Beeta Ansari

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

FAQs About Ashoka U’s Next Phase of Strategy

For questions about:

Ashoka U’s Next Phase of Strategy– refer to questions 1-3

Changemaker Campus – refer to questions 4-7

Exchange – refer to questions 8-13

Additional engagement opportunities – refer to questions 14-16


Strategy FAQs

1. What is Ashoka U’s next phase of strategy?

In the coming months, we will be transitioning Ashoka U from a centralized, programmatic model to a decentralized network focused on spreading ideas, enabling the leadership of our partners, and building collaborations with key Ashoka programs around the world. 

 This means that Ashoka U will not select additional Changemaker Campuses (except for a few in Canada). The 2021 Exchange will take place virtually in March 2021.

2. What is the reason for this new phase of Ashoka U strategy?

Social innovation in higher education looks significantly different today than it did 12 years ago when we launched Ashoka U. In many ways, we have exceeded our expectations from 2008 when Ashoka U first began. Collectively, as a network, we have:

  • Invited more disciplines and stakeholders to contribute to social impact, by shifting language from social entrepreneurship to more inclusive terms like social innovation and changemaking.
  • Created cohesive changemaking ecosystems, by moving from being primarily housed in business schools to being a campus-wide strategy with integrated curricular and co-curricular approaches.
  • Supported changemaker learning journeys across the entire student experience, by expanding the scope from being a single course or student activity, to being offered across a range of engagements in a student’s trajectory.
  • Elevated the prominence of social innovation as an institutional priority, by not just supporting educators on curriculum change but also enabling senior leaders to embed it in institutional strategy and culture.

However, we also cannot deny that both the philanthropic landscape and higher education sector both look fundamentally different today than even just six months ago. This new reality has pushed us to think creatively regarding our strategy and operating model.

While change can be difficult, we believe that our network is ready for a new way of operating – one that recognizes the unique moment we are all in. Therefore, we believe that the best way for our impact to continue is with an evolved organizational model and mindset — one in which ideas are scaled and not programs.

3. What will happen to the Ashoka U programs and staff?

Our global Changemaker Campus Team, including Angie Fuessel and Emily Lamb, will be transitioning out of Ashoka end of November and mid-December, respectively.

The Exchange will be hosted the week of March 15, 2021. After the Exchange, the planning team (Beeta Ansari, Michelle King, and Araseli Lara) will continue until March 31, 2021.

Charmaine Lyn will continue to support Changemaker Campus efforts in Canada.


Changemaker Campus FAQ

4. How does this impact my institution’s status as a current Ashoka U Changemaker Campus? 

Ashoka will remain committed to recognizing the current Ashoka U designated Changemaker Campuses (CMC). Refer below for key designation guidelines and structures.

For our non-Canadian Changemaker Campuses* – Active Changemaker Campuses can continue to use the Ashoka U Changemaker Campus designation and seal through January 2024. No new (non-Canadian) Changemaker Campuses will be designated moving forward at the global level.

For our Canadian Changemaker Campuses* – The Ashoka U program and network support will look similar to how it has operated in the past. Ashoka Canada has funding, a 5-year strategic plan, and staffing in place to maintain Selection, Renewal, and on-going network activities. Please reach out to Charmaine Lyn ([email protected]) to learn more about how the Canadian network will continue to operate and integrate with global campuses.

*CMC use of the designation is contingent upon continued alignment of the institution’s strategic priorities, leadership, and programming with the intent, values, and activities of the designation and its criteria.

Ashoka will continue to look to Changemaker Campuses as important exemplars and thought leaders and feature them on the website, which will remain active for several years, continue to list and position the Changemaker Campuses, and serve as a repository of publications, resources, inspiration, and content. Changemaker Campuses will continue to collaborate with each other and with Ashoka in advancing social innovation and changemaking across higher education and in building a world in which everyone is a changemaker.

5. What is happening with on-going Selection of Changemaker Campuses? What about Renewal?

Selection of Changemaker Campuses has been on pause since 2018. Going forward, there will be no Selection of new campuses and no Renewal.*

*The only exception that has been granted is for Ashoka Canada which can select additional campuses and maintain Renewal for Canadian campuses. Refer to question 4 for more information. 

6. Will there still be network events?

Yes! In 2021, Ashoka Canada is committed to supporting the participation of all Changemaker Campuses in following events:

C-CERF (Canadian Changemaker Education Research Forum) – This will take place virtually in parallel to the 2021 Exchange and the theme is “Changemaking Research.” All Changemaker Campuses regardless of location will be welcome to present and/or attend.

Change Leader Retreat – This will be hosted by Ashoka Canada and Royal Roads University in Summer 2021, and all Changemaker Campus Change Leaders regardless of location will be welcome to attend.

The Network Advisory Committee will also co-host a networking session during the 2021 Exchange.

7. What will be the role of the Network Advisory Committee (NAC)?

The Network Advisory Committee (NAC), comprised of leaders from Changemaker Campuses, will continue to represent the interests of the CMCs and work alongside Ashoka to define its long-term role to advance the needs and on-going stewardship of the network. The NAC will also advise Ashoka on the ongoing power and potential of engaging higher education as key partners and collaborators in advancing changemaking around the world.


Exchange FAQ

8. Will the 2021 Ashoka U Exchange still happen?

The Exchange will definitely happen. It will take place virtually, the week of March 15th.

9. How will the Exchange be similar or different this year?

The 2021 Exchange will be a time to celebrate the amazing work of our campuses and our global colleagues who have worked tirelessly over the last 12 years to advance the field of social innovation education. It will be a forum to honor our combined impact and serve as a platform for campuses to connect with each other.

If you have crossed paths with Ashoka U and have been part of our journey to date, we want you there — whether as a speaker, a facilitator, or an attendee. If you have not yet engaged in one of our Ashoka U Exchange convenings, we invite you to join us and experience the magic, love, generosity, and collaborative spirit that emerges when we come together.

In fact, we are opening Exchange registration earlier than we ever have before – on Friday, October 30 (even before our presentation deadline closes)!

10. Will there still be presentations?

Yes! Our model for the Exchange will look very similar to past years, with one big exception – we’ve extended our presentation deadline until November 9th. Apply here, or, if you have any questions and/or want to brainstorm ideas about a potential submission, book a slot with Michelle King, Associate Director of the Exchange.

11. Who else will be at the Exchange?

In addition to our wonderful community of educators, students, community partners, and thought leaders, we will utilize the Exchange to connect our network directly with Ashoka Fellows and Ashoka programs, including Next Now and Ashoka Young Changemakers.

12. How much will the Exchange cost? When can I register?

The Exchange will cost $350. This is a flat rate available to all attendees – students, faculty, staff, administrators, etc. – and will never go up. Scholarship opportunities are also available.

We are opening registration early this year (before the presentation deadline), on October 30th. Learn more here.

13. Will there be scholarships available?

Yes, Ashoka U will have partial and full scholarship available. Learn more and apply here.


Additional Engagement Opportunities

14. I’m a Connect subscriber. What will happen to my subscription?

We will honor all Connect memberships through August 31, 2021. Connect subscribers will continue to receive the monthly newsletter, retain access to the Slack channel, and have opportunities to engage directly with other subscribers.

15. What will happen to the News U Can Use newsletter?

We will continue sending out the newsletter monthly at least through March 31, 2021. Please send any blurbs to Carson McBain at [email protected].

16. How else can I stay connected to the Ashoka U network?

We’ve shared additional ways to engage with Ashoka U’s work below:

  • Join us at the virtual 2021 Exchange, where you can connect with Ashoka U’s global community of innovators and build relationships directly with Ashoka Fellows and Ashoka programs, including Next Now and Ashoka Young Changemakers.
  • The will stay live for several years to come and will evolve into a repository of publications, resources, inspiration, and content.
  • Our soon-to-launch guidebook “Becoming a Changemaker Institution” will be a useful roadmap that draws from over a decade of experience working with approximately 50 Changemaker Campuses through a transformation process. All other publications will remain available for purchase here.
  • Our Changemaker Campus network will continue and will be available if you are looking for content experts on higher education innovation.
  • If you want to stay updated on new resources within social innovation education, or how to engage with Ashoka programs and insights on social change for educators, sign up for our Ashoka U newsletter: