This concentration is intended for SIS Masters students wanting to acquire skills and practical techniques to help them apply the substantive knowledge gained in their degree program in the context of a social enterprise. Some might follow the path of other SIS graduates and start or assist the starting of a new organization; others may be interested in guiding existing organizations to become more enterprising and innovative. While this concentration provides an introduction to the concepts and theoretical core of social enterprise, its main focus is the practical application of theory.
Social entrepreneurs are enterprising people. Masters students interested in a social enterprise concentration may practice this skill by customizing a concentration crafted from among several categories of courses and activities:
I. Core Courses
SIS 628 Social Entrepreneurship: Culture, Communication, and Change (Levinson: 3 credits). This is the pioneering SIS introductory course to this field.
SIS 635 Leading Social Innovation (Tomasko: 3 credits). What are the leadership practices of the most effective social entrepreneurs? How do they differ from other types of leaders?
SIS 635 NGO Management: Best Practices (Tomasko: 3 credits). The basics of starting-up, managing, and growing a new NGO.
SIS 635 NGO-Private Sector Engagement (Chung and Tomasko: 3 credits). How corporate behavior can be constructively channeled to have a positive impact on society, from within and by external partnerships.
II. Skills Institutes
Several SIS programs offer 1 credit, weekend skill institutes in topics of relevance to social enterprise. Look for institutes focusing on subjects such as fund raising and proposal writing, program evaluation, project management, and systems thinking.
Two institutes that are especially relevant are:
SIS 638 Social Entrepreneurship: Private Sector Skills (Tomasko: 1 credit). Lessons from the business world in strategy, goal-setting, business models, branding, positioning, scenario planning, and identifying earned income possibilities for social ventures.
SIS 639 Effective NGO Activism (Eldridge and Tomasko: 1 credit). Advocacy, change, influence and power: what works, what doesn’t, and why.
III. Coaching and Mentoring
Success in social innovation requires the development of professional competences as well as classroom study of the field and its techniques. Social innovators’ most important tools are themselves. Find mentors to guide your self-development among the faculty and large community of social entrepreneurs in the Washington, D.C. area.
IV. Internships, Practicums, Theses, and SRPs
Many SIS students have found internships with local and international social enterprises. Some have chosen topics related to social entrepreneurship for their theses and SRPs. Opportunities are also available to serve as mentors to undergraduates who are creating their own social enterprise ventures.
V. Related Courses at Other AU Schools
There are a variety of graduate courses relevant to social enterprises taught at other schools in AU, notably Kogod School of Business. Here are a few examples:
- COMM 540 Social Marketing
- COMM 640 Principles of Strategic Communications
- FIN 630 Financial Analysis
- KSB 656 Management Communications for Social Responsibility
- PERF 571 Promotion and Public Relations
- PERF 673 Fundraising Management
- PUAD 615 Public-Private Partnerships
- PUAD 681 Managing Non Profit Organizations
- PUAD 683 Marketing for Non Profit Organizations
- PUAD 696 Nonprofit Resource Development
- MGMT 660 Entrepreneurship and Innovation
- MGMT 670 Non Profit and Social Entrepreneurship
VI. Off-Campus and Self-Study
Some of the knowledge and skills needed by students in this Concentration may be best acquired through independent study courses, self-study, and courses at other Consortium schools. Consult with the program director to identify these possibilities.
For more information and advice about planning a concentration in social enterprise, contact: