Our Team, Oskin Leadership Institute

Dr. Arthur J. Schwartz

Arthur Schwartz

Dr. Arthur J. Schwartz joined the Oskin Leadership Institute in September, 2011, as its founding director and professor of leadership studies.

He comes to the university from the United States Air Force Academy, where he was that institution’s Senior Scholar. Prior to his Air Force Academy appointment, Dr. Schwartz served fourteen years as a senior executive with the John Templeton Foundation, including six years as its Executive Vice President.

He is widely known for collaborating with Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania in catalyzing the field of positive psychology, and he has also contributed to the field of character education, co-conceiving the idea for the award-winning National Schools of Character program, administered by the Character Education Partnership.

Previously, Dr. Schwartz served as a director of dropout prevention programs for the School District of Philadelphia. Since 1992, he has focused his research on adolescent moral development and his articles have appeared in the Harvard Educational ReviewJournal of Moral Education, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, among other publications. Dr. Schwartz received his doctorate in moral education from Harvard University and he is currently a senior fellow at the Center on Adolescence at Stanford University.

Dr. Schwartz has the honor to serve on two non-profit boards: Character.org and the International Leadership Association.  

  • Dr. Schwartz recently edited and wrote the lead chapter for Developing Ethical Leaders, a Jossey-Bass publication. Click here to read his chapter on inspiring and equipping students to be ethical leaders.
  • Dr. Schwartz presented his research on the nature of courage during a recent President’s Invited Lecture. To download a published version of his talk, click here.
  • Each month Arthur Schwartz writes a monthly column for the Philadelphia Business Journal titled “The Ethical Workplace.


 Jon Peterson

Jon PetersonJon Peterson, associate director of the Oskin Institute, directs the Executive Leader Programs.

Lt. Colonel Jon Peterson served 25 years in the Army as a helicopter pilot, unit commander and strategic planner.  In the latter part of his military career, he helped to develop the future leaders of the Army as the Professor of Military Science at Widener University.  Currently, Mr. Peterson is the Associate Director of the Oskin Leadership Institute at Widener University, where he teaches leadership to students and develops leadership programs for local, national, and international organizations.  He has designed and facilitated leadership programs for first line supervisors through management levels up to executive coaching, and has served as keynote speaker on several occasions.  Jon has been recognized for his work by the City of Philadelphia and he has been inducted into the Phi Beta Delta society, which recognizes scholarly achievement in international education.


 Deborah Amato

Deborah AmatoDeborah Amato serves as the institute’s administrative coordinator for our Leadership Certificate Program.

Ms. Amato graduated from Marist College with a baccalaureate degree in studio arts. She is responsible for coordinating all aspects of the leadership certificate program, from developing the schedule with the facilitating faculty/staff to helping students register.  She also inputs and troubleshoots each workshop in the university course management system.