There are 4 courses that are part of the I&E Certificate! A gateway course of our choosing, the I&E Keystone, an elective of our choosing, and the concluding capstone.

Gateway: Social Innovation

Course Description:
This course will provide an introduction to the field of social innovation. Through readings, classroom discussion, experiential learning, and individual and team assignments, the course will provide students with concepts and frameworks for understanding and practicing effective social innovation. The course develops a theory of innovation and describes examples of persons and organizations demonstrating innovative approaches. We will look at how to innovate effectively and the attributes and skills that cultivate such innovation. We will also explore the limitations of social innovation and consider critical arguments that the field must address.

I chose to take this class because I had never known what social innovation was and I wanted to learn about the novel field. I had always been involved with different charity foundations and I was curious to better understand the differences between the philanthropic organizations with which I had worked and these profit generating social enterprises we studied in the course. It was fascinating to hear about different social innovation ventures first hand from entrepreneurs themselves and I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to engage with the coursework for the semester I took the class. It was unlike any class I had taken in the past and laid the groundwork for my ultimate pursuit of the certificate.

Keystone: Strategies for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Course Description:
This course covers component elements of developing skills needed to launch a venture. Starting at the point of need identification, course covers lean methodology; innovation and entrepreneurship strategy; creating needed financing and resource structures; effectively marketing/communicating innovation and its associated benefits; leading, managing, and working effectively within teams; creating a positive and ethical work culture; and evaluating success. At the end of the course, the students are equipped with the foundational knowledge and skills to go ahead and create their own business or venture.

Elective: Social Marketing for Entrepreneurs 

Course Description:
This course dives into the  customer side of social media that most people do not think about. Instead of focusing on social media as entertainment, over the semester we focused on using social media to market products, companies, ideas, and our own personal brands. Through a variety of readings, case studies, and guest speakers, we learned how to think about social media as a tool for promotion, brand building, and revenue generation. The course was divided into three modules focusing on personal brand building, establishing industry influence, and selling goods or services.

I chose to take this class because as the years go on, social media is becoming a greater and greater predictor of success and influence. In order to understand what is happening behind the scenes and how this success is being generated is crucial in building one’s own personal brand as well as being effective when marketing the brand of companies or groups one represents. The class broadened my understanding of what defines social media and what makes one’s presence on social media a success versus a failure. I was eager to build a more critical eye when it came to looking at social media and comprehending the marketing strategies that were being employed. I will definitely be able to incorporate the skills I gained from this class into my future career.

Capstone: Entrepreneurship Capstone

In this course, students bring together interdisciplinary insights from their work throughout the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Certificate program to shed light on innovation and entrepreneurship and the roles they play in addressing the world’s most pressing problems. Students will focus on applying what they have learned through the certificate curriculum to develop an innovation and entrepreneurship capstone project.

This is the final course of the I&E certificate where we have studied and probed problems that we face on our campus everyday.  The class is full of discussion and iteration of products, deep conversations about defining certain problems, and also has guest speakers that allow us to address topics in innovation that are truly cutting edge.