Frequently Asked Questions about RLI and the Great Lakes Division

What is the mission of The Rotary Leadership Institute?
Why do we need a leadership institute?
What is RLI Great Lakes Division?
What are the courses?
When and where are the courses held?
What are the teaching methods?
Who are the Facilitators?
Who should be nominated to attend the Institute courses?
What are the costs & what does it cover?
Should our club participate?

What is our mission? The mission of The Rotary Leadership Institute is to provide an educational opportunity for Rotarians identified as potential leaders by their club presidents. Each club president is asked annually to nominate club members as potential club leaders (not necessarily future presidents) in the years ahead. Courses will be given for the nominees to foster Rotary knowledge and leadership skills. It is hoped that these courses will also motivate the participants to be enthusiastic, creative and dedicated Rotarians. Those attending the three course days for their full duration will receive recognition of completion, including a certificate of completion and special Rotary Leadership Institute pin. Course methods will reflect the most innovative and participatory methods possible. Methods will include discussion groups, role-playing, problem solving workshops, and group planning exercises. Lectures are limited.

Why do we need a leadership institute? Rotary needs a constant influx of leadership as club officers change every year. It is difficult at the club level to learn enough about the exciting world of Rotary with its 1.2 million members in 200 countries. Furthermore, leadership skills in a voluntary organization are often different from business leadership skills. It is important that club leaders have every opportunity for education, because the success or failure of our clubs depends in large part on the quality of their leaders.

What is RLI Great Lakes Division? In 2009, three districts from our multi-district PETS formed a partnership to bring The Rotary Leadership Institute to our area. Districts 6290, 6360 and 6380 made up the original division. The division started delivering the program locally. In 2010, District 6540 joined the division, and in 2012, we welcomed District 6310.

What are the courses? The Institute offers a leadership course in three full day parts (Parts I, II, III), plus a Graduate course for those who have completed all three of the previous parts. The courses are designed to provide Rotary knowledge and to develop leadership skills for voluntary organizations. Some examples of course sessions include, "Rotary Beyond the Club," "Membership Retention and Recruitment, " "Leadership Characteristics," "Service Projects,” "Ethics and Vocational Service", The Rotary Foundation," "Analyzing Your Rotary Club” and more.

When and where are the courses held? Courses are held at various locations throughout the year to accommodate the Rotary clubs in the member districts. Any nominee may take a course in any location. All courses start with registration at 8:00 a.m. A full breakfast is served. Classes are from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Lunch is provided. Courses are listed on the RLI website, where online registration is available. Here on this site at for example.

What are the teaching methods? The Institute believes in course sessions with as much discussion and participation as possible. Discussion breakout sessions are limited to approximately 10-15 persons. Lectures are strictly limited. Course methods include discussion groups, role-playing, problem solving activities, and creating projects. Everyone participates during one of the Institute's sessions. A course workbook containing an Institute Manual, session program agendas, and course outlines and materials, is provided to each attendee.

Who are the Facilitators? The Discussion Leaders are carefully selected by the Institute for their facilitation abilities. They are drawn from all areas of the member districts and occasionally from outside the member districts. Most are past district governors who have also attended an RLI certification program. Past club presidents who have completed all three parts and have been certified may also serve as Facilitators. The results of evaluations help the Institute to improve the course content and instruction.

Who should be nominated to attend the Institute courses? The Institute recommends that clubs nominate those Rotarians who appear to have the potential for club leadership, not necessarily as future presidents. They should preferably be at least 3-4 years away from a possible presidency or other key leadership post. They should certainly have a strong interest in Rotary and be ready to be exposed to the larger world of Rotary. The Institute requests each club to nominate one or two Rotarians each year. In addition, all interested Rotarians are welcome to nominate themselves for the Institute by completing the registration form.

What are the costs? RLI Great Lakes Division expects the program to be self-sustaining. Fees vary depending on location, but do not currently exceed $79.00 per registrant per day. The fees include full breakfast, lunch, coffee breaks and considerable materials given to participants. Course fees also pay for meeting space and promotional costs. The Institute strongly recommends that clubs pay the fees for their participants. The positive networking with other Rotarian leaders and the Service Above Self are a bonus!

Should our club participate? If your club cares about its future, it will want the best leadership possible. This is an outstanding opportunity for each club to improve the Rotary knowledge of its key people, who will also be exposed to new ideas of leadership. The exchange of ideas with other experienced Rotarians alone makes the courses worthwhile.