soccer pictureUndergraduate Certificate

Work with faculty from various disciplines on our 16-credit Certificate in Conflict Transformation & Social Entreprenuership.  This certificate aims to integrate insights from conflict management, the social sciences, and the exploding, exciting, field of social entrepreneurship!

Certificate in Conflict Transformation & Social Entrepreneurship

Required Core (13 credits)

3700:334  Law, Mediation & Violence (conflict transformation core course)
3700:333  Social Entrepreneurship OR 6300:301 New Venture Creation (College of Business Administration)
3850:490  Social Organizations, Community, and Mindful Action
3230:460  Field Methods in Cultural Anthropology (4 credits)

Experiential Learning Component (3 credits)

Internship or Service Learning Project (can be completed in any department)

[For Official Use Only:  A&S 14-11091, 14-11094, 14-12038, 14-12063]

Thinking About Conflict Transformation and Social Entrepreneurship

The Center for Conflict Management Faculty Advisor Council has spent a considerable amount of time deliberating about the meaning and importance of social entrepreneurship, resulting in agreement on two core principles for our program.

(1) We share one conceptualization of social entrepreneurship and (2) We will build a shared discourse on this topic through adopting the Oxford University Press text listed and discussed below in any version of our new Social Entrepreneurship course.

What Do We Mean by Social Entrepreneurship?

Innovative, holistic, mindful, research-based activity designed to address a social problem in a sustainable manner. 

Activities can range from volunteering for a group like Oxfam, to working for Americorps, to starting your own organization or social movement to tackle an as-yet-not-addressed social problem—as long as wherever you land on this continuum you are actively engaged with a sustainable and innovative approach to transforming the conflicts in our lives.

Social Entrepreneurship is, therefore, at its core:
Innovative, Thoughtful, and Sustainable Action Addressing Social Problems

Embedded within this understanding is a strong emphasis on highlighting and advancing the ongoing, critical contributions from public sector agents—like scholars active in the social sciences, natural sciences, arts and humanities—to conflict transformation and social entrepreneurship as conceptualized here.

How Will We Integrate This Understanding into our Program?

We agreed that the new courses being created would make a special effort to construct syllabi that reinforce central concepts, allow students opportunities to practice to mastery core skills, and to present students with one integrated discourse for thinking and talking about—and acting on—innovative approaches to social problems and conflict transformation.

Beyond ongoing and exciting syllabus integration work with our colleagues, the most concrete way we will achieve this is that everyone who teaches our new Social Entrepreneurship course will use the very short text, Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know by Boronstein and Davis as one of their core texts to ensure a consistent and shared language for talking about these complex topics.

Social Entrepreneurship:  What Everyone Needs to Know 
David Boronstein and Susan Davis (2010, Oxford University Press)

What is Social Entrepreneurship?

“Social entrepreneurship is a process [we prefer to think of it as an activity in the action research tradition, but we think this is entirely consistent with this focus on social entrepreneurship as an ongoing process] by which citizens build or transform institutions to advance solutions to social problems, such as poverty, illness, illiteracy, environmental destruction, human rights abuses and corruption, in order to make life better for many (1).”

Social entrepreneurs, like Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus (whose innovation was the creation of the now large micro-loans industry, which has resulted in dramatic reductions in poverty), “grow solutions from the bottom up in a process characterized by trial and error, continuous iteration, and a sharp focus on results (17).”

These “system changers must therefore overcome apathy, habit, incomprehension, an disbelief while facing heated resistance from those with vested interests….[to] attract attention and funding, overcome apathy and opposition, shift behavior and mobilize political will, continually improve the idea, and take care of all the details in a painstaking fashion, no matter how long it takes (21-23).”

“It takes a curious combination of sensitivity and bullheadedness, humility and audacity, and restlessness and patience to lead a change process in the face of indifference, habit, fear, resource constraints, vested interests and institutional defenses (24).”

How Is Social Entrepreneurship Different from Business Entrepreneurship?

“For social entrepreneurs, the bottom line is to maximize some form of social impact, usually by addressing an urgent need that is being mishandled, overlooked, or ignored by other institutions….  The world needs both kinds of entrepreneurship; one should not be deemed superior to the other, although social entrepreneurship is often more challenging because it tackles problems that defied governmental approaches and for which market solutions have not yet been demonstrated (30).”

“The heart of social entrepreneurship is a willingness to try out ideas that are helpful to others.  Social entrepreneurs are action researchers….Success may hinge less on what you know than on how well you learn new things, spot patterns, take initiative, and work with others (82).” 

“The development of empathy [and other skills we will focus on in this program] is critical to this process, as people now interact regularly with strangers who come from different cultures and have different values….  Democracies need citizens who can empathize and identify with others, recognize problems, and collaborate in building solutions.  They need citizens who can stay focused on long-term objectives and face adversity without quitting (83).”