Oskin Leaders Program

Leadership Competition

Students love to compete and perform. It is inconceivable to ask a college athlete to practice hard but not have the opportunity to compete. Imagine how difficult it would be to recruit students to join the debate team if the students never competed against other teams. Substitute the word performance for competition and the logic still holds. It doesn’t make any sense for students to spend weeks and weeks preparing for a music recital or a theatre performance without the expectation and excitement of performing before a live audience.

Yet there is no robust “practice field” where students can apply learning in a context that challenges and stretches them to the boundaries of their knowledge, skills and abilities. The Oskin Leadership Institute, along with faculty from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio, aim to address this gap in the field of leader development. The two Universities are working together to create a leadership competition for students who want to develop their leadership muscles.

Six students from Widener University and six students from John Carroll University competed against each other on April 11, 2016. Nine different events and head to head competition was judged by six leadership experts.   

Three Components of the Competition

  1. Assessment of Leadership Knowledge (30% of score)
    The two teams have agreed upon a list of 18 Core Concepts that the student participants from both Universities will be asked to learn, understand and recognize. Using a game format (think Jeopardy), the students will be challenged to know and see each of the 18 Core Concepts.
  2. Demonstration of Leadership Skills and Behaviors (60% of score)
    The bulk of the competition will place students in situations where they will need to exhibit a wide range of leadership skills and behaviors. These “events” will include challenging the participating students to lead under the stress of a deadline or confounding variable.
  3. Reflecting and learning from the experience (10% of score)
    There are some leader educators who believe that self-awareness is at the heart of leader development. The competition will measure each student’s ability to reflect on experience and learn from that experience.

Students from each university meet once a week.  

The six students selected by the Oskin Institute to compete on behalf of Widener University are:


Adrienne Phelps
Sophomore bio-medical engineering major
Sophomore nursing major DSC01613
Janelle Rouse
Senior psychology major DSC01609
Kevin Shaddock
Senior psychology major
Tyler Virgilio
Sophomore hospitality management major C:\Users\Owner\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\DSC01611.jpg
William Dahm
Sophomore psychology major