Ashoka U Recommended Reading

To better understand the “what and why” of Ashoka U and social innovation and changemaking in higher education, please see the curated list of  articles, resources, videos and podcasts below.

The Future of Business Schools: Purpose, Action, and Impact (2022)

SSIR & Ashoka U Series: Innovating Higher Education for the Greater Good (2020)

  • Leadership, Resilience, and Higher Education’s Promise, By Marina Kim & Dr. Angie Fuessel – Embedding changemaking into the culture and operations of higher education will prepare institutions to deploy their tremendous human capital and knowledge and research assets in innovative, trans-disciplinary, and collaborative ways to address the many challenges ahead.
  • How Higher Education Can Support Local Ecosystems of Innovation, By Alexander Kolokotronis & Onyeka Obiocha – Supporting innovation should not be a top-down approach premised on straitjacketing program designs.
  • Whose Knowledge Is It? By Shawn Smith, Stuart Poyntz, Am Johal, Dara Kelly & Stephen Dooley – Community-centered approaches to research in practice at Simon Fraser University.
  • A Generation of Changemakers, By Lara Carton & Tobias Andreasson – How Australia’s CQUniversity has committed to embedding social innovation education and practice across the entire curriculum.
  • Open-Source Learning for 2020 and Beyond, By Jonathan Isham – How Middlebury’s culture of collaborative, student-centric innovation lead to Energy2028, the phaseout of fossil fuel investments in the college endowment.
  • A Field Catalyst for Systems Change in Higher Education, By Kelly Hodgins & Chad Lubelsky – How the McConnell Foundation’s Re-Code initiative is rewiring higher education for innovation across Canada.
  • Inclusive Innovation at the Ryerson Diversity Institute, By Wendy Cukier & Erica Wright – By working with other academic partners, government, private sector, and community partners, the Diversity Institute uses a systems approach to address barriers for underrepresented groups, improve social outcomes, and support economic growth.
  • The Collective Work of Building Individual Agency, By Sandra LaFleur – Building a shared sense of responsibility at Miami Dade College begins with empathy, reflection, and closing the gap between students and staff.
  • Changemaking and Graduate Employability, By Rachel Maxwell & Wray Irwin – How embedding changemaking into the University of Northampton’s strategic plan enhances graduate employment potential.
  • The ‘Intel Inside’ of Higher Education, By Eric Glustrom & Brin Enterkin – How Watson Institute is accelerating the careers of student leaders and entrepreneurs through innovative university partnerships.
  • What Is the Civic University For? By Michael J. Roy, Alec Wersun & Cam Donaldson – Embedding action through research by placing the Sustainable Development Goals at the center of university planning.
  • University Rankings as a Tool for Social Impact, By Duncan Ross – How Times Higher Education developed and implemented a new set of social impact rankings for higher education for a more sustainable, resilient future.
  • A Medical School for Changemaking, By Ilaina Rabbat & Roshan Paul – How Amani Institute is building a skills-based and inclusive curriculum for changemaking in the developing world.
  • Creating a University From Scratch, By Ben Nelson, Diana El Azar & Ayo Seligman – How Minerva is reimagining higher education now and partnering to scale for impact in the future.
  • Crisis and Adaptation for the Public Good, By Kenneth Schwartz – How Tulane University rebuilt from Hurricane Katrina with a renewed commitment to embedding social innovation and community engagement at the core of its mission.

Introduction to Changemaking and Systems Leadership 

Resources for Changemaker Educators

Resources for Institutional Change in Higher Education

About Ashoka

Student Changemaker Stories (2019)

  • Witnessing the Snowball Effect of Changemaking – By Isabel Miranda, a 2019 graduate of University of San Francisco (USF) and an alumna of University of Santa Clara (SCU). She shares how a supportive fellowship program at SCU, powerful student convenings, and her research at USF brought clarity and commitment to her changemaker journey.
  • Studying Medicine, Practicing Changemaking – By Diego Carrión Alvarez, an undergraduate student at Universidad de Monterrey (UDEM) and co-leads a number of UDEM’s social innovation initiatives. Diego shares how UDEM’s committed culture of changemaking supports him to connect his discipline (medicine) and student experience with changemaking activities.
  • Celebrating UDEM’s Community of Student Changemakers – By Mitzi Elizabeth Gonzalez Medrano, an undergraduate student at Universidad de Monterrey (UDEM) and co-founder of The Social Bond Innovation Project (along with Diego, above). Mitzi’s story describes numerous experiences rooted in the power, belief, and practice of community, beginning with her journey as a young Scout.
  • Walking the Walk Meets Social Entrepreneurship-Speak – By Mihai Patru, a Senior Policy Fellow at University of California Riverside and Principal of the Caravanserai Project. Returning to the social impact sector after over a decade as a career diplomat, Mihai’s story describes the challenges and unique opportunities his communities of changemakers are facing today.
  • From Patient to Advocate: A Changemaker by Chance – By Maya Pajevic, an undergraduate student at Mount Royal University and a CHILD-BRIGHT National Youth Advisory Member. Maya shares how a life-changing health event as a child deepened her understanding of the healthcare system, enabling her to recognize the many roles a changemaker can take.
  • We are Rarely Born as Changemakers – By Jayden De Armas, an undergraduate student at University of San Diego (USD) and Coordinator of USD’s Changemaker Student Committee. Jayden illuminates how a mysterious invitation to a convening of changemakers during high school sparked a lifelong commitment to changemaking.
  • My Hobby is Design, My Passion is Changemaking – By Yanniz Valadez Cortés, a 2015 graduate from Universidad de Monterrey (UDEM) and currently coordinates the Yunus Innovation Pathway Center at UDEM. Yanniz’s story unpacks her journey of connecting design and changemaking, and describes how this influenced her projects, studies, and work at her alma mater.
  • The Decade-Long Question that Brought Me to Watson Institute – By Bryan Nakambonde, a scholar at Watson Institute in South Florida and is founder of youth-focused media NGO, Umwe. Bryan’s story reminds us to embrace our personal life experiences as a guide to inform our contributions to changemaking and to seek out unique learning environments.
  • 100 Interviews Later: How Do You Equip a Changemaker? – By Clément Moliner-Roy, a recent graduate of College of the Atlantic and is advising social impact initiatives at Sherbrooke University in Canada. Our team has long been inspired by Clément’s ability to turn deep questions into fun, collaborative invitations for his campus and broader community to partake in changemaking.
  • The Recurring, Slow-Burn Question: “Who, Me?” – By Katie Gingerich, a 2015 graduate from University of Waterloo and Founder/Executive Director of The Ripple Effect Foundation in Canada. Katie translated her educational experiences into a purpose-driven venture that equips students and recent graduates to develop skills in changemaking and peace education.
  • Student Voices Unleashed – Activism as a Critical Part of Changemaker Education – By Megan Simmona, an undergraduate student at Barnard College and Director of Strategy for Student Voice, co-leading their “Tour Across America’s Schools” to activate high schoolers as changemakers all across the states. Our team was struck by Megan’s call for higher education to create new ways to support the efforts and valuable skillsets of working student activists.
  • Making Sense of the World We Live In  – By Nithya Vemireddy, a 2018 graduate from Santa Clara University (SCU) and recipient of the post-graduate American India Foundation’s William J. Clinton Fellowship for Service. Our team appreciated how Nithya’s story showcased two often under-represented changemaker tools, reflection and personal mentorship, as a key part of her changemaker journey on and off campus at SCU.
  • Researchers as Changemakers: The Power of a PhD – By Simon Sizwe Mayson, who is currently pursuing his PhD at Wits University in Johannesburg, South Africa and working as an enabler towards a Well-Being Economy. Our team was inspired by Simon’s commitment to pursuing a unique action research journey through his PhD with a focus on collective well-being. Simon reminds us of the significant role that researchers can play in innovating changemaker education.