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Character Initiatives at North Central College

Character Initiatives

North Central College is committed to inspiring well equipped, principled, responsible leaders. That’s why we partnered with the Kern Family Foundation, who provided a 4.5-year, $3.2 million grant—the College’s largest private grant ever—to launch character initiatives designed to have a lasting impact. 

Through this process, North Central College will be a place where educators, aspiring leaders, administrators, and community members develop social, emotional, and ethical competencies to influence transformation in themselves and others.

A Message from President Hammond

The Kern Family Foundation believes that strong character and a high-quality, rigorous education are critical to individual and organizational excellence, and contributes to flourishing communities.

Our North Central mission aligns. We are a diverse community of learners dedicated to preparing students to be curious, engaged, ethical, and purposeful citizens and leaders in local, national and global contexts.


The Kern Family Foundation

The Character Initiatives at North Central College are funded by the Kern Family Foundation. The Kern Foundation focuses on systemic change by partnering with broad-impact, long-term programs that build thriving communities. The foundation is dedicated to equipping young people with the academic skills and virtues necessary to realize their potential and contribute to the common good, and to shaping  a sense of moral responsibility that lays the foundation for a meaningful and virtuous life.

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Strategically Designed

North Central's Cultures of Character Initiatives have been designed to:

  1. Enhance the master of education in educational leadership program with scholarships, fellowships, and curriculum enhancements.
  2. Establish a Character Education Institute with a Character Education Certificate as well as a Principal Academy providing on-site coaches and mini-grant opportunities.


Master of Education Program

The master of education in educational leadership program was designed to prepare innovative, impactful leaders for PK-12 schools while meeting Illinois principal endorsement requirements. Thanks to the generosity of the Kern Family Foundation, this program also benefits from targeted scholarships, extended internship opportunities, and enhanced curriculum that prepares aspiring leaders to foster a school culture that enriches social and emotional skills.

For more information, contact or call (630) 637-5555


  • The Kern Family Foundation is enabling North Central to provide scholarships to students who are underrepresented in administrative ranks, who currently work in underserved communities, or who are committed to fostering cultures of character in schools. 
  • Candidates meeting eligibility requirements will benefit from tuition reduction throughout the entirety of their programming.
  • Participation and renewal requirements can be located on the Grants and Scholarship tab located on the master of education in educational leadership webpage.
Male Standing

Educational Leadership Fellowship

  • Fellowship funding will cover the cost of a full-time substitute, allowing the educational leadership candidate an opportunity to engage in a semester-long internship with a dedicated principal mentor. Those selected for this opportunity will learn to lead a school by working as part of the administrative team-all without disrupting the educator's regular employment income.
  • More information, including how to apply for the fellowship, will be available once accepted into the educational leadership program. North Central College will work with candidates to coordinate agreements with local school districts.


Character Education Institute

The Character Education Institute delivers programs and professional development for teachers, administrators, undergraduate education majors, and other community stakeholders to foster thriving communities of character in their areas of influence.

Character Education Certificate

Launching in 2020

This certificate program will be open to eligible undergraduate education majors, practicing teachers and administrators, and other community stakeholders interested in studying a virtue ethics core that addresses both pedagogy and content.

Male and Female

Cultures of Character Academy

Launching in 2021

This academy, open to principals and other administrative leaders, will demonstrate how to use character education to facilitate school improvement. Mini-grant opportunities will be available and trained coaches will provide support and mentoring on-site.


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M.Ed. in Educational Leadership Details

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