The Kern Family Foundation has awarded Wake Forest University an $8.6 million grant to develop programs that put character at the center of preparing students for work in the professions. This new grant complements and extends the work supported by the Lilly Endowment during recent years by building upon successes in the School of Law, creating major new initiatives in the School of Medicine, enhancing cross-disciplinary offerings, and integrating character into pre-professional programs in the college and professional schools across the university.
School of Medicine
- In the past year, Wake Forest has finalized a major partnership between its School of Medicine and Atrium Health, making the health system the fifth largest health provider in the country. Wake Forest will now be building a new campus for the School of Medicine in Charlotte and, with it, designing new curricula that provide opportunities to embed leadership and character from the school’s inception.
- The Program is helping to establish a new Center for Personal and Professional Development that will guide and support students, residents, and medical professionals in developing relevant virtues, such as compassion, empathy, resilience, and wisdom in their lives and work.
- The center intends for all medical students to be assigned a coach that will provide personalized planning and support to help them become more compassionate people, resilient professionals, and engaged community members.
School of Law
- In April 2021, the School of Law faculty adopted new mission, vision, and values statements that prioritize leadership and character.
- More School of Law faculty participated in the Program for Leadership and Character’s course development and redesign workshops and in departmental grants during the summers of 2020 and 2021 than any other department or school at Wake Forest, resulting in a diverse set of leadership- and character-oriented courses and programming that reached more than 400 law students and 50 faculty and staff.
- Leaders of law student organizations participated in three rounds of character-based leadership training in spring 2021.
- To ensure that leadership and character are embedded into the culture and curriculum of the School of Law, we are hiring three new positions—an assistant director, a curriculum and pedagogical design expert, and a visiting professor—who will ensure the effective implementation of current and planned programming and the future sustainability of this work.
School of Divinity
- The Art of Ministry Program, a foundational element of the Master of Divinity degree, sustained the character-development emphasis introduced last year. Drs. Elizabeth Whiting Pierce and Bradley Burroughs again served as leaders for the first-year seminar’s small groups.
- Drs. Burroughs and Pierce hosted the annual Wake Divinity Dialogue Series on “Shepherding Divided Flocks: Congregational Leadership Amid Partisan Strife,” and Dr. Pierce offered three “Pathways in Ministry” workshops oriented to support students’ development of the skills and virtues that aid healthy approaches to conflict (relevant virtues included curiosity, compassion, fairness, and honesty, among others).
Graduate Sustainability Program
- During winter 2022, the Program co-sponsored visits from U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo and Andrew Hoffman, the Holcim (U.S.) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan. We also partnered with the Intercultural Center to host the Indigenous Environmental Justice Leadership Series, which featured Dina Gilio-Whitaker and Donna Chavis as speakers.
- In January 2021 and 2022, Dr. Pierce led a one-hour course on professional and leadership skills for 12 students in the Graduate Sustainability Program.
- Drs. Lamb and Pierce regularly serve as guest lecturers for courses in the Graduate Sustainability Program, including Applied Sustainability and Global Human Systems.