The Commons offers seven unique cohorts, organized across two tracks:

Ashoka U offers seven unique learning opportunities – referred to as Cohorts. Each Cohort guides participants as they advance a core component of the social innovation ecosystem at their institution, and is led by a Cohort Coach. We encourage you to browse through our Cohort descriptions below and contact our team with any questions on best Cohort fit. We’d be delighted to advise in your selection!

The next session of the Commons will run this February – May 2019. You can view and complete our application here.

Changemaker Educator Track

Designing a Social Innovation Course – Courses are an effective way to reach students and engage with the subject of social innovation regardless of discipline or major, with the most impactful courses enabling students to turn theory into action. Participants in this cohort will reference diverse examples of existing courses – both in structure and in content – and draw on various course models to build a syllabus that is committee-ready.

Building a Social Innovation Course Sequence – Course sequences provide students with a deeper understanding of the many different facets of social innovation, build student identity, and can further legitimize the subject’s academic merit at an institution. Upon building a course sequence, you must consider the benefits and limitations of different sequence forms: certificates, concentrations, majors, and minors. This cohort will support participants as they focus on creating a concrete action plan for the desired effect of a course sequence and build out elements of the course sequence itself. (Note: A pre-requisite for this cohort is that at least two social innovation/changemaking courses already exist on campus.)

Launching Co-Curricular Venture Programs – Incubators, accelerators, and other forms of venture support help students gain the necessary skills needed to overcome barriers and take ideas to reality. These programs also have the potential to align student projects with social challenges, build critical changemaker skillsets, and teach valuable lessons regarding the challenges and opportunities associated with launching a venture. This cohort will consider frameworks for the program’s purpose, where to house them within your institution, and support you in developing program objectives for relevancy and longevity.

Identifying and Measuring Changemaker Competencies – This will be a deep-dive, pioneering experience for those of you ready to work through challenges in developing learning outcomes and measurement/evaluation pathways for your changemaker education initiatives.

Institutional Innovator Track

Developing a Strategy for Changemaker Education – In this cohort, participants will consider what is means to be a Changemaker Institution, analyze their unique institutional ecosystem, identify key priorities and stakeholders, and then work to collectively garner institutional commitment to changemaking education through demonstration projects.

Building Allies and Raising Awareness – To truly embed social innovation and changemaking into the institution, a campus-wide team of innovators and allies is needed. Bringing together the right team of stakeholders, however, involves ample preparation and coordination. This cohort looks at different structures for campus-wide team building, guides participants in making a plan to develop their own cross-campus allies, and considers creative methods for raising awareness.

Mapping Student Learning Journeys – On a campus with a variety of opportunities and offerings in social innovation and changemaking, it can be difficult for students to know where to begin or how to navigate the learning experience. For faculty and staff facilitating changemaking opportunities, accessibility and communication must be carefully considered. In this cohort, you will map student offerings in social innovation education, design scaffolded learning journeys to support students in developing the social innovation skills they seek, and work to make these journeys a more accessible tool to students and colleagues.


Not sure which cohort is right for you?  

Contact Ali Fraenkel at