Change Leaders

Change leaders are faculty, staff and/or administrators with complementary perspectives and influence, and the institutional mandate, vision and grit to advance social innovation and changemaking across the institution and beyond. 

Ashoka U sees Change Leaders as higher education innovators who are role models for how to build thriving ecosystems for social innovation and changemaking across different institutional types, ultimately driving systems change in higher education. In order to start the Changemaker Campus Selection Process, an institution must have two or three Change Leaders with complementary perspectives and influence.

Change Leader Responsibilities:

  • Change Leaders not only serve as an institutional leader but also as an active contributor to the field of social innovation and changemaking in higher education.
  • Change Leaders may modify the role to better fit their specific institutional context and discuss it with relevant senior academic leaders as they feel necessary.

Change Team

Change team is a committed, inter-disciplinary group of faculty, staff, administrators, students and community members who help grow and strengthen the campus-wide ecosystem for social innovation and changemaking.

The Change Team brings together the necessary expertise, diverse perspectives, influence, and time to support the Change Leaders in advancing social innovation and changemaking across the institution. Team composition and size may vary depending on the institution’s structure, size and needs. The Change Team is part of or the stepping stone to a campus-wide coordinating structure for social innovation and changemaking. The structure helps to coordinate social innovation activities and resources across the institution. For example, it may facilitate communication and resource sharing between changemaking (i.e. service learning, civic engagement) and social innovation programming and staff.

Change Team Member Responsibilities:

  • Translate social innovation ideas into their domain of expertise such as teaching, research, program leadership, student engagement, and community partnerships.
  • Serve as experts in their domains, such as incubators or fellowships for social entrepreneurship, and support others within their own institution or at other institutions.
  • Influence others in their domain of expertise to mainstream ideas of social innovation through conference, publications, and other mechanisms.

Change Champion

Change Champion is a key senior leader, at the level of Dean or Vice President, who views social innovation and changemaking as a priority for their institution and actively advances social innovation education through their work. They hold institutional authority beyond that of most faculty or staff members. They advance the vision of social innovation and changemaking at their own institution and beyond by acting as an advocate, through engaging key internal allies, and mobilizing support across the institution.

A Champion is typically more senior than the Change Leaders and might hire or manage a Change Leader. Champions and Change Leaders are completely aligned in terms of vision and goals for social innovation and changemaking and their institution. They differ primarily in terms of seniority, staff time, and tactics for implementation.

Change Champions Responsibilities:

  • Have social innovation and changemaking as one of their top priorities and dedicate at least 10% of their time to advancing social innovation and changemaking; and
  • Work closely with Change Leaders, potentially in a management or supervisory capacity

Change Leader Emeritus

Some individuals have played the role of Change Leader in the past but are not currently acting in that position, for any number of reasons. They may have transitioned to another role inside the institution, to another institution, or another field altogether. 

To honor their contribution to the network as well as their expertise in the area of social innovation education, Ashoka U recognizes these leaders as Change Leader Emeriti. They trail blazed, developing new programs in social innovation education, pioneering majors, minors, and curricula, and acting as fearless leaders developing the field of social innovation education. The work of our network would not have been possible without them.

Ashoka U looks to the Change Leader Emeriti, now and always, as advisors, mentors, and friends. We are continually honored to be working with them in any capacity and hope to continue to call on them; as speakers, authors, and advisors, as Changemaker Campus evaluators and visitors, as connectors and thinkers. Regardless of their title or institutional affiliation, the Change Leader Emeriti are influential field-builders and key contributors to the conversation about social innovation education. We are grateful to be working with them.
We look forward to many more years of advancing the field together!