New Program for 2018: Minor in Social Innovation

The School of Integrative Studies (SIS) is offering a new minor in social innovation, an approach that meets social and environmental challenges by integrating across business, government, and nonprofit sectors to develop solutions that balances a triple bottom line of people, profit, and the planet. The minor grew from a concentration in social innovation that SIS currently offers to complement its bachelor of arts in integrative studies degree.

“The faculty associated with the concentration asked if they could create a minor to make the curriculum open to more students in the university,” says SIS executive director Kelly Dunne. “To concentrate in social innovation you had to be an integrative studies major; to minor in social innovation you can be any major.”

The minor was developed in consultation with Mason’s School of Business and the Schar School of Policy and Government, to ensure that it does not compete with programs offered by those schools, but instead expands the possibilities for students.

“Social innovation would be a good minor for any student who has an interest in being an agent of positive change,” says Dunne. “To solve problems, you have to be interdisciplinary and integrative, you can’t just look at the profit line. You’ve also got to look at the nonprofit, you’ve got to look at policy and procedures ... and take on the underlying issues that a foundation or philanthropy is trying to address.”

She continues, “That’s what social innovation is: It’s looking for a sustainable solution with a tri-sector approach to address the root of the problem.”