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Social Enterprise +
Leading Change

Global Certificate from the Open Society University Network

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Social Enterprise + Leading Change

The Open Society University Network and the Graduate Programs in Sustainability at Bard College, in collaboration with faculty at other OSUN institutions,  offers the OSUN Certificate in Social Enterprise + Leading Change. The Certificate can be earned by undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in participating universities. The Certificate  is grounded in project-based learning and features a weekly global classroom including students from Bangladesh, Palestine, Colombia, Kyrgyzstan, Bulgaria and the US, among other countries. Students also meet locally and in-person with faculty co-instructors to develop their projects.

This Certificate provides leadership training in the critical thinking and skill sets needed to create and build “Social Enterprises”: both nonprofit and mission-driven for-profit organizations. It offers a focus on "sustainable business", theoretical perspectives and concrete tools designed for students from all disciplines—the arts, natural and social sciences, the humanities--who want to drive social change through building new organizations or transforming existing ones. It is designed as a low-cost plug-in for universities around the world seeking a program of study in leading social and environmental change through business and nonprofit leadership. If you are a student at an institution that offers the courses below, please APPLY HERE.

About the program:

The core of the program is offered through OSUN Network Collaborative Courses. These project-based courses feature a weekly global classroom -- a synchronous global webinar-- with students attending from participating universities worldwide.  The students also meet weekly in-person with their local co-instructors to drive their course projects.  This means that to earn the certificate, students must be enrolled in a participating university. To find out if your university offers access to the OSUN Network Collaborative Courses, please contact ebangood@bard.edu.

Students earn the Certificate by completing this course sequence, including at least three courses drawn from:

  • Sustainable Development and Social Enterprise (OSUN Network Collaborative Course, OR OSUN Online Course)
  • Social Entrepreneurship (OSUN Network Collaborative Course)
  • Leading Change for Sustainability (OSUN Network Collaborative Course)
  • Up to one other course designated as a  Social Enterprise and Leading Change Certificate Course at an OSUN institution.

See the Course Descriptions Below. 

To learn more about the certificate, please contact the Director of GPS, Dr. Eban Goodstein, ebangood@bard.edu. Please APPLY HERE.


Who chooses the Certificate in Social Enterprise + Leading Change?

Students Interested in Sustainable Business and Non-Profit Solutions to Social and Environmental Challenges

Have you ever thought about starting a business or a non-profit to solve some of the world's biggest challenges? This Certificate introduces  students from all disciplines-- arts, communciation,  design, natural science, social science, engineers and others-- to the skills and mindset needed to lead mission-drive enterprises. 


Sustainable Development and Social Enterprise. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals highlights 17 key areas for global progress, ranging from food security to women’s empowerment to climate change action. One way to achieve these goals is through social enterprise: for-profit and non-profit organizations whose mission is to advance one or more of the SDGs. This collaborative, cross-institution course explores the global drivers of change that led to the UN SDG’s, with a particular focus on Social Enterprise solutions. The experiential component of the course engages students in conducting shared research projects on local enterprise ecoystems focused on solutions to the SDG’s.

Social Entrepreneurship. This is a collaborative, cross-institution course in social entrepreneurship designed for undergraduates, where student teams ideate and develop models for social enterprises. Social entrepreneurship is the process of building new organizations that offer scalable solutions to social and environmental challenges. Social enterprise can be either for-profit, or non-profit. The practice of social entrepreneurship explores the full suite of liberal learning: critical analysis, persuasive writing, oral communication, quantitative reasoning, design thinking, and group social dynamics. The course will culminate in a “shark tank for sustainability” among and between teams from the different universities, with winning teams then competing at the Bard MBA’s annual Disrupt to Sustain pitch competition in December. The course includes readings and discussion focused on social issues related to entrepreneurship: drivers of change, from decarbonization to AI; delinking growth from material throughput; urban-based innovation ecosystems; social obstacles to risk taking; working on multi-disciplinary teams; language, power and gender dynamics in entrepreneurship; deconstructing the archetypes of entrepreneurship.

Leading Change for Sustainability. This is a collaborative, cross-institution course focused on how to create progressive change with an organization. Student teams develop and advance proposals for organizational innovation within their university or their workplace. Examples might include carbon footprint reduction, expansion of local food offerings, improved daycare or transportation for students and workers, or improved recycling system. Topics include leadership skills; critical conversations; understanding why change fails more often than it succeeds; key factors that drive successful organizational change; the role of the change facilitator; and tools for designing and facilitating processes that bring forth the group intelligence.