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The College of Applied Health Sciences :: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The College of Applied Health Sciences Undergraduate Students

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Program Highlights

The I-LEAP program provides a variety of services and initiatives designed to help students develop their full potential and as a result become more successful students in their coursework, connect to the university community, and develop leadership skills. Students receive support in areas of academic skill development, university integration, and leadership development.

Each student within I-LEAP is counseled by an Academic Skills Specialist. This individual assists students with identifying academic, personal and career goals; connecting students with college and campus resources; and promoting academic, personal, and professional skill development. In addition, the Academic Skills Specialist works with each program participant to complete a student success plan that will evolve as the student matriculates through their academic career.


AHS 199: Leadership, Mentorship, and Civic Engagement

group of 12 students p[osing outdoors with the mascot for Blue Cross, who is dressed like a giant teddy bearFirst-year students will enroll in a specially designed course to prepare them for their remaining academic experience at Illinois. AHS 199 is an interactive experiential course that explores goal setting, communication skills, change and time management, team building, civic responsibility, and transformative learning. The course encourages self-exploration and personal development as a central component in leadership. The comprehensive curriculum will address practical aspects of leadership, which can be utilized in multiple environments and work settings.

Some class topics include:

  • How to communicate with your academic advisor
  • How to get involved on campus
  • Dealing with roommate conflicts
  • Creating a college budget
  • Diversifying college activities
  • Minors vs. double majors
  • To be or not to be "pre-" (Career Panel)

AHS 199: Strategies for Success

AHS 199 is a course for juniors and seniors that focuses on career planning and post-graduate options. The course provides intense discussions and readings on topics of self-awareness, leadership and personal development. Additionally, all students will complete a professional portfolio that can be utilized in multiple environments and work settings.

The P.E.E.R Mentorship Program

The Mannie L. Jackson I-LEAP Program, Promoting Enriching Experiences and Relationships (P.E.E.R) Mentoring Program is designed to help ease the transition to the University of Illinois and the College of Applied Health Sciences for I-LEAP scholars. The P.E.E.R Mentoring Program links first year I-LEAP scholars with an I-LEAP upper-classmen (sophomore, junior, or senior status) and provides personal support, awareness of college resources and services, while promoting involvement within college sponsored programs, the greater university, and the surrounding community on a peer level.

Chi Alpha Epsilon National Honor Society
I-LEAP Chapter Name: Epsilon Omicron

Chi Alpha Epsilon (XAE) is a national honor society which recognizes the academic achievements of I-LEAP scholars. The mission of XAE is to promote continued high academic standards, foster increased communication among its members, and honor academic excellence. Members pledge to continue to excel academically, promote academic excellence in others, and to help those who genuinely aspire to the same goals. To receive a special invitation to join XAE, a student must have a cumulative average of a 3.0 for two consecutive semesters.

Civic Engagement and Community Partnerships

The Mannie L. Jackson Illinois Academic Enrichment and Leadership Program has partnerships on campus and in the Champaign-Urbana Community. Scholars are able to participate in service activities and learn about civic responsibility.


Students are invited to various college and cross-campus events including the alumni speaker series, social events, and presentations in the areas of career and professional development and graduate schools.


The Mannie L. Jackson I-LEAP Program has supported students since 2007. To compare the effectiveness of The Mannie L. Jackson Illinois Academic Enrichment and Leadership Program, data is collected on students by comparing students who accepted versus declined the invitation to the I-LEAP program per semester. The collection of this data allows us to map the effectiveness of the I-LEAP program over time. In comparison with these groups, current scholars in the I-LEAP Program are above average. I-LEAP has a significant impact on participant's academic success:

  • Since 2006, the retention of I-LEAP scholars has remained above 90%
  • I-LEAP is growing. At a time when many universities are struggling to recruit and yield under- represented minority groups, the College of Applied Health Sciences (AHS) has not. The undergraduate population in AHS continues to be the most diverse on campus. I-LEAP plays an important role in projecting a sense of community that students find welcoming, familiar, and supportive. This year, with an enrollment of 51, I-LEAP welcomed its second largest incoming freshmen class.
  • I-LEAP students are graduating. Of the group of students who began with the program in the Fall of 2010, 96% have now earned their undergraduate degree. In any comparison group, a four-year graduation rate of 96% is simply exceptional. When regional averages are hovering in the 40-50% range, it is clear that I-LEAP continues to help the students realize their academic goals.
  • I-LEAP students are excelling academically. Our 164 I-LEAP scholars have an average cumulative grade point average of just under a 3.25. A full ten percent of our I-LEAP students are also active members in our James Scholars Honors Program, and 34% made the Dean's List in Spring of 2014. These are the highest academic honors available at the college level.
  • I-LEAP students are advancing. In light of the tremendous accomplishments of our students on campus, it should come as no surprise that they are meeting with great success after they leave the University. Out of our Spring 2014 graduating class, 100% are employed in their field of study or pursuing graduate studies. When reviewing national trends, it is clear that the efforts of the I-LEAP staff have been highly effective in helping our students make the transition from academics to the early stages of their career.
  • I-LEAP students are giving back. Our Senior Program Coordinator has cultivated relationships with community partners like the Times Center, Salt and Light, and the Boys and Girls Club. In these settings our students are embodying the "give to others" philosophy that has been a hallmark of the program since its inception. Beyond that, these settings help raise awareness of current issues, instill a sense of citizenship, and become venues through which our students can refine their leadership skills. This past year, our students were provided the opportunity to participate in an alternative Spring Break to Washington D.C. For many of our students this was their first trip outside Illinois. They volunteered in local charities, toured iconic national sites, and built meaningful relationship — all contributing to the sense of belonging and purpose that is so important to I-LEAP.