Social Innovation Minor

Graduate students can now acquire additional skills and experience in social innovation through the social innovation minor.

2015–16 MBA Social Innovation Minor Criteria

Step 1

Register here. Let us know that you are interested. MBA students should also notify Christine Roundy. No application is required.

Step 2

You must complete a total of six credits.

Complete the following course:

  • MPA 692: Social Innovation & Social Entrepreneurship (1.5 credit, fall)

Complete one of the two following courses:

  • MPA 651A: Nonprofit Organization Management 1 (1.5 credit, fall)
  • MPA 623: Nonprofit Structure and Tax (1.5 credit, winter)

Complete three credits from among the following courses:

  • MPA 651A or MPA 623 not taken as one of the required courses (1.5, see above)
  • MPA 659R: Grantwell (1.5 fall and 1.5 winter)
  • MBA 693R: Social Innovation Masters Classes (1.0). Classes will vary by semester/term. Courses may include Corporate Social Responsibility, Impact Investing, Personal Philanthropy, Microfinance, Impact Measurement, and others.
Jeff Roberts
“The classes associated with the minor really affected my decision for what type of organization I wanted to work with after graduation and where I would donate my time and money. The Do Good. Better. mindset will give me a leg up at my new job. When I put social innovation minor on my résumé, employers ask about it.”
— Jeff Roberts, MPA Class of 2015

Course Descriptions

MBA 692 Social Innovation & Social Entrepreneurship

This class focuses on solving issues that social innovators face; understanding complex systems of for-profit, nonprofit and hybrid social ventures; and outlining involvement in social innovation as part of a lifetime of meaningful service. Available only during the first term of fall semester.

MPA 623 Nonprofit Structure and Tax

This class is an introduction to nonprofit organizations including their history, structure, legal requirements, and finances. Topics include nonprofit corporate structures, tax-exempt status, altruism and economics, and nonprofit revenue sources. Emphasizes what every nonprofit manager and board member should know.

MPA 651A Nonprofit Organization Management (Fall Only)

This course focuses on managing the various stakeholders in the nonprofit sector including staff, volunteers, board of directors, political leaders, media, and other unique internal and external factors.

MPA 619R International Development Policy

This course prepares students to design and evaluate effective programs meant to foster international development. We review the current empirical evidence on what types of programs tend to effectively cause change in developing countries, study behavioral economic theory, review design thinking, and apply these principles in designing a new solution to a development problem.

MPA 659R Grantwell

This project-based course explores real-world issues in philanthropy. Students will learn to understand resource development, strategic funding priorities, applicant assessment, grant evaluation, and grant management through projects with large individual and institutional donors. Students get to assist with funding actual organizations. The following illustrates the grant process: 

  1. The donor and Grantwell students establish grant criteria.
  2. The Grantwell students issue a request for proposal (RFP).
  3. Nonprofits submit grant proposals to Grantwell, which are evaluated by Grantwell students.
  4. The Grantwell students submit recommendations to the donor.
  5. The donor contributes funds to the selected nonprofit.

MPA 693R Nonprofit Board Practicum

The Ballard Center has developed the Nonprofit Board Practicum program to give graduate students hands-on experience with nonprofit organizations. Selected graduate students are placed on the board of directors of a local nonprofit organization for the academic year.

monb1Nonprofit Board Practicum provides graduate students with the opportunities to:

  • Contribute to board discussions and network with board professionals
  • Serve as a non-voting member on the board of directors
  • Learn how nonprofit organizations are managed while gaining leadership skills
  • Utilize graduate coursework to create and present a project for their assigned organization
  • Earn class credit by serving in the community

The Nonprofit Board Practicum mission is twofold: provide students with leadership experience and community service through placement as non-voting board members, and utilize student expertise to advance projects and analysis of nonprofit organizations. 

This class includes lecture sessions, organizational board meetings, and project analysis. Graduate students interested in Nonprofit Board Practicum must apply one to two weeks prior to the start of each fall semester.