Social Innovation and Enterprise

Innovation & Social Enterprise Minor

The Innovation & Social Enterprise (ISE) minor aims to inspire and equip students to start and operate their own ventures. As defined here, a social enterprise is any organization (non-profit or business), event or initiative that is largely motivated by a desire for social change or impact. This minor compliments any major and seeks to develop student-driven initiative, creativity, teamwork, experiential learning, and practical solutions to real-world challenges. Additionally, this field of study has a natural bias toward international development and sustainability issues, product/service development, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and grassroots leadership. Courses offer the basic fundamentals of crafting a vision and coordinating stakeholders and resources as required to sustain new and growing organizations.

Students who successfully complete the program will be able to demonstrate:

  • A capacity to translate personal convictions and ideas into tangible words, products, services and organizations
  • Deep empathy, as required to understand the needs of those they hope to serve
  • A solid grasp of entrepreneurial concepts, including the multiple purposes, recent changes, institutional types, and difficulties and advantages of new ventures
  • Foundational skills required to fulfill the various functions of managing a new venture
  • Confidence in planning, testing, experimenting and failing for the sake of learning how best to solve real-world challenges
  • Awareness of relevant moral and social issues and a facility for navigating competing stakeholder values
  • An understanding of basic challenges and strategies associated with making, communicating and sustaining change
  • An increased capacity for extending a major field of study toward practical application
  • An increased capacity for connecting personal and vocational ambitions to existing courses offered across campus

Students will meet with the minor advisor in order to craft a personal plan for making the most of this minor, combining the required courses with electives that are coherent with their own convictions and vocational ambitions.

REQUIRED COURSES (16 credits):

ISE205 Introduction to Social Enterprise (4) – offered in the Fall

ISE206 Innovation: Theory to Practice (4) – offered in the Spring

ISE425 Immersion Internship (4) – offered each semester throughout the year

One of the following:

ISE 308 Resourcing Change for the Greater Good (4)

ECB 374 Small Business Management (4) 

ELECTIVE COURSES (8 credits selected from courses such as the following):

BCM215 Foundations for Global Christianity

BCM216 Contemporary Developments in World Missions

BCM253 Leadership Theories and Practice

BCM260 Christian Formation in Cultural Contexts

BCM241 Family & Adolescent Counseling

BCM253 Leadership Theory & Practice

BIO302 Crops and Society

BIO304 Conservation Biology

BIO Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies (off-campus)

BIO/NSM222 Environmental Science

BUS201 Introduction to Urban Studies

BUS215 Arts in the City

COM248 Intercultural Communication

COM325 Advanced Writing in PR/Advertising

CPS403 Computers and Society

ECB Organizational Behavior

ECB Christian Teaching on the Economy

ECB Principles of Marketing

ECB349 Leadership in and of Organizations

ECB201 Principles of Micro-economics

ECB245 Principles of Management

EDU118 Schools and Society

EDU225 Human Development and Learning

EDU226 Adolescent Development and Learning

EDU366 Contexts of the Urban School

ENG Literature & Human Rights

FRE493/494 Seminar in African Studies

HIS240 Christianity and the Modern World

HIS341 Eastern Europe, Byzantium, and the Caucasus

HIS344 Medieval Islam & Middle East

ISE291 Developing Enterprises in Rwanda

NON310 Foundations of Work/Vocation

NON312 Vocation: Discernment, Decision-Making

NSM220 Human Biology, Health and Disease

PHI233 Environmental Ethics

PHI240 Philosophy of Women: Women's Knowing, Doing, Being

PHI325 Eastern Philosophy & Religion

POL210 Introduction to Comparative Politics

POL219 Politics in a Developing Country Context

POL312 Justice

POL Religion & International Affairs

PSY244 Developmental Psychology

PSY256 Research Methods I

RSW218 Programming and Evaluation in Recreation

RSW318 Recreation Leadership

RSW492 Leisure Theories and Cultural Values

SOC/SWK250 Peacemaking: Personal, Social, Global

SOC371 Leading for the Common Good

SWK201 Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare

See course descriptions below and under Innovation & Social Enterprise section of the catalog.


ISE205 Introduction to Social Enterprise (4): An introduction to the purpose and practicalities of entrepreneurial activity and the creative process that establishes new organizations (non-profit, business, hybrid, etc.). This course offers practical guidance for students from any major interested in starting (or managing) an organization with an explicit social or environmental mandate. This course provides an overview of the central concepts of entrepreneurship, as segmented into the individual factors, institutional varieties and common challenges facing this dynamic process. These topics will be brought to life by case studies, discussion and group exercises that offer students the opportunity to use entrepreneurial thinking and wield enterprising power as relevant for animating their own personal convictions. This class will serve as inspiration and training ground for those curious to know if they can develop the creativity and determination necessary to start an organization.

ISE206 Innovation: Theory to Practice (4): An introduction to innovation, from abstract origin to practical implementation. This course offers practical guidance for students from any major interesting in understanding better how new products and services are built (invention), shared (marketing) and used to impact our world. Innovative thinking will be brought to life by human-centered design prescriptions, case studies, discussion and group exercises that offer students the opportunity to employ their own innovative thinking and wield creative power as relevant for addressing real-world challenges. This class will serve as inspiration and training ground for those curious to know if they can develop the creativity and determination necessary to launch new products and services.

ISE308 Resourcing Change for the Greater Good  (4): The world needs change of the type your organization can bring. How will you deliver such change? Resourcing is vital. Resources--especially funding and dedicated people--are the power behind innovative ideas that create positive change. This course studies methodologies for nurturing human and financial resources within a nonprofit context for delivering greater good. Along the way, you will also learn concepts associated with organizational management, financial management, the development of ideas that are credible and fundable, and perhaps most importantly, how to rally others that share your passion and purpose.

ISE425 Immersion Internship (4): Experience with a nonprofit organization is designed to give the student exposure to administrative functions of an organization operating within the field related to the student's major or other interests. Classroom discussion sessions and written assignments will be given intended to demonstrate understanding of structure and operation of nonprofit organizations as well as accomplishments of the student.

ISE291 Developing Enterprises in Rwanda (4): An exploration into one of the most beautiful and hopeful countries in Africa. This international seminar introduces students experientially to the needs of a poor developing country and a diverse array of emerging models for development. Class sessions will be dedicated to the complex social issues and emerging solutions found in the nascent field of social enterprise and development (non-profit, government, missions and business) to alleviate poverty. Students will also have the chance to put their knowledge and compassion to use through service (similar to an intense, 3-day service project) with an organization of their choice, while working indirectly and directly for the benefit of Rwandan development.


For more information, please contact:

Carter Crockett, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership