Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 49.23
Liaison Maria Dahmus
Submission Date June 21, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of St. Thomas
IN-24: Innovation A

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Cynthia Sarver
Director of Changemaking -- Mission
Social Innovation Collaboratory
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Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Ashoka U Changemaker Campus Designation

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

In April 2017, the University of St. Thomas was named a Changemaker Campus by Ashoka U (Ashokau.org), a consortium of over 40 colleges working to inspire a culture of social innovation and changemaking in higher education. St. Thomas became the first Changemaker Campus in Minnesota and the second in the Midwest, and one of thirty in the US. Ashoka U’s goal is to help colleges and universities foster the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that help students, faculty, staff, and graduates to address increasingly complex global challenges.

To receive the Changemaker Campus Designation, St. Thomas moved through an institutional transformation and evaluation process to demonstrate that social innovation and changemaking is embedded campus-wide into institutional culture, programs, and operations as a core value. The selection process took place over three years and involved multiple iterations in the development of a campus-wide action plan, beginning with the initial invitation to apply and application, to a 360-degree campus scan, to a site visit by Ashoka U staff and leadership from other Changemaker Campuses, to a final selection panel that involved more Ashoka U and Changemaker Campus leadership and evaluation.

The Changemaker Campus designation aligns with the University of St. Thomas’ mission (to “educate students to be morally responsible leaders who think critically, act wisely, and work skillfully to advance the common good”) by emphasizing the value of curriculum and programming that help campus members empathize with community stakeholders, develop understanding, and build true collaborations to solve social and environmental problems.

Since St. Thomas has received the Changemaker Campus designation, the university has formed new collaborations with leading Ashoka fellows such as Dana Mortenson who is working on transforming education for global citizenship, Amelia Franck Meyer who is working to reform the child welfare system, and Mitch Hedlund who is working to recycle right through standardized labeling. The university has also developed new educational programs, such as Healthcare Changemakers and Global Semester in India, to give students the opportunity to help create global solutions. Incubation programs such as the Clinton Global Initiative University, Hult Prize Competition, and Fowler Business Challenge have also since taken a more social and environmental focus, with student projects launched this year focusing on food waste, educational justice, energy, and food insecurity. The University has committed in the past year alone over $50,000 in start-up monies and scholarships to support these student’s social and environmental ventures.

Some significant developments over the course of our first year as a Changemaker Campus include:
• Launching of a collaboration with Ashoka Fellows (the largest network of social entrepreneurs in the world): Two students engaging with Ashoka fellows locally and globally to get hands-on experience practicing social innovation.
• Launching of a minor in Peace Engineering that provides opportunities for engineers to focus their efforts on the developing world.
• The St. Thomas-founded Brightside Produce group opened its first franchise in San Diego California.
• St. Thomas Engineering launched its first annual Empathy for Engineers bootcamp over J-term.
• St. Thomas opened its new create[space] innovation lab and Maker Space in the Anderson Student Center.

Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Campus Engagement
Public Engagement

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
The website URL where information about the innovation is available :
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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