Michèle Leaman

Michèle works with faculty, administrators, and students to change complex institutional systems to become more supportive environments for social entrepreneurship and changemaking.

The Change School

When the Changemaker Campuses gathered last February to collaborate on how best to build their campuses into hubs of social innovation, Laura – an undergrad at Tulane University – got inspired. “What we were doing was so amazing, but not everyone has access to the resources available at our universities … I wanted to support both students on my campus and also extend the opportunity for acquiring changemaking skills far beyond the consortium of changemaker campuses,” she says.

Laura and her partner in crime, Alan Webb, began exploring alternative and informal models of education along with cutting-edge assessment practices. “Online education has huge benefits. Most people have access and it is virtually free. But learning changemaking skills requires practical, social, and on-the-ground engagement….We had a vision of people coming together in small groups, learning from each other, and sharing the challenges that arose from their work in the community with other people online.” So Laura and Alan applied for incubation by Ashoka U and founded The Change School.

The Change School is launching a number of study circles on social innovation topics and skills next semester, and Laura is currently facilitating a pilot course entitled “Social Innovation in Education” using the P2PU online platform with students from Indonesia, Croatia, China, France, Brazil, and the US.

Laura is even connecting her work with The Change School to her courses at Tulane. “There’s a lot of cross-over,” she says. “For example, I am using my Social Innovation in Education class curriculum in Tulane’s Education in a Diverse Society course through my position as teaching assistant.” The course is currently being taught to 70 students at Tulane and Laura is proposing a University Fellows program based on the course principles of problem solving, service, and social innovation.

Laura is excited about people getting involved and starting their own study circles through The Change School. “It’s simple and so rewarding,” she says. “Communities determine what changemaker competencies are key, and then start a study circle addressing those competencies, often within the context of a subject they’re interested in, like social innovation in engineering.”

Share your knowledge and facilitate a study circle on a changemaker topic you are passionate about. “We’ve got the support system for facilitators all set up,” Laura says. “Join the Curriculum-Community of Practice and offer your thoughts and expertise on social innovation education.”

Change School – Reflections from Semester I from Alan Webb on Vimeo.

Inspire a Change School study circle. Tell us what changemaking courses you want offered at The Change School.