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Widener Sophomore Named to Board of Character Education Partnership

When Janelle Rouse decided switch majors and transfer to another college, she looked for a school that offered her new major and encouraged service and civic engagement. What she didn’t expect when she transferred Widener University in Chester, Pa. was the leadership opportunities she would have. The sophomore special education from Washington, D.C. was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the Character Education Partnership, a national organization committed to developing civic virtue and moral character in America’s youth.
Janelle Rouse
Rouse is part of the inaugural class of Oskin Leaders, a cohort of undergraduate students selected by the Oskin Leadership Institute at Widener to receive leadership training and one-on-one coaching. The aim of the program is to inspire each student to design and launch a leadership project during their junior and senior year.

For her leadership project, Rouse is working to develop character-focused education in the Chester Upland School District. Because of her chosen project, and her burgeoning leadership skills, Dr. Arthur Schwartz, executive director of the Oskin Leadership Institute, nominated Rouse for a position on the board of the Character Education Partnership.

"As a student passionate about character education, my goal is to develop a program that helps both students and faculty focus on the values of good character both in and out of the classrooms," Rouse said. "With this focus in the classroom, I hope to gain the assistance of fellow colleagues in an effort to have them mentor students in Chester and to work with instructors to develop character for young people."

The Character Education Partnership's Board of Directors, among other responsibilities, sets the strategic direction for the organization and supports fundraising activities and other broad policy matters relating to the organization's purpose. Rouse, who is one of two students named to the board, will serve a three-year term.

In addition to being an Oskin Leader, Rouse is in the Widener Presidential Service Corps/Bonner Leaders program, contributing 300 hours of community service each year in the city of Chester and participating in training and enrichment activities that help develop leadership skills. Rouse earned a scholarship to Widener for serving a year with City Year in Washington, D.C.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener comprises eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate's, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees. The university's campuses in Chester, Exton, and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve some 6,500 students. Visit the university website,