Michèle Leaman

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

Three New Universities Designated as Changemaker Campuses

Boston College, Dublin City University and University of Northampton Join Exclusive Network of Colleges and Universities Recognized for Social Innovation

(March 18, 2013 – Arlington, VA) Three leading universities have been designated as Changemaker Campuses by Ashoka U —for being leaders in social innovation education. Boston College, Dublin City University (Ireland), and University of Northampton (UK) will join the Changemaker Campus consortium—a dynamic, global network of students, faculty and fellows who share inspiration, connections and support.

The network is dedicated to making higher education more accessible and relevant at a time of rising costs, dropping endowment returns and troubling unemployment rates for graduating students among higher education institutions. At the same time, today’s students’ expectations of their educational experiences are changing: 72% percent say that having a job “where I can make a difference” is very important and 65% expect to make a positive social or environmental impact through their work, according to a 2012 Net Impact study conducted by Rutgers University and supported by the MacArthur Foundation.

“The educational goals of students are changing,” said Ashoka U’s co-founder and executive director, Marina Kim. “These student demands add a new dimension to the call for innovation in higher education: How can colleges and universities foster the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that equip graduates to address increasingly complex global challenges? Every student should get the chance to acquire the skills necessary to make a difference in the world.”

Ashoka Founder and CEO Bill Drayton with President Brian MacCraith at the Changemaker Campus Designation Ceremony

Ashoka Founder and CEO Bill Drayton with President Brian MacCraith of Dublin City University at the Changemaker Campus Designation Ceremony

Boston College, Dublin City University (Ireland), and University of Northampton (UK) were selected as Changemaker Campuses based on their unique contribution to social innovation education.

  • Boston College, a Jesuit institution, utilizes social innovation as a pathway to social justice. As the first institution to launch a social innovation program from the Graduate School of Social Work, Boston College not only provides students the opportunity to become changemakers through its Social Innovation and Leadership master’s degree, but also invites traditional service agencies and community organizations to build social innovation capacity by participating in BC’s Social Innovation Lab.
  • Working closely with social partners from some of Dublin’s most disadvantaged communities, Dublin City University accompanies the entire lifecycle to cultivate more diverse changemakers. Starting with the Access Program, DCU supports underprivileged students from secondary and even elementary schools all the way through attaining a DCU degree and beyond, through the life-long learning opportunities of the Age-Friendly University Initiative. Through these initiatives, DCU makes social innovation skills more attainable for those who are best poised to employ them for the good of their communities.
  • At University of Northampton (UK), Vice Chancellor Nick Petford has made social enterprise core to the institution’s strategic vision. And it shows – social enterprise permeates institutional communications and campus culture. But more importantly, this strategic commitment enables every student and faculty member to contribute to, or even create their own social enterprise. The result: faculty and student-run social enterprises are strengthening the institution’s financial sustainability and advancing student learning and employability.

Over the last five years, 22 colleges and universities have received the special status of a Changemaker Campus—which provides universities with the resources, connection and network to transform their college campus into a social innovation hub.

By 2015, Ashoka U will grow the consortium to 30 diverse institutions—each with unique contributions, and at least 5 outside of the U.S.—demonstrating that a more entrepreneurial, innovative, and world-changing higher education sector is possible.

About Ashoka and Ashoka U

Founded in 1981, Ashoka has identified 3,000 leading social entrepreneurs (Ashoka Fellows) in 70 countries. While we continue to seek and support new social entrepreneurs—individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems—ultimately, Ashoka envisions an Everyone A Changemaker world: a world that responds quickly and effectively to social challenges, and where each individual has the freedom, confidence and societal support to address any social problem and drive change.

Ashoka U – the university division of Ashoka – promotes robust, interdisciplinary approaches to teaching, research, and action in social innovation. Together we ask: How can the university experience become more of a world-changing experience? Ashoka U also hosts The Exchange: the world’s largest convening for social entrepreneurship education, bringing together 600 individuals representing over 100 institutions from 30 countries.