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Our Mission

The Program for Leadership and Character inspires, educates, and empowers leaders of character to serve humanity. Through innovative teaching, creative programming, and cutting-edge research, we aim to transform the lives of students, foster an inclusive culture of leadership and character at Wake Forest, and catalyze a broader public conversation that places character at the center of leadership.

Over the last decade, Wake Forest faculty have become leading experts in the study of character. The Program for Leadership and Character is now using this groundbreaking research to develop creative, liberal arts-based programming to transform the lives of our students.

We are excited to share who we are and what we aspire to do. We hope you will join us in this effort.


Senior Orators Reflect On Their College Experience
U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo visits Wake Forest University
$8.6 million Kern Family Foundation Grant Funds Character and the Professions Programs

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We teach courses on leadership and character and equip others to develop relevant courses.

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College Programming

Our outside-the-classroom programs equip students to develop the character needed to lead with integrity.

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Professional Schools

Our efforts in the professional schools prepare students to be leaders and professionals of character.

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We host conferences to facilitate broader reflection on leadership and character beyond Wake Forest.

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Learn more about yourself and others through a Call to Conversation.

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We use rigorous research to assess our programs and share our results.

How does kintsugi cultivate the virtue of resilience? Our Director of Programming, @ann_phelps teaches the ancient Japanese art form of mending ceramics. Over the summer, Ann led a workshop for students, staff, and community members to practice kintsugi by mending ceramics with liquid gold. Kintsugi allows us to reshape broken items and appreciate them, despite their brokenness.

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“After Eden” by Mary Costanza, ‘21, dancer

For more information about Performing Character: From Stage to Page, click the link in our bio.

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“Breathborn(e)” by Brianna Coppolino, ‘22, singer

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“A Love Letter to the Theatre” by Adarian Sneed ‘22

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What is a performer without a stage? Student performers respond to this question by reflecting on the arts’ influence on their character while unable to perform during the pandemic. Students shared their stories by reading from their publication, Performing Character: from Stage to Page at the Leadership and Character and the Arts Showcase. Over the next few days a brief selection from each of their readings will be shared.

“Realizing Home” by Katherine Finch, ‘22, dancer

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How do empathy and problem solving go together? Students in Dr. Johann Ducharme’s entrepreneurship course, ENT 304: Creative Problem Solving, spent eight weeks last semester exploring and understanding “wicked problems” in the Winston-Salem community. After students narrowed down their problem, they used creative problem solving to develop bold initiatives that would benefit the community. Here, @bampurcell and @jblittner27 explain their wicked problems, their process, and their potential solutions.

Dr. Ducharme is a postdoctoral fellow for character education in the Program for Leadership and Character. You can read more about his class by following the link in our bio.

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That’s a wrap! Seven students spent eight weeks in the Principled Pluralism Fellowship this summer led by Dr. Bradley Burroughs, our Program’s assistant director in Religious Life. Students spent time discussing several topics including political polarization, religious diversity, and the virtues that help to sustain a pluralistic society.

The Principled Pluralism Fellowship helps students develop the skills and virtues needed to collaborate despite differences in views or opinions. This summer’s participants learned the importance of listening and understanding before judging others. “In the midst of a society divided in so many ways,” Burroughs noted, “it is inspiring to see students who are so dedicated to finding ways to work together even with those who hold different views.”

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An alliance, you say.

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Well, we tried it. 🤔

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