Insights from the Ashoka U Commons coach

offering-commonsBy Dr. Tonia L. Warnecke, 
Associate Professor of Social Entrepreneurship & Business,
Department Director, Social Entrepreneurship
Co-Director, Center for India & South Asia
Rollins College 

Similar to Rollins, many colleges and universities around the world are working to integrate and highlight social innovation and social entrepreneurship education.  The Ashoka U Commons is a “virtual accelerator”, matching college and universities with a similar goal to a coach who facilitates the process as participants learn together, set individual project objectives, and apply best practices as they flesh out their projects. There are 6 cohorts for participants to choose from:

It’s fun and rewarding to collaborate with other institutions; fall 2016 will be my second time coaching the Building a Social Innovation Course Sequence cohort.  I have seen that there are some common challenges faced by most colleges and universities working on new academic programs (e.g. funding), but each situation is unique.  Among other things, campus culture, organizational structure, institutional mission, student interest, faculty commitment and participation, administrative support, and external partnerships influence the development and implementation of new programs. 

As a coach, I need to adapt ideas and tailor problem-solving strategies to different institutional contexts.  It’s a fun challenge, and I love it.  Last term, I worked with a small liberal arts college, a medium-size international university, and a large state university.  Each institution developed great projects paired with a context analysis and future steps, and I look forward to seeing the fruits of their labor. 


One comment

  1. Mary Conway Dato-on · July 19, 2016

    Dr. Warnecke – Thanks for all you do at Rollins and beyond to help educate students, scholars, and practitioners on social entrepreneurship.


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