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Leadership and Social Innovation

Leadership and Social Innovation

In your future, the lines between activism and entrepreneurship, business and social innovation will continue to blur. Businesses will take new forms, and innovation and collective ownership and action will be applied to meet the world’s most pressing challenges. Climate. Equity. Affordable housing. Food security. Justice.

Boler’s new Bachelor of Arts in Leadership and Social Innovation will prepare you to stand among society’s brightest — leaders and entrepreneurs who don’t hesitate to bring courage, compassion, and creativity to address societal needs. You will gain the skills and mindsets required to affect meaningful change in conscientious and impactful ways. You will learn foundational concepts across disciplines — finance, law, sociology, history, management, marketing — and bring habits of reflection and self-awareness about your role as a collaborator, convener and leader.

Community-based activities and research, and experiential learning opportunities in the Capstone and through co-op experience will give you a 360-view of markets, communities and policy and empower you to actively advocate for inclusion and social justice.

What You Will Do

Most people come to social innovation and entrepreneurship with a sense of a calling, a persistent vision that organizations and businesses can achieve an improved social outcome. The creation and taking to scale of enterprises in the social sector, whether nonprofit or for-profit, is at the core of social entrepreneurship.

Social innovators and entrepreneurs apply their skills across a vast range of careers and settings, inevitably connected to the world’s more pressing challenges (health, housing, climate, food security, and economic justice).

You might work for a land trust or other non-profit protecting important land, wildlife or ecosystems.  You might work for a company engaged with engineering clean air and water or improving sustainable agriculture. You might serve a global non-government organization (NGO) working in the United States or abroad to bring systemic and sustainable business solutions to improve the lives of millions of people. Examples include mobile medical clinics; homeless youth shelters; microfinance; clean water initiatives; or architectural initiatives to bring more sustainable design to communities at risk of climate disasters.

What You Will Learn

You will be guided through in-depth study across a foundation of leadership and entrepreneurship courses, as well as courses across disciplines. You will apply classroom and experiential learning to lead efforts to create sustainable impact in their communities and beyond.

You will learn to get comfortable at the intersection of business, non-profit and social entrepreneurship enterprise, including social purpose business ventures such as for-profit community development banks, and hybrid organizations mixing not-for-profit and for-profit elements, such as homeless shelters that start businesses to train and employ their residents. You will gain confidence in your ability to see opportunity where others see only obstacles and sharpen your instinct for applying the most effective methods to serve social missions. You will learn to trust a process of continuous innovation, adaptation, and learning, and to act boldly without being limited by resources currently in hand.

Core finance and management skills will emphasize heightened accountability to the constituencies served and for the outcomes created, as well as the need for sound operations to create lasting social value.

Leadership and Social Innovation Program Requirements

You will complete 45 total credits, as follows:

  • 15 “core” credits (a “problem solving” bundle, along with Entrepreneurship courses and Leadership courses)
  • 3 “capstone” credits (a unique sequence whereby students propose and implement a project to create sustainable economic or social value in a Cleveland community)
  • 15 “skills” credits
  • 12 credits in an area of concentration, including a three-credit co-op
  • Courses in a minimum of seven disciplines
  • Community-Based Activities and Research
  • Required additional experiential learning opportunities in Capstone courses and through a co-op experience that must be approved by the LSI Chairs
  • All course requirements can be found here.

A graduate can expect to achieve the following:

  • Solve complex problems, make data-driven decisions that utilize creative and critical thinking, and identify and develop new social innovation opportunities;
  • Make holistic judgments when analyzing business situations and social problems, using a strategic understanding of leadership and innovation and consider the relationships between various disciplines;
  • Make decisions that make a difference in the world;
  • Utilize empathy and interpersonal skills to be highly effective leaders;
  • Demonstrate ethical reasoning skills; understand social, civic, and professional responsibilities; aspire to add value to society; and
  • Communicate to inspire others in written and verbal form and facilitate information flow in a variety of organizational, social, and intercultural contexts.