A Minor in Social Entrepreneurship: An Interdisciplinary/Collaborative Approach

Janine DeWitt, Marcia Dursi, Nancy Furlow, Behnaz Quigley, and Donna M. Schaeffer
Marymount University, 2807 North Glebe Road, Arlington VA 22207
Contact: donna.schaeffer@marymount.edu

In Fall semester, 2010 undergraduates at Marymount University will have the opportunity to study social entrepreneurship as an interdisciplinary minor, a collaborative offer between the Schools of Business Administration and Education and Human Services.

What is Social Entrepreneurship?

Rise in interest in Social Entrepreneurship

"As the rising generation leads an economic revival, it will also participate in a communal one. We are living in a global age of social entrepreneurship."

"Relax, We'll Be Fine." By David Brooks, New York Times, April 5, 2010.

Marymount graduate Jonah addressing his village.

  • two-day national seminar on ‘Social Entrepreneurship and Corporate Social Responsibility – role in Women Development' organised by the Department of Women's Studies, Bharathidasan University,
  • Brown University School of Engineering
  • Nordisk Innovation Center

  • Ashoka seminar

    "Even though we weren't flushed with expectation, if it was necessary to do that in order to float the venture, it would be a new low in exploitation. Paul felt, "Put my face on the windshield of a Mercedes-Benz or a Volvo maybe . . . but salad dressing?" . . .

    "You know, there could be a kind of justice here, Hotch. I go on television all the time to hustle my films. TV gets me and my time for free, and the film gets exposure for free — and circular exploitation, so to speak. Now then, if we were to go the lowest of the low road and plaster my face on a bottle of oil and vinegar just to line our pockets, it would stink. But to go the low road to get to the high road — shameless exploitation for charity, for the common good — now there's an idea worth the hustle, a reciprocal trade agreement."

    In the Philippines, more than 12 million people suffer from Protein-Energy Malnutrition (PEM), which increases the risk of developing life-threatening conditions such as diabetes and coeliac disease. Having seen PEM’s disastrous effects on Manila’s poorest neighborhood, Kimberley Ong decided to take action. Her company, AlgaVentures, helps combat PEM by offering food supplements made from spirulina, a vitamin and protein-packed alga.

    The minor is designed around three pillars:

    We believe that social entrepreneurs need a holistic vision grounded in a "spirit" and set of values (and virtues) rooted in compassion, understanding, justice and hope. They need to:
    1. ascertain why they are working in this manner
    2. have both courage and strength to deal with the great obstacles, challenges and vulnerability they will face
    3. be innovative and creative
    4. establish/join a supportive network
    5. have a life spirit that will enable them to be patient while being persistent.

    Through the curriculum and planned extra-curricular activities, Marymount's program offers learners both education and formation.

    Course Descriptions

    SOC 203 Global Village

    Globalization refers to the increasing connectedness of people around the world and has resulted from economic, political, and cultural exchanges that transcend national boundaries. Corporate growth, modern transportation, and technological innovation facilitate this connectivity. In this course, a sociological perspective will be used to examine how this increasing global interdependence impacts daily life. The degree to which social life still takes place within national borders will be analyzed and the meaning of citizenship in the new global village will be discussed.

    SOC 350 Social Justice

    This upper-division interdisciplinary seminar presents a social science analysis of social justice using a series of case studies. Specific ethical dilemmas faced in contemporary society are investigated, with an emphasis on the key players and conflicting interests involved as well as the social, economic, and political institutions that gave rise to these dilemmas. Contemporary and historical case studies focus discussion on the social context of issues such as the human rights of women, children, and refugees; economic justice associated with the international debt; and environmental protection.

    SOC 351 Addressing Injustice

    This upper-division seminar examines the nature and extent of social injustice, the structural causes, as well as how injustice has been addressed by local and global communities. The course differentiates between a social justice approach that empowers and a charity model of "helping" or doing for, which tends to reinforce inequities that exist within the status quo. Students are introduced to inquiry skills that provide the basis for effective advocacy from the multiple perspectives of those involved.

    MKT 301 Principles of Marketing

    A study of the system of interacting business activities that deliver goods and services to present and potential customers. Analysis of the problems of planning, research, and logistics that confront the modern marketing manager.

    MGT 315 Entrepreneurship

    This multi-disciplinary course helps students to learn the basic business, strategy, and leadership skills needed to launch and manage new ventures. Topics include learning how to assess the feasibility of a new venture, as well as how to apply best practices for planning, launching, and managing new companies. Students discuss a wide range of issues of importance and concern to entrepreneurs and learn to recognize opportunities, assess the skills and talents of successful entrepreneurs, and learn models and "rules of thumb" that help them navigate uncertainty. The opportunities and challenges of entrepreneurship are explored, as is the ability to use entrepreneurial skill sets in corporate environment.

    MSC 355: Managing Social Projects

    Managing social projects includes managing traditional business functions, e.g., marketing, finance, operations, and human resources. This course integrates an introduction to the theory and practice of social entrepreneurship with established principles of project management. Multidisciplinary areas of interest are explored, ranging from business, the environment, education, and human services. Students gain practical experience identifying opportunities; develop skills and competencies for creating, developing, and implementing project plans; and examine ways of measuring the success of social entrepreneurial projects.

    SOC 421 Project or SOC 430 Research and MGT 499 Independent Study or MGT 490

    Internship as a community based inquiry/service learning