The Process


The Changemaker Campus Designation is reserved for pioneering higher education institutions with a track record of excellence and innovation in social innovation and changemaking. Institutions going through the transformative Selection Process seek to further build their social innovation and changemaking ecosystem and re-envision their role in transforming higher education.

Our Candidate Campuses are diverse institutions who:

  • Represent higher education globally;
  • Model campus-wide excellence in social innovation; and
  • Are committed to transforming the field of higher education through collaboration and thought leadership.

To receive the Changemaker Campus Designation and join the Changemaker Campus Network, Candidate Campuses move through an institutional transformation and evaluation process to demonstrate that they meet the Changemaker Campus criteria. In addition to culminating in the Changemaker Campus Designation, the Selection Process helps to ensure that social innovation and changemaking is embedded campus-wide into institutional culture, programs, and operations as a core value.


Ashoka U has derived the Changemaker Campus criteria as a result of working with dozens of institutions aiming to grow and strengthen their social innovation and changemaking ecosystems. The criteria also serve as a guide to institutions as they embrace social innovation and changemaking as both an educational offering for students and as a framework for re-envisioning the role of the university in society itself.

To become a Changemaker Campus, an institution needs to meet the following criteria for creating a strong campus-wide social innovation and changemaking ecosystem:

1. Visionary Leadership:

Strong senior leadership and Change Leaders with the vision to embed social innovation and changemaking across the institution and make a major contribution to the field of social innovation in higher education.

2. Innovation and Excellence in Changemaker Education::

Access to and support for high-quality curricular and co-curricular programming and research that is innovative or adapts existing models of excellence in new ways.

3. Institutional Culture and Operations

An institutional culture and operations that show the institution’s social and environmental consciousness and commitment to social innovation and changemaking.

4. Major Contribution to the Field of Social Innovation and Changemaking in Higher Education and Commitment to Contributing to an Everyone a Changemaker World:

  • A major contribution to the field of social innovation and changemaking in higher education through their institutional perspective, culture and operations; social innovation programming; and field building activities.
  • A commitment to collaborate with the Changemaker Campus Network, Ashoka Fellows, the Ashoka network and other strategic partners on major new ideas and movements to contribute to an Everyone a Changemaker world.

For more information, see the full Changemaker Campus Criteria.

Selection Process

The Changemaker Campus Selection Process is designed to help institutions break down barriers to institutional change, hone their strategies for advancing social innovation and changemaking across the institution, and become leaders in the field of social innovation and changemaking in higher education. It brings together stakeholders across the institution to craft a vision and action plan for social innovation and changemaking, while providing constructive feedback, recommendations, connections with peers and the Ashoka network, and comparative institutional case studies.

The designation is not an end in itself but rather a means for and beginning of hopefully a long-term partnership with the Changemaker Campus Network and Ashoka U. The process starts with Ashoka U inviting institutions to apply based on early evidence of a strong social innovation and changemaking ecosystem and potential to make a major and complementary contribution to the network. Prior engagement in the Exchange and Commons is highly encouraged and has frequently helped institutions cultivate their ecosystems and provided a mutual opportunity to explore partnership potential.

After receiving an invitation to apply, the process consists of an application and three phases. Candidate Campuses usually take between 1 to 1.5 years, but may take longer depending on institutional context and readiness, to complete the process.

Invitation to Apply & Application – In order to begin the 360° Campus Scan process, an institution must already have a foundational social innovation and changemaking ecosystem, including Change Leaders, a Change Team and senior leadership support, in place.

Phase 1 – 360° Campus Scan: A semester-long, online, peer-to-peer learning experience with coaching from Ashoka U that helps two to three Change Leaders from a Candidate Campus assess their current ecosystem for social innovation and changemaking and build out a cohesive vision and action plan. The cohort is offered during both the spring and fall semesters.

Change Leaders can expect to:

  • Build strong ties with other Change Leaders and learn from their diverse perspectives through activities, peer reviews, and presentation evaluations.
  • Gain access to a range of materials, including video content, to accelerate their learning as they move through the 360° Campus Scan development framework.
  • Engage with and learn from Change Leaders from Changemaker Campuses and learn more about Ashoka and social innovation from members of Ashoka’s global network.
  • Receive individual feedback and coaching on their institution’s social innovation and changemaking ecosystem and Action Plan.

Cost: $7,500*

Phase 2 – Site Visit: Up to two Ashoka staff and a visiting Change Leader from a current Changemaker Campus conduct a two day Site Visit. They will meet with students, faculty, and staff, as well as the President or Provost, offering advice and learning about the state of social innovation at the institution. Most Site Visits tend to happen during the fall and spring semesters.

Cost: $7,500* + travel/accommodations

Phase 3 – Panel: Representatives from each Candidate Campus participate in a day-long series of interviews with expert panelists— including current Change Leaders, Ashoka fellows, and social entrepreneurs— who determine whether the institution becomes a Changemaker Campus.

Cost: $10,000*

Please note: Institutions only move on to the next phase if the current phase has been sufficiently satisfied.

*Costs for academic year 2017/2018 in USD. Prices are subject to change for academic year 2018/2019.

Helpful resources:

After successfully passing the Panel, Ashoka U works with the new Changemaker Campus to introduce them to the Changemaker Campus Network and explore opportunities for engagement and collaboration.

Every four years, current Changemaker Campuses are asked to formally re-commit as an institution to social innovation as a core value through the Renewal process. Renewal ensures that institutions in the Changemaker Campus Network continue to be at the forefront of social innovation and changemaking in higher education.


Renewal is a process for current Changemaker Campuses to formally re-commit as an institution to social innovation as a core value. Occurring every four years, Renewal ensures that campuses in the Changemaker Campus network continue to be at the forefront of social innovation education in higher education.

The process is also designed to allow campuses in the network to build stronger partnerships and connections for field level contribution to social innovation education.

Changemaker Campuses must be renewed every four years. A qualifying event such as a leadership change may make it necessary for an institution to begin Renewal sooner. The cost for renewal is USD 10,000, excluding associated travel and accommodation costs.

For more information, please feel free to contact Nimesh Ghimire, Renewal Manager, at


“The Ashoka U team is a godsend! They came, listened intently, connected with each participant, and still maintained a professional demeanor. Allies across campus shone brighter. Potential allies leaned in. Naysayers were met with compassion, empathy and well-articulated answers.”

Anonymous Changemaker Campus Participant

“This [Changemaker Campus Selection] process itself was extremely valuable! Ashoka U helped shape our experience by offering markers and evaluation tools. It was not only an opportunity to identify strengths and weaknesses, but also to identify areas to focus on.”

Anonymous Changemaker Campus Participant

“I really appreciate the support and feedback that Ashoka gave us during this process.They were always very accessible and interested. It felt like a conversation among friends, without hierarchical complications or expectations. I appreciate that standards were clearly communicated and facilitated.”

Anonymous Changemaker Campus Participant