Beeta Ansari

Beeta is Ashoka U’s Exchange Director, the world’s largest global convening for social entrepreneurship education.

A New Phase of Leadership and Impact for Ashoka U

Looking back to look forward
From very humble beginnings over 13 years ago, this incredible community of Ashoka U campus leaders has grown to encompass over 5000 individuals representing more than 600 colleges and universities from all across the world – 52 of which have been recognized as Changemaker Campuses.

Ashoka defines a changemaker as “someone who imagines a new reality, takes action, and collaborates with others to bring that new reality into being for the good of others.” Together, in partnership with all of you, we spent the last 13 years working to transform higher education to equip millions of changemakers around the world – students from all disciplines, but also faculty, staff, administrators, and community stakeholders.

This network of innovators has fundamentally changed the conversation from a narrow focus on graduating social entrepreneurs from elite institutions to a more accessible and inclusive narrative that includes many pathways for contributing to social impact. We now have global examples of changemaking embedded across a wide array of higher education institutions, including community colleges, liberal arts institutions, public research universities, and minority-serving institutions. The institutions within this network serve students from diverse backgrounds with different interests, goals, and life experiences.

Introducing a new leader for Ashoka U
As Ashoka U moves into a new phase of impact and engagement, we are incredibly excited to announce Heather MacCleoud as our next Ashoka U Global leader. Heather will take on the role of Ashoka U’s Chief Network Officer, and will be your key point of contact moving forward for Ashoka U.

Heather comes to our network with deep experience navigating complexity and cultivating learning communities, she takes on ambitious challenges with confidence and grace, is guided by a sense of equity and justice, and has plans to create clear mechanisms for on-going strategic engagement for Changemaker Campuses and the thousands of members in the Ashoka U network around the globe as we build more and more ties across the Ashoka ecosystem for real-world impact and major influence around creating a world where “Everyone is a Changemaker” (EACH).

Heather looks forward to working with key leaders and institutions in the Ashoka U community to build the next phase of network leadership and impact.

Moving forward, Heather’s role will be focused on a few key areas:

  • Changemaker Campus network engagement and strategy
  • Strategic partnerships and thought leadership for global “Everyone a Changemaker” influence
  • Alignment and integration with Ashoka programs, country offices, and Fellows

Looking forward – how to embody a movement for real-world impact?
Building on our strong foundation and culture, Ashoka U will continue to support the changemaking movement and leadership that has emerged over the past 13 years. We hope that you can see how powerful you are – as individuals, as institutions, and as influencers.

We have come so far, but there is still much to be done and many ways we can evolve to more fully realize and create the “EVERYONE a changemaker” vision that is Ashoka’s North Star and our shared goal. As we have seen from the past year, even in a global pandemic and recession, the culture and skills of changemaking are only becoming more valuable and more urgent for everyone to have. These are now vital life skills – essential for resilience and success in a world where the only constant is change.

We are beginning to see glimmers of new models, many of which are in their early stages but are incredible signs of a next wave of innovations to come. A few examples (out of many) within the Ashoka U network include:

  • Questions about changemaking have begun to appear in college and university application processes.
  • Changemaker Campuses and others in the Ashoka U network have been hosting country- and region-wide summits to build ecosystems around changemaking education.
  • Colleges and universities have been partnering with K-12 systems to ensure that students are given opportunities to develop changemaking competencies throughout their educational journey.
  • Higher education institutions have partnered with employers to become high-quality pipelines for changemaker talent.
  • Knowledge, skills, and attitudes related to innovation, impact, and changemaking are being identified by key accrediting bodies as essential competencies and integrated into accreditation standards.

What would the world be like in 10 years if the full force of our community was put towards creating this world?

  • Imagine hundreds or even thousands of Changemaker Cities, as well as Changemaker Regions, and Changemaker Countries, anchored by campuses…
  • Imagine if ALL students had to talk about their dreams of making change as part of the admissions process for college…
  • Imagine if colleges and universities around the world used their convening power to build regional ecosystems around changemaking…
  • Imagine if educators and leaders from higher education and K-12 partnered to embed changemaking as a core learning focus throughout a student’s educational journey…
  • Imagine if measurement of changemaker attributes was easy, standardized, replicable, and baked into accreditation standards across many regions…

Over the past 13 years, Ashoka U was born and grew into the powerful global network that it is today. In the next decade, we envision a world where this network continues to grow and to spread influence and ideas. We hope you will join us as we continue creating a world where higher education catalyzes the systems and framework changes needed so that Everyone is a Changemaker!

Please contact us here.