Social Innovation

Changes effective Fall Term 2018

Faculty teaching Social Innovation courses come from departments across campus including, but not limited to, Anthropology, Art and Art History, Critical Media and Cultural Studies, Communication Studies, Environmental Studies, Political Science, Sociology, and Social Entrepreneurship. Please see the schedule of classes for each academic term for specific assignments.

Social innovation (SI) involves “the creation of new ideas that address social problems by reconceiving the status quo to create more sustainable and just systems that benefit marginalized groups and society as a whole” (Brown University). The Social Innovation major prepares Rollins students with the interdisciplinary knowledge and skills to solve social problems in innovative ways.  It covers different vehicles of social change, such as non-profits, public policy advocacy, activism, public awareness, and community organizing.  Skills highlighted in the SI major include human-centered design thinking (HCDT); critical analysis of social problems; data collection and analysis; impact assessment; creative problem-solving; public communication; organizational skills; empathy and emotional resiliency. The SI major prepares students to be global citizens and responsible leaders in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.


Students complete ten (10) courses from at least three different disciplines, at least five (5) of which must be at the 300-level or above. Students take four (4) core courses: SI 200; a core skills course; a core topics course examining a wide range of social problems; and an independent capstone experience. The capstone experience is a SI project that is pre-approved by a faculty sponsor and the SI program director. Students also select three (3) skills electives and three (3) topics electives. At least one of the courses that a student completes inside or outside of the major must be CE-designated. The Social Innovation major also includes an extensive experiential learning requirement. Students participate in three (3) activities, selected from a range of approved options that involve applied and immersive learning with communities external to Rollins.

This major is designed to allow students to build their curricular path around an area of passion, gaining the specific skills and knowledge that fit their interests. During the SI 200 course, all majors create their own curricular plan, identifying the core courses and electives that best address their substantive topic and career interests. Each plan is reviewed by the SI program director, then revised and approved in the junior year.

Students maintain an online portfolio throughout their major that provides evidence from their coursework and documents the completion of the experiential learning requirements.


Four (4) courses required. Courses marked with an asterisk (*) have discipline-specific prerequisites.


  • SI 200 Introduction to Social Innovation

SKILLS CORE COURSE (choose one):

  • CMC 110 Digital Storytelling
  • COM 295 Research Methods in Communication
  • SE 320 Strategies for Changemakers*
  • SI 310 Nonprofit Leadership and Innovation
  • SOC 301 Methodology*

TOPICS CORE COURSE (choose one):

  • ANT 150 Cultures of the World
  • ENV 348 Sustainable Development
  • POL 333 Case Studies in Sustainable Development
  • SE 220 Global Development Challenges and Opportunities
  • SOC 111 Social Problems

CAPSTONE EXPERIENCE (choose one, subject to approval by the program director; all major courses must be taken before or concurrent with the capstone):

  • SI 400 Independent study or project
  • Honors or Honors-in-the-Major thesis
  • Independent SI project within the capstone course of a double major (e.g., CMC, ENV)


Skills Electives (choose three; a skills course may not count for both a core and an elective):

  • ART [rFLA] The Power of Print
  • ART [rFLA] Contemporary Documentary Practice
  • ART [rFLA] Memory and the Photograph
  • ART [rFLA] Introduction to Sculpture: Art as Activism
  • CMC 200 Researching Media and Culture with Lab
  • CMC 240 Making Documentary
  • CMC 310 Media, Peace, and Justice
  • COM 325 Communication Campaigns
  • COM 331 Communication and Social Change
  • COM 355 Global Health Communication
  • ECO 181 Engines of Economic Change: Making Innovation Work for Social Progress
  • ENV 289 Nature in the City
  • ENV 302 Traditional Town Planning
  • HSL 335 Health Services Marketing
  • MAT 105 The Mathematics of Democracy
  • MAT [rFLA] Math for Social Justice
  • SE 305 Social Entrepreneurship Marketing*
  • SE 340 Designing and Planning for Social Entrepreneurship*
  • SE 345 Financing Social Entrepreneurship*
  • SOC 215 Statistics and Data Analysis for Social Science
  • SOC 301 Methodology*
  • SOC 330 Social Movements
  • THE 336 Theatre for Social Change
  • THE [rFLA] Performance Ethnography
  • THE [rFLA] Peacebuilding through Theatre

Topics Electives (choose three):

  • CMC 155 Solidarity, Equality, and Community
  • CMC 230 Media and Disability
  • CMC 270 Media, Gender, and Sexualities
  • CMC 300 Critical Frameworks for Contemporary Culture
  • CMC 320 Political Economy of Body and Food
  • CMC 325 Incarceration and Inequality
  • CMC 330 Native American Media and Cultural Studies
  • CMC 335 Critical Disability Studies
  • ECO 351 Economic Development
  • EDU 280 Diversity in American Education
  • EDU 385 Teaching Students with Special Needs
  • ENV 323 Conservation of Biodiversity
  • ENV 340 Environmental Justice
  • ENV 350 Food, Culture, and Environment
  • ENV 353 National Parks and Protected Areas
  • ENV 390 Culture and Landscape
  • FRN 381 Topics in Contemporary France
  • GBH 200 Introduction to Public Health
  • HIS 120 Decade of Decision: 1970s
  • HIS 120 Decade of Decision: 1780s
  • HIS 141 African-American History II
  • HIS 346 The United States Since 1945
  • HIS 347 History of Urban America
  • MENA 200 Middle Eastern Immigrant Memoirs
  • MENA 201 Islamophobia
  • POL 302 Politics of Global Poverty
  • POL 330 Peace and Conflict
  • POL 332 International Human Rights
  • PSY 328 Developmental Psychology
  • REL [rFLA] Extremes of Religion
  • SE 300 Law and Ethics of Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • SE 302 Indigenous Entrepreneurship
  • SOC 302 Sociological Theory
  • SOC 331 The Civil Rights Movement and Black Freedom Struggle in the United States
  • SOC 345 Sociology of Gender
  • SOC 346 Sexualities
  • SOC 350 Class Inequality
  • SOC 355 Race and Ethnic Relations
  • SOC 356 The State of Black America
  • SOC 360 Poverty and Social Welfare
  • THE [rFLA] Theatre and Disability
  • THE [rFLA] Refugees of the Middle East Performance Lab


SI majors must complete at least one Community Engagement (CE) designated course inside or outside the major before completing the capstone.


Choose experiences from three (3) different categories. When in doubt, SI-related projects must be approved by the SI program director. It is suggested that all three experiential learning requirements are completed before capstone, but at a minimum, two must be completed before the capstone

Participation in one of the following field study or summer programs:

  • CHM WaSH in the Dominican Republic
  • EDU Rural Education in Rwanda
  • ENV Environment and Development in Central America
  • ENV Exploring the Everglades
  • ENV Portland Oregon Field Study
  • INB Live, Learn, Labor: Latin America
  • POL Social Entrepreneurship in the Dominican Republic
  • POL Health and Human Rights in South Africa
  • POL Community Development in Tanzania
  • REL India & the Infinite
  • REL Jerusalem
  • Participation in any SIT study abroad program
  • Participation in any Rollins Immersion program
  • Participation in the Sullivan Foundation or Ashoka U Exchange conference
  • Participation in Leadership Ally program (working on an SI-related project)
  • Completion of a SI-related internship (interdisciplinary designation)
  • Participation in the Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Program (SI-related project)
  • Completion of an Edyth Bush Institute certificate program


SI majors must take at least one-half of all courses for the major at Rollins (no exemption for transfer students), and at least one-half of all courses for the major at the 300-400 level. Courses earning credit for the major must represent at least three different disciplines.


The portfolio includes items such as the student’s curricular plan; reflection papers that link the experiential learning component to their coursework; and the capstone project and must be viewed and approved by the SI program director before graduation. Students should schedule a meeting with the SI program director for more details.

SI Course Descriptions

SI 200 Introduction to Social Innovation: This course is the required introductory course for the Social Innovation major.  It offers students who want to make a difference in the world an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of social innovation: skills, methodologies, career opportunities, trail blazers and organizations. This course explores several complex social problems (e.g. poverty, food security) and helps students to start thinking about solutions and social change.

SI 310 Nonprofit Leadership and Innovation: This course introduces you to the nonprofit sector, nonprofit organizations, and the concepts of leadership and innovation in this sector. It examines the inner workings of nonprofit organizations to ascertain what practices contribute to successful attainment of their goals.