Developing Cross-Sector Leadership for Social Impact

As members of a university community, our team has the privilege and opportunity to prepare students for leadership roles in contributing to positive social impact. Among these students and across society, there is a growing recognition that all sectors – business, public and private nonprofit – have a role to play in creating social impact, both positive and negative. This fall, our team is teaching a first-of-its kind course: Social Impact Strategy, Analysis, and Leadership. Open to advanced undergraduate and graduate students from all schools, the course offers an opportunity for a diverse and select group of students to understand how to translate their good intentions into real and meaningful change. Here’s why some of them are taking the class:

Building social impact acumen is what differentiates the good and the great: Great leaders innovate and bring about meaningful positive changes to others. That’s why I’m here: To be great!

-Viviana Wu, Masters of Science in Nonprofit Leadership, School of Social Policy and Practice

As an undergrad, I study History because I love to deepen my understanding of past human societies, efforts, and passions.  This class offers a different and exciting opportunity for me to think about the modern world, and to build a practical “toolbox” for improving current social issues.

-Hannah Dardashti, School of Arts and Sciences ’15

Social impacts won’t happen without the cooperation of different professions and interest groups, especially with the business world nowadays. I’ve witnessed the trend in engaging [for]profit and nonprofit organizations together in order to make bigger and more efficient social impacts, and I’m looking forward to making some contribution in that area.

-Meixuan Li, Masters of Social Work, School of Social Policy and Practice

I have extensive experience working with youth, and yet when it comes to fully understanding how to address complex social issues such as mass incarceration or institutionalized racism, I struggle. SWRK 798 appealled to me for the following reasons: 1) I am determined to learn how I can intentionally address social issues in a manner that is holistic, long lasting and impactful, and 2) I want to acquire the language necessary in cultivating cross-sector partnerships with individuals and organizations committed to social change.

-Carly Friedman, Masters of Science in Nonprofit Leadership, School of Social Policy and Practice

Some students may choose to work in a nonprofit or philanthropic organization. Some will seek employment in a social purpose business or may launch a social entrepreneurial venture. Others will contribute to shaping effective policy and legislation. Still others expect to earn a living in a more traditional for-profit company but know they will be in a position to affect change through philanthropy, impact investing, and corporate social responsibility efforts. No matter the role or sector, our hope is that this class – and the relationships it forges – will help these students and the communities they affect, create more and lasting positive social impact.