There are a variety of courses across all disciplines —both core and elective— that incorporate the principles of social value creation into Smith pedagogy. As the social value creation space develops we help Smith stay ahead of the curve by delivering fresh and relevant content. Have an idea for a new course? Let us know – we are happy to hear from you.
BMGT 389E: Maryland Social Entrepreneur Corps
Faculty: Sara Herald
The Maryland Social Entrepreneur Corps (MSEC) is a dynamic international internship program for undergraduate students to combat poverty in Latin America by supporting small community-based businesses. This unique study and internship program teaches the basic principles of social entrepreneurship through courses, case studies, discussions, and hands-on, practical experience. By applying skills learned in the classroom such as needs and feasibility analyses, effective marketing techniques, the fundamentals of accounting, persuasive communication, and more, MSEC students empower local organizations and small businesses through targeted consulting engagements. Students also learn to implement the micro-consignment model, a unique form of social entrepreneurship that incurs no risk for the entrepreneur and ensures that the consumers are provided with access to essential products, technologies and services, such as energy efficient stoves, solar-powered lamps, water filtration systems, and eyeglasses. Learn more.
HONR248R : Sustainability Solutions Business Lab
Faculty: Rachelle Sampson
Environmental and their related social problems present some of the most significant issues facing society and business today. Accelerated depletion of natural resources, deforestation, dwindling water supplies, increased waste accumulation and climate change all pose challenges for the current generation to solve. While government policy is part of the solution to these issues, private solutions that harness the power and speed of capitalist markets may present some of the fastest and most effective change. This seminar is designed to give students tools for solving sustainability related problems through companies (whether for or not for profit). In this seminar, we begin with a discussion of the underlying economics and market failures that have led to many of the environmental problems we currently face. With an understanding of the issues, students then develop a business plan for a new idea whose main objective is to solve a sustainability related problem.
BMGT 289A: Social Enterprise – Changing the World through Innovation and Transformative Action
Faculty: Halley Aelion
Thousands of individuals are inventing creative new approaches to social change, the tools of business to build lasting solutions. Where do social entrepreneurs come from? How do they develop their passion for changing the world? Can anyone become a social entrepreneur? This course looks at the history and theory of social change, reviews the skills, strategies, and ideas of effective change agents and gives students the tools to create a blueprint for their ideas for social transformation.
BMGT289K: Giving Voice To Values
Faculty: Brian Nelson
Giving Voice to Values (“GVV”) provides students with an effective way of identifying their personal values and, more importantly, giving expression to those values in their present and future individual and group commitments and conduct. Background in cutting-edge medical and psychological research on the nature of “happiness” at the beginning of the course give way to each student’s detailed reflections (shared in small groups of students) on the meaning to his or her personal histories, relationships and aspirations – together with insights into the personal histories, relationships and aspirations of other students. The course concludes with a series of real-life mini-cases involving undergraduate university students or recent graduates.
BMGT 468U: Social Entrepreneurship Laboratory
Faculty: Christine Beckman, Sara Herald
The class will give students the opportunity to experiment with the essential principles of social entrepreneurship. The Social Entrepreneurship Laboratory will be an active learning environment to test hypotheses around the creation of social ventures and develop a deep understanding of the field in practice. Teams will iteratively test ideas and assumptions through experimentation, document results, incorporate feedback from key stakeholders, develop a minimum viable product, and present their solutions. In this way, we expect novel insights and truly creative models to emerge.The primary learning tool for this class will be experiments conducted in teams around solving a particular social problem.
BMGT 468V: Transformative Action – Effective Methods for Social Change
(Part of the Social Innovation Fellows Program)
Faculty: David Kirsch
This course introduces students to the most effective methods of social change by looking at the social entrepreneurs, innovators and visionaries who are coming up with new methods of solving society’s problems. Students examine traditional methods of activism as well as a new theory of nonviolent social change called “transformative action.” The first few weeks of the course introduce the students to many case studies, and then the course reviews the skills, strategies, and ideas of effective social change advocates in the 21st century. Each student develops an original blueprint for social innovation: a creative proposal for solving a societal problem based on their interest.
BMGT 468W: Social Innovation Practicum
(Part of the Social Innovation Fellows Program)
Faculty: David Kirsch
Working in teams of four or five, students immerse themselves in a social issue of common concern through a service practicum with a nonprofit organization or social enterprise. Student projects are developed in partnership with the organizations but the goal of the practicum is two-fold: 1) help the organizations develop a new entrepreneurial service or program to address a specific pressing social need in the community, and 2) provide students with a deep understanding of the root causes of a particular social issue and how such issues can be best addressed through entrepreneurial action.
BMGT478B: Special Topics in Supply Chain Management; Green Supply Chain
Faculty: Taylor Wilkerson
This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to current and future best practices, approaches and technologies in the area of sustainable supply chain management - “green” supply chain. The course will focus on supply chain sustainability from the environmental stewardship perspective. As such, it will focus on energy, environment, waste and resource management; it will NOT focus on human/social sustainability (e.g., labor/human resource management practices). Students will have the opportunity to meet and learn from green supply chain practitioners as well as design their own green supply chain operation.
BMGT 496: Business Ethics and Society
Faculty: Brian Nelson
This course emphasizes a strategic approach by business to the management of its external environment. Students engage in a study of the standards of business conduct, morals and values as well as the role of business in society with consideration of the sometimes conflicting interests of and claims on the firm and its objectives.
MBA Smith Experience Course: Community Wealth Building Practicum (offered in Baltimore)
Faculty: Rachelle Sampson
The Evergreen Cooperatives have created quality jobs for some of the hardest-to-employ residents of several inner-city Cleveland neighborhoods. As enterprises designed to meet several of the City’s largest nonprofit organizations’ purchasing needs, the cooperatives are also helping ensure that dollars do not leak out of the community and instead benefit local people and their neighborhoods. Similar to Cleveland, Baltimore’s most marginalized neighborhoods are also home to some of the city’s most powerful nonprofit institutions. Teams of masters students from business, law, and social work will help nurture worker-owned cooperatives that could meet West Baltimore’s anchors’ procurement needs and create quality, empowering jobs for unemployed city residents. Read more about this course.
BUSI 758N Strategic Management for Nonprofit & Public Organizations
Faculty: Rob Sheehan
Serving as a successful leader for a nonprofit or public organization of any kind requires an understanding of the strategic management process and a well-developed and managed strategy is a key to an organization’s performance. This course provides an integrated approach to leadership theories and concepts, research, and modern practices related to strategic planning and execution. Leading strategy approaches will be discussed and students will gain a deep understanding of how strategy can be effectively developed, implemented, and managed in these organizations. The course will be relevant for students who want to work for and/or consult with nonprofit and government organizations. Course cross-listed as PUAF 689Z.
BUMO 758D: Social Entrepreneurship (offered in Washington, D.C.)
Faculty: James Sanders
This course is about using entrepreneurial skills to craft innovative responses to social problems. Entrepreneurs are particularly good at recognizing opportunities, exploring innovative approaches, mobilizing resources, managing risks, and building viable enterprises. These skills are just as valuable in the social sector as they are in business. Social entrepreneurship applies to both profit and non-profit firms who have programs designed to create social value. The key issues today are measuring social impact, impact investment, and the blurring lines between social, public, and private sector.
BULM 758F: Economics of Sustainable Development
Faculty: Rachelle Sampson
Sustainability issues facing firms are multi-faceted and, in most cases, without clear strategic solutions. The goal of this course is to better understand the issues of sustainability in a series of different contexts. Within each context, we examine the underlying market failures that lead to sub-optimal social outcomes along with commonly employed economic solutions to these problems.
Accounting For Social Value In Corporate America (offered in Baltimore)
Faculty: Samuel Handwerger
This course surveys American companies and their efforts to raise their standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. First, the course will focus on for-profit companies: How they establish their corporate structure and governance to achieve these goals. Then the course will discuss the quintessential social value company -The almost uniquely American invention of the nonprofit charitable organization. As such, the course will serve as an introduction to the formation and operation of a nonprofit entity. Emphasis will be placed on the legal rules and environment within which these entities exist. Topics will include: organizational requirements, gaining and maintaining tax-exemption, board governance and stewardship, issues of private inurement, and public charities versus private foundations. The course concludes with the study of the joint venturing of for-profit and non-profit organizations, the so-called hybrid entity.
Strategic Growth for Emerging Social and Commercial Ventures (offered in Shady Grove)
Faculty: Jonathan Aberman
This course explores the key elements of mastering the move from being a successful small entrepreneurial enterprise to achieving industry significance, whether as a for profit, not for profit or blended model. The challenge of converting innovation into a lasting and sustainable business model must be met by any venture, whether the customer is society, donors, stockholders or consumers. Supplemented by readings, video and guest speakers, the course highlights the application of practical lessons leading to strategic growth and subsequent emergence as a player, and allows students to see the many facets of strategy, organizational development and growth as they specifically relate to scaling an entrepreneurial enterprise.
Managers in society: Ethical leadership (offered in Washington, D.C.)
Faculty: Shreevardhan Lele
This course examines the responsibilities of the manager in today’s market-oriented globalized society. In doing so, we present a specific conception of ethical leadership. In the first three weeks, we establish a framework that borrows from the fields of ethics (moral philosophy as well as moral psychology) and political economy. In the next three weeks, we apply this framework to examine managerial responsibilities to a variety of stakeholder groups. In the last week, we examine the ability of corporate governance systems to meaningfully bear ethical responsibilities and the consequent implications for the socio-political system.
Social Innovation (blended format; Summer; offered in Washington, D.C.)
Faculty: Christine Beckman
How do you make a difference, while also making a living? What are the promising opportunities for emerging business leaders to take on the world’s social and environmental challenges? This course offers tools to help you identify those opportunities and pursue them effectively. Whether you seek to become a change agent in the context of a traditional corporate career – or whether you aim to start a new venture for that purpose – there are common methods that can help you make a positive impact on the world. This course introduces you to those methods, and also provides a forum for testing and critically evaluating them.
Assessing and Managing the Sociopolitical Environment (summer; offered in Washington, D.C.)
Faculty: Bennet Zelner
This class focuses on the assessment and management of business risks and opportunities arising in the sociopolitical environment. The sociopolitical environment consists of the institutions of government—the legislative, executive, legal, regulatory, and other formal structures that govern the promulgation and implementation of public policies—as well as the culturally-influenced norms, values, and beliefs that influence which business practices are deemed legitimate and acceptable by various stakeholder groups, and which ones are not.
Classes offered through the School of Public Policy
PUAF 689Y Non-Profit Fundraising
Faculty: Susannah Washburn
Stemming from the disciplines of economics, psychology and sociology, this course explores the theoretical understandings of fundraising for nonprofit organizations and how they are applied to the practice of raising voluntary support. Students will also investigate different theoretical paradigms in which scholars and scholar-practitioners can approach the study and practice of fundraising. Additionally, students will discover the fundraising theories and practices that engage communities across diverse social identities including, communities of color, LGBT, and gender.
PUAF 798Y Non-Profit Management
Faculty: Angela Bies
This course provides an introduction to the nonprofit sector and the leadership and management skills required to achieve a social impact. During the semester, students examine and discuss the trends, issues, and challenges facing a nonprofit leader as well as management approaches and innovations by examining case studies and engaging in management simulations. The course includes the opportunity to conduct a mini-consulting project with a nonprofit or nongovernmental organization.