Educating leaders of tomorrow



A graduate student in leadership in human service administration, LIZ McKERNIN '10 volunteered this summer with Advocates for Access in Peoria Heights. "I decided on the HSA program because of the emphasis on community service," said McKernin, who is a hall director. "In several of our courses we are required to do projects where we help our community, and I truly enjoy giving back.


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From educational administration to human service, Bradley’s academic programs prepare today’s students to become tomorrow’s leaders.

Lydia Moss Bradley’s vision to create a school that produced outstanding leaders continues today through the University’s academics. One department that has leadership at its foundation is the Department of Leadership in Education, Human Services, and Counseling (EHC, formerly ELH). “We have often borrowed inspiration from her, especially in her ability to consider the importance of the future,” said Dr. Chris Rybak, chairman of the EHC department. “She not only saw what’s available and possible right now, but she also asked, ‘What could be if we can bring the right resources together to move forward?’”

The EHC department is divided into three graduate programs: educational administration, which prepares students to work in administrative roles in educational institutions, often as school principals; the human service administration program, which trains students for leadership roles in nonprofit organizations, universities, and corporations; and counseling, which prepares students to become clinical mental health counselors and school counselors.

In addition to the three graduate programs, the department added a minor in leadership studies in 2005 that helps students become leaders in their personal and professional lives. Students take 18 hours of classes such as bipartisan leadership, leadership in service, and managing in organizations.

“Leadership is the theme that we draw from for all our programs,” Rybak said. “We look for ways to provide our students, who come from a wide variety of backgrounds and undergraduate majors, experiences that involve creativity in their visions and their work, being able to work across diverse cultures and populations, and learning to become aware of social justice issues and how transitions in society may be impacting people in different ways.”

Most of the department’s nine full-time faculty members have traveled abroad to provide a more worldly approach in classrooms. “They are able to bring their real-world experiences back to our students, rather than rely on news stories to tell us what’s happening across the globe with a wide variety of populations.”

About 150 students are enrolled in the graduate programs and 95 in the leadership minor.