,” Foote said. “It’s about the willingness to recognize the potential for greatness in every person we encounter as we go throughout our lives and giving them the grace to grow into all the possibilities within them.”
All eligible MTSU undergraduates can apply to attend the institute, while University Honors College faculty and ILE alumni also nominate potential applicants as well. Eligible students must have completed 45 credit hours before the first day of the institute, and will have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA or a nomination from a faculty member or institute graduate.
For more information on the application process and deadlines, go to https://www.mtsu.edu/ile/apply.php or email ILE Director Deana Raffo, management professor in the Jones College of Business, at Deana.Raffo@mtsu.edu.
Part of each day of the institute is reserved for students to work on the development of new materials (cases, role plays, lectures, creative projects, etc.) that can be used in other leadership development venues. Organizers say this aspect of the program not only helps solidify what students are learning, but also results in a tangible product that can benefit others as well.
“I’ve been teaching these segments for several years and it is always so wonderful and heartwarming to see the students begin to realize the many possibilities that lie within each of them and how they can ignite sparks of possibility for others,” Foote continued. “ILE 2021 was a truly wonderful experience for us all.”
Institute organizers invite successful individuals in a variety of fields to come to the institute during “working” lunches, as well as other times during the week, to share their thoughts on leadership with ILE students.
Raffo shared feedback received from some of this year’s students:
“It has been a fantastic experience. I came here with almost no understanding of leadership, but I feel more enlightened and am planning to learn more.”
“Thank you for this course! I learned a lot and gained a new perspective not only in leadership but others as well!”
“Thank you for helping me grow as a leader and a student.”
This year was the 15th year of the Institute of Leadership Excellence. It began in 2006 and has run every year since then except for 2007. Learn more at https://www.mtsu.edu/ile/index.php.
— Jimmy Hart (Jimmy.Hart@mtsu.edu)