Sigma Chi Leadership Institute Makes History

Sigma Chi Leadership Institute becomes the first and only fraternal-affiliated organization to earn accreditation from an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education

S igma Chi International Fraternity in July 2022 learned that its educational arm, the Sigma Chi Leadership Institute (SCLI), became the first and only fraternal-affiliated organization to earn accreditation by an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The distinction has made Sigma Chi the first fraternity to offer members critical leadership skills through its revolutionary Transformational Leader program, developed and delivered by its own accredited institution, SCLI.

SCLI received accreditation through the Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools. The groundbreaking moment was more than five years in the making and made possible by the generous funding of Sigma Chi donors to the SCLI so the instution could develop the Transformational Leader program.

“We learned SCLI was awarded accreditation prior to the 2022 Krach Transformational Leaders Workshop, Sigma Chi’s flagship leadership development experience. At that moment, our board was joined by Fraternity leadership, supportive alumni and undergraduate members of our brotherhood who believe in the continued evolution of fraternity,” SCLI Chairman and 68th Grand Consul Mike Greenberg, ILLINOIS WESLEYAN 1982, says. “This moment should be a great source of pride for the Sigma Chi brotherhood. Accreditation offers credible evidence that the Sigma Chi journey transcends the typical fraternal experience and compliments an undergraduate brother’s in-class education.”

SCLI’s accreditation also offers the Greek-letter landscape’s only third-party validation of a fraternal leadership experience. Sigma Chi and SCLI worked hand in hand to develop the Transformational Leader program, alongside well-respected leaders in higher education, business, leadership development and fraternal industries. The courses within the program pick up where academic teachings leave off and impart valuable critical thinking and interpersonal skills that can be applied on personal and professional levels throughout a member’s life.

Undergraduates can earn certificates in the leadership topics offered at signature events like the Krach Transformational Leaders Workshop and Horizons Huntsman Leadership Summit. Topics include how to identify and focus on core values, persist through adversity, lead and motivate peers through change and recognize the character in others.

The certificates act as differentiators for undergraduates to show not only skill mastery but also their character, values and ideals to future employers or others. They address a growing concern from employers, as noted by a recent World Economic Forum report, that today’s college graduates need enhancements with the necessary skills and competencies like team collaboration, data analysis and creative thinking to succeed in professional roles.

“Our 21st century world calls us to develop leaders who are equipped with the skills to respond to complex opportunities and challenges with relevancy, innovation and creativity,” SCLI Associate Executive Director Robert Rabe, LOYOLA (CHICAGO) 2018, says. “The Transformational Leader program provides a holistic approach to skill development that empowers our brothers to be the change agents within the emerging workforce and marketplace. It is paramount that we form purpose-driven, values-based leaders who meet the evolving expectations of employers and our larger community.”

Adds 72nd Grand Consul Tim Sanderson, WESTERN 1985: “Sigma Chi wants to inspire and empower brothers to positively impact the world. We should expect more of ourselves and more of each other. With the launch of the ‘Era of the Transformational Leader’ in June 2021, our Fraternity has evolved into an organization that truly enables the successes of the men who join and enables our men to become leaders who will, in turn, transform the world. Now is the time to invest in ourselves in order to deliver on our promise of ‘expect more.’”

Sigma Chi members have already cited the value of the educational programming in their professional successes. Fraternity alumni who graduated between 2016 and 2021 were recently surveyed by SCLI and third-party analytics and advisory company. Of those surveyed, 62 percent said Sigma Chi programs were important or very important to them receiving a promotion at work, and 70 percent said their participation in the programs contributed to growth in their job or career.

Undergraduates going through the Transformational Leader program are already benefiting from the courses. Prashanth Ragunanthan, CASE WESTERN 2023, an electrical engineering major who currently is one of two undergraduate representatives to the Executive Committee, remembers early on in his academic career struggling to get internships because he did not have qualifications or skills that set him apart from his peers. When the Transformational Leader program was formally unveiled at the 2021 Grand Chapter in Scottsdale, Arizona, Ragunanthan knew he wanted to take all of the courses because he was so impressed by what SCLI was offering. Thus far, he’s completed the Servant Leadership, Distance Leadership, Enduring Leadership and Authentic Leadership certificates and served on the Adaptive Leadership Committee to offer feedback on the curriculum.

“In the past year and a half, I have had close to 50 interviews for many different companies that are advancing the world of engineering. I am entirely convinced that it had something to do with the fact that I had certificates from the Sigma Chi Leadership Institute on my resume at the time of application,” says Ragunanthan, who has served as his chapter’s Consul and has held additional leadership positions on campus. “What is even more surprising is that in these interviews, the employers very rarely asked me things relating to my degree or academic performance. In all of my interviews, the employers were fascinated with the soft skills that I had learned throughout all of these leadership development courses and corresponding leadership roles that I have held.”

One such electric engineering internship was curious about his time at the Horizons Huntsman Leadership Summit and offered Ragunanthan a full-time position. But, he had to turn down that offer because he recently interviewed with motion and control technologies company Parker Hannifin for its Engineering Leadership Development Program and was fortunate to receive a job offer from Parker Hannifin. Ragunanthan adds that the Transformational Leader experience has catalyzed his leadership journey, and the skills taught have served him in several scenarios.

“I’m positive that these skills will also transfer throughout my career and life,” Ragunanthan says. “The content of the courses and the many opportunities I’ve had to apply the skills I learned in these courses have provided me with the confidence and skills I needed to tackle every challenge I have had in leadership roles and my life as a whole.”

Alumni can become trained facilitators of the curriculum and also sharpen their own communication, leadership and mentorship skills by facilitating the Transformational Leader programs. In addition to facilitation, alumni can become a Foundational Mentor, where volunteers will serve as a one-on-one resource for an area chapter’s Magister and Kustos to help roll out the Foundational Leadership Certificate. It represents one of Sigma Chi’s largest targeted volunteer recruitment initiatives to ensure that chapters receive proper instruction.

In addition, many curriculum elements within the Transformational Leader program are available for outside companies, corporations and nonprofit organizations through training contracts. SCLI partnered with Purdue University’s Department of Technology Leadership and Innovation in 2021 where the two launched a six-week online course on resiliency and a strengths-based approach to personal development for enrolled students.

“Now is the time to get excited and get involved with the Transformational Leader program within Sigma Chi. The Fraternity’s vision since 2017 has been to develop an evolutionary leadership experience for its members, unmatched in the fraternal world. Backed by the industry’s highest stamp of approval of accreditation for its leadership institute, opportunities await each brother, regardless of their role in their chapter,” SCLI Executive Director Jim Cogdal, BRADLEY 2003, says. “Whether its Krach Transformational Leaders Workshop, Horizons Huntsman Leadership Summit or perhaps going onto Sigma Chi Online and engaging in Distance Leadership, the 2023-2024 year will be a calendar of potential for Sigma Chis looking to transform their skills and take them to the next level.”

For more information about the Transformational Leader program and to become a trained facilitator in delivering the curriculum, please visit

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