Hamilton College Changemaker Campus

Hamilton College was founded more than 200 years ago as a school of opportunity and transformation. It was conceived and established by a missionary who viewed education as part of the solution to the difficulties that confronted the Oneida Indians he served, and it was named for a statesman whose education vaulted him from poverty to prominence in the new republic. Today, in line with our tradition, we seek to nourish in our students a love of learning, a creative spirit, and an informed and responsible engagement with an ever-changing world.

The Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center, where much of this programming occurs at Hamilton, collaborates with individuals, departments, and centers across campus to create a network of support for our social innovators.  The Center has integrated Ashoka’s “Everyone a Changemaker” philosophy into its Social Innovation, Transformational Leadership, Public Scholarship, and Engaged Citizenship programs and aims to foster in our students:

1) a self-knowledge of the values that inspire them, the skills that enable them, and the challenges that confront them;
2) a deep understanding of the complexity of social problems, the constraints of action, and the possibilities for change;
3) an ability to effectively imagine and empathetically respond to the experiences of others; and
4) a creative spirit for envisioning novel solutions to longstanding social problems.

Social Innovation Fellows

The Social Innovation Fellows program prepares and supports students who envision, design, and implement innovative approaches to persistent social problems. The program includes a week-long workshop modeled after an award-winning course taught at Cornell University by Anke Wessels. Students whose projects are selected for funding also receive guidance about developing networks and mentoring support from alumni and community members. Funding is flexible and can be used for summer work or for projects conducted during the academic year. Previous grants have funded a combined SAT prep and social innovation training program in Ethiopia, the development of a portable solar device, and a life coach training program for at-risk students in the Washington, D.C., school system.

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Levitt Leadership Institute

The Levitt Leadership Institute is a two-week intensive training program that focuses Hamilton students on developing transformational leadership skills such as a global orientation, self-knowledge, ethical behaviors, and regard for the public good. The Institute, which is modeled on the programs used to train the senior Foreign Service staff in the U.S. government, is led by former U.S. Ambassador Prudence Bushnell and Christine Powers. Ambassador Bushnell conducted leadership training for senior State Department officials under Secretary of State Colin Powell; Ms. Powers managed senior leadership training at the State Department from 2007-2010 and continues to train senior embassy staff. The first week of the Institute is held on the Hamilton College campus and focuses on self-awareness, self-management, relationship-management, and communication skills. The second week is held in Washington, D.C., and focuses on problem solving, decision-making, motivation, networking, and conflict resolution. After the Institute, participants receive on-going support for the design and implementation of commitment-to-action projects.

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Course Development Grants

The Dean of Faculty and the Levitt Center provide grants to faculty members wishing to incorporate the theory and practice of social change, using the lens of transformational leadership and social innovation, into a new or existing course. These grants support Hamilton College’s educational goals, especially the development of student creativity, and a commitment to ethical, informed and engaged citizenship. Courses may be taught in any department, and topics and pedagogies may vary. It is expected that faculty members will teach a course in their field that helps students gain the academic knowledge and relevant skills needed to address persistent social problems in an effective, innovative, and meaningful way. Six grants were awarded in 2014 to faculty members in the departments of anthropology, communication studies, government, philosophy, and women’s studies.

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Julio Videras Director of the Levitt Center and Professor of Economics

Chris Willemsen Associate Director of the Levitt Center

Marianne Janack Professor of Philosophy

Ambassador Prudence Bushnell (Rtd) Senior Leadership Fellow

Chaise LaDousa Associate Professor of Anthropology

Susan Mason Director of Education Studies

Todd Rayne Professor of Geo-Sciences

Patrick Reynolds Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs

Eren Shultz Hamilton Class of ‘15

Tsion Tesfaye Hamilton Class of ‘16

Nancy Thompson Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs

Stephen Wu Professor of Economics

Changemaker Campus

Launched in 2008, Ashoka offers the Changemaker Campus designation to leading institutions in social innovation education. These institutions share the vision for higher education to become the next global driver of social change by transforming the educational experience into a world-changing experience.