The Student Leadership Institute (SLI) was established in 1992 as a free leadership training program for Cal State Fullerton students. This program is part of the Dean of Students Leadership and Multicultural Development Programs office. Since 1992, over 6500 students have benefited from training with over 1800 students awarded certificates of completion. The SLI program in collaboration with community colleges Santa Ana College, Santiago Canyon College, and Rio Hondo College offer similar SLI programs to students at these campuses (See Partnerships tab for more information).
The program began as a result of students working together with Student Life staff to develop a leadership training program that would specifically address the needs of college student leaders. The goal was to establish a program that would connect classroom learning with leadership education, knowledge, and opportunities in an out-of-classroom setting. Students were key in the development and overall coordination of the program. This holds true today with several students holding positions on the SLI Coordinating Committee (SLICC), SLI Intro-Team Member (SITM), or on the banquet planning committee (BPC). At its inception, SLI offered only one leadership track called University Leadership. In 1993, the EMBRACE track, which provides intercultural communications and human relationship training, was added to the program.
Today there are six tracks that provide leadership training on a variety of different topics that include diversity, professional development, public service and nonprofit, and global leadership. To recognize the accomplishments of its participants, SLI has held an annual banquet to celebrate the achievements of student leaders, presenters, and certificate recipients. Participants completing all program requirements receive a certificate of completion signed by the University President, and Vice President for Student Affairs.