Ashoka U - Cordes Innovation Award

The Ashoka U-Cordes Innovation Award is Ashoha U’s top honor for premiere individual programs in social innovation education. It recognizes high impact and highly replicable education innovations. Awardees include pioneering teaching models, co-curricular programming, community partnerships, and research. Since 2011, Ashoka U has honored Awardees during the Exchange. Learn about more about each previous Innovation Awardees here.

2017 Cordes Award Categories

In 2017, the Cordes Innovation Award will honor the top best practice in each of the following categories as they relate to social innovation education:

1. Academic Student Learning
2. Student Pathways in Social Innovation Education
3. Community Partnerships
4. Student Services & Student Affairs

Awardee Selection

To select the top programs Ashoka U hosts a three-round application process including a judging panel of experts in social innovation and higher education.

  • Round 1: Apply to present best practice at the Exchange
    • When: August 1 – October 5
    • Who: All best practice applicants
  • Round 2: Selected applicants will receive an supplementary application to complete
    • When: Early November
    • Who: Selected best practice applicants
  • Round 3: Based on the supplementary applications, semi-finalists will be selected for the judging panel. The judges will evaluate the program based on the Exchange application and supplementary application.
    • When: December
    • Who: 15 Semi-Finalists

Please note: Awardees will be notified in January 2017.

Evaluation Criteria

The 2017 Ashoka U-Cordes Innovation Awardees will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Innovation:  The model demonstrates creativity, a deep understanding of the levers and barriers in higher education, and addresses a clear opportunity for advancing an entrepreneurial or socially impactful mindset, skillset, and culture for the university context.
  • ReplicationThe innovation may be easily adapted without losing quality. The innovation should be able to spread with relative ease, increasing efficiency and impact with every replication. Replication may be across different universities, disciplines, or with partner organizations.
  • Maturity: There is evidence of refinement and iteration of the model over time, proving that the innovation is at a stage of maturity to effectively share lessons learned and contribute to the field. It is clear that the idea is no longer in the early ideation phase.

The 2017 Innovation Awardees will present during a keynote awards ceremony at the Ashoka U Exchange on March 2-4, 2017 in Miami, Florida.  Awardees will be featured on a special section of to showcase their innovation and partnership opportunities.

Cordes Hall of Fame

The Ashoka U – Cordes Innovation Award program was founded in 2011 and featured at the first Ashoka U Exchange at Duke University. To date, Ashoka U and the Cordes Foundation have recognized 35 outstanding curricular, co-curricular, research and applied learning innovation in higher education.

Now, Ashoka U wants to answer the question: How have these award-winning models scaled and impacted the field of social innovation education?

In 2015, Ashoka U and the Cordes Foundation launched the Cordes Innovation Award Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame recognizes top Innovation Awardees that have significantly impacted the way colleges and universities embed social innovation into the core fabric of higher education.