Various departments offer social innovation classes ranging from introductory to graduate-level work. If you’d like to learn more, please sign-up for an advisement session.
Ballard Center Courses
Below are a few examples of classes specifically offered through the Ballard Center to help students learn how to Do Good. Better. Many of these classes fulfill requirements for a number of different programs and majors across campus. Be sure to talk to a Ballard Center advisor about incorporating them into your graduation plan.
MSB 375; Three Credits
The Do Good. Better. course helps students from all majors discover various ways that they can get involved in social innovation (e.g. starting a social venture, working for a nonprofit, volunteering, etc.); develop skills to critically analyze social ventures; and create a personalized plan on how to live a life of purpose.
“Freshman year, I needed a couple extra credits and signed up for business management 375 which, at the time, I thought was a marketing class. I was disappointed to find out that it was the “Do Good Better,” class taught by the BYU Ballard Center. However, Do Good Better turned out to be the most impactful class of my college career. Not only did I talk three of my roommates into getting involved with the Ballard Center, it changed my whole approach to education and service.” – Will Pham
MSB 381R; One Credit
Come listen as various social innovators and discuss their various paths to making the world a better place. This course is offered in the fall and winter.
“It’s been a year since I took the Social Innovation Lecture Series and I still think about that class every week, without question. As strange as it sounds, one of the biggest things I took away from the class is that social entrepreneurs are ordinary humans. Some are awkward, some are funny, and some like to go dumpster diving. In just one semester the perceived gulf between me and social entrepreneurship shortened into almost nothing. Because of the lecture series, I know that a meaningful career in social innovation is attainable for me.” – Paul Thomas”
MSB 491R**; Three Credits
Taught by Jill Piacitelli, SIP is the Ballard Center’s on-campus internship program that allows students to work on semester-long projects from top-tier social innovation organizations. To learn more and to apply, click here. Available only during fall and winter. Credit towards graduation possible, see your college’s internship coordinator for more information.
MSB 491R; Two Credits
This course introduces students to the new array of funding models being used to grow sustainable social ventures, including venture philanthropy, outcomes-based funding, Pay for Success (a.k.a. social impact bonds), impact investing, and earned revenue models. Students will explore the links between a social venture’s impact model and its funding model, and learn to use these concepts to develop real-world approaches to sustainable funding.
“Advanced Social Impact has really opened my eyes to funding structures, government involvement, and best practices of non-profit entities. Professor Shumway brings years of industry experience and frequently gives real examples of concepts from his professional life. It has really helped grow my skills in solving social problems.” -Luke Gibbs
MSB 491R**; Two Credits
Living a Meaningful Life: Using Social Innovation, Positive Psychology, and Life Design to Find Lasting Joy is taught by Curtis Lefrandt, this course is an introduction to the principles, skills, and tools that lead to a life of meaning, joy, and enduring happiness. As one of the foundational classes offered through BYU’s Ballard Center for Self-Reliance, this course is based on decades of research and experience in the fields of social entrepreneurship, positive psychology, financial freedom, and life design. The course is designed to teach the lessons that “we wish we knew as students”—concepts that have helped changemaking individuals develop signature strengths, build deeply meaningful relationships with others, and engage in causes with lasting impact.
“This class helps students live their lives purposefully. So many students want the A in school, but this class is about the journey and changing along the way. The teachers create a loving environment where people feel comfortable being open and having robust discussions about happiness and life meaning.” – Becca Pearson
MSB 491R**; Two Credits
The Ballard Brief program provides students with individual instruction in researching and writing a Ballard Brief, a multi-disciplinary paper on an approved social problem of their choice. Taught by the Ballard Brief staff, this course teaches changemakers the essential skills they need to deeply research the social issues they are most passionate about. Upon finishing the course, students’ briefs will be published to the Ballard Brief database, a comprehensive social issue reference library. Students will meet monthly as a class and weekly with their assigned editor as they work to prepare a publishable Ballard Brief.
“I’ve always been passionate about (reducing nation-wide youth vaping rates), but I didn’t understand it as well as I could have. I’ve begun to understand so much more through writing for Ballard Brief. I’ve developed a better understanding of what my nonprofit can actually do to solve this problem. Writing this brief has been really eye-opening.” – Cade Hyde
“I began my journey writing a Ballard Brief as a member of the Do Good. Better. class offered by the Ballard Center. As I began to write my brief I was amazed at the information available on my topic that no the majority of people do not know about. Before joining the Ballard Brief class I did not fully understand the importance of doing thorough and comprehensive research on the social issues that matter to me most. Most of us are approached pretty frequently and asked to donate to one cause or another but without a thorough understanding of the issues we care about there is no way for us to know if the money we give will help to improve the situation. Writing a Ballard Brief has not only given me insight into the topic I am currently studying, Elevated Dropout Rates in Rural China, but has given me the knowledge and skills to be able to repeat this process throughout my life to be an informed citizen.” – Mollie Bradley
If you are passionate about doing good in the workplace, the Corporate Social Impact (CSI) class is for you! This course provides students with tactical skills to better influence companies to implement socially conscious projects and programs. Come learn how various companies are funding research to cure a disease, providing food for hungry children, or working to raise families out of poverty. Learn how you can reduce your future company’s environmental impact, implement responsible ingredient sourcing, or work to ensure all employees receive equal opportunity.
Instruction includes case studies, industry speakers, proposal training, and program innovation. This class is taught by Brent Goddard who has an MBA from Harvard and is a CSI industry leader with over 15 years of experience in solving social problems by implementing programs in Corporate America.
“Being passionate about making a difference isn’t enough. Telling a company they should support a new program because it’s a good thing to do won”t convince anyone. However, this course equips students with the substance needed to understand how to make a difference and how to get companies on board to create that change.” – Troy Looper
MSB 491R**; Three Credits
Taught by Brent Goddard, the CSI on-campus internship program partners student teams with top companies such as Microsoft, Cisco, BrainStorm, and doTERRA. Students have the opportunity to work directly with CEOs and directors of world-class organizations to solve social issues and gain experience in project management, industrial communication, and team building. Credit towards graduation possible, see your college’s internship coordinator for more information.
“I have my current job doing Corporate Social Responsibility, which I love, because of the connections I made through this course. The real life application, including some of the frustrations, were all a fantastic introduction to what the reality is when working in this growing field.” – International Relations Student
MBA 693R**; Three Credits
This course is listed as “Creating the Virtuous Organization” and taught by Eva Witesman.
Business are starting to take their role in creating social value *very* seriously. In August 2019, close to 200 CEOs at Business Roundtable released a Statement of Purpose of the Corporation asserting the role of a corporation, to both survive and thrive, is dependent on their adaptation of how to be good. This class joins that conversation through the Marriott School’s Creating the Virtuous Organization project. This class seeks to answer the question: “How can we ensure that we are part of creating good in the world through one of the most powerful mechanisms of our time: business?”
Each cohort has played a unique and vital role in shaping and contributing to this project. The class evolves from semester to semester as the project continues to develop. Past cohorts have helped draft a book, drill down on key definitions, collected data from 70+ companies, consulted three organizations on implementation with tools created by the class, and planned a conference for 30+ companies to join the conversation about social value through business. So, come join us. We’re confident this is one of those class experiences that will last long beyond your graduation.
MSB 491R**; Three Credits
Taught by Kurt Brown, the impact investing class is open for students from all academic backgrounds and majors. This course helps students learn how to invest in social businesses that are creating positive social impact. Students will gain a foundation in understanding venture capital and impact investing, hear social ventures pitch their ideas, and learn how to think critically and analyze a business’ social impact and model.
“Kurt is by far my favorite professor on campus. I have now taken the Impact Investing class four times. When I first started the class, I treated it like a business class. Looking back, I wish I had treated it like a critical thinking, presentation, and life skills class. I now know how to assess which organizations have a meaningful social impact and which ones do not.
I would recommend this class to everyone! This course provided critical information as I worked with a startup company and then led me to victory as I competed in a national venture capital competition.” – Carmen Mann
Taught by Dan Blake & Todd Manwaring, this impact investing advanced class is open for all students from all academic backgrounds and majors. This course helps you build on the lessons learned in the Introduction to Impact Investing class and teaches the practical skills you need to learn how to invest in businesses that are creating positive social impact. You will gain a better understanding of venture capital and impact investing, work directly with social ventures and investors, learn how to think critically and analyze a business’s social impact and model, and perform due diligence. See this video to learn more about the Ballard Center/University Impact joint work.
“Taking the Advanced Impact Investing course helped me develop my critical thinking skills to ask the best questions when it comes to understanding if a proposed solution is actually solving the problem. As I connected with entrepreneurs, I felt empowered by their creative approaches to tackling difficult and complex issues. Their energy encouraged me to do my part in making accurate assessments and investment decisions. Evaluating companies from both the business and the impact perspectives helped me recognize how I can empower and enable the best solutions in solving today’s problems.” – Rebecca
The Impact Investing on-campus internship program partners student teams with leading impact investing firms to complete projects that encourage and finance social innovation. Credit towards graduation possible, see your college’s internship coordinator for more information.
This class is taught by Brent Goddard who has an MBA from Harvard and is a CSI industry leader with over 15 years of experience in solving social problems by implementing programs in Corporate America.
+ Counts towards Ballard Scholar for Social Innovation.
* Counts towards the MBA Social Innovation Emphasis.
~ Counts towards the Management Minor.
^ Counts towards the International Development Minor.
@ Counts towards the Civic Engagement Leadership Minor.
** Please see the official course listing for the appropriate section number.
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Walking into class on my first day of freshman year at BYU, I was dismayed to learn that MSB 375 was the Ballard Center’s Do Good. Better course—not the marketing class I’d been hoping to take. Luckily it turned out to be the most impactful course of my college career.
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