Social Entrepreneurship Professorships at Tulane

Social Entrepreneurship Overview

Social entrepreneurs employ skills such as finding opportunities, inventing new approaches, securing and focusing resources, and managing risk in the service of creating social value and systemic change. As the intensity and complexity of social and environmental problems have grown in recent years, social entrepreneurship, defined as an innovative, value-creating activity with a social purpose, can occur within or across the nonprofit, government or business sectors. In recent years, this work has become increasingly prominent. While virtually all enterprises, commercial and social, generate social value, fundamental to social entrepreneurship is the goal of achieving positive social impact.

Social Entrepreneurship at Tulane

Building on existing strengths in civic engagement and service learning, Tulane University developed an interdisciplinary, university-wide program in Social Entrepreneurship, Social Innovation and Changemaking at the Taylor Center. The Center focuses on solution-oriented thinking, integrating theory and practice, and stimulating research across fields to better understand and create new models for social change, especially within higher education. Our specific contribution to the field aims to channel the strength and resources to develop an academically rigorous program of research and teaching in the field. Further, we believe select faculty from across the disciplines of Tulane University can contribute to the advancement of this endeavor with diverse approaches.

Growing student interest in social entrepreneurship and social innovation was best served by aligning our strengths with student needs, which led to the development of an undergraduate minor in social entrepreneurship and social innovation (SISE). We are currently exploring opportunities to expand our high-impact learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students interested in the field. Faculty-led research in social entrepreneurship, social innovation and changemaking spans disciplines and is another expanding area on campus and around the world.

In 2011, with generous donor support, the endowed Social Entrepreneurship Professorships were launched with five distinguished faculty members appointed for renewable terms. Thanks to the significant achievements of these faculty members, and with additional resources from generous donors, there are now ten endowed SE Professorships affiliated with the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking.

Description of Professorships

Social Entrepreneurship Professors constitute a dynamic, interdisciplinary faculty team motivated to support and develop social innovation across the entire university. Each Professorship is granted to a faculty member whose areas of research, teaching, creative pursuits, or community activities can be linked to social entrepreneurship, social innovation and/or changemaking. These faculty colleagues are expected to share their learning with students and other colleagues in any number of ways. For example, current and past SE professors have established social entrepreneurship related courses, taught within the SISE minor, served on award funding, mentored student social ventures, hosted roundtable discussions for students, and/or supported other initiatives of the Taylor Center.  See additional notes below on various forms of involvement.

Criteria

Eligibility requirements include the following criteria:

  1. Hold an appointment as a full-time member of the faculty (i.e., tenured, tenure track, clinical track, or professor of practice track) at Tulane Un
  2. Have a strong record of scholarship and accomplishment and the desire to engage work through a social entrepreneurship and/or social innovation lens.
  3. Have the willingness to work across disciplines to help promote social entrepreneurship across the university.
  4. Share an interest in engaging with Changemakers on campus.

Selected SE Professor(s) will be granted an initial three-year term, renewable for an additional two-year term upon mutual agreement.

Requirements

The Social Entrepreneurship Professors are expected to support Taylor Center in several of the following ways:

  • Teaching or co-teaching courses that utilize a social innovation and/or social entrepreneurship framework or lens: e.g., Offering 4000-level SISE electives within your area of specialization, infusing social innovation into undergraduate or graduate level courses within home departments.
  • Presenting as a guest speaker or serving as a resource for ongoing activities such as the Changemaker RLC, SISE classes, Fast 48, or Social Innovation Conversations.
  • Offering new and relevant co-curricular learning opportunities on social innovation or social entrepreneurship topics
  • Developing and executing a scholarly research agenda to further enhance social entrepreneurship/social innovation theory, practice, and education.
  • Facilitating or participating in student and campus programming: e.g., RLC, Changemaker Institute social venture accelerator, and Taylor Student Awards Review Committees.
  • Attending the yearly Ashoka U Exchange conference.

These opportunities are typically discussed by the SE Professors with the Taylor Center Executive Director and often with one or more other members of the SE Professor cohort.

SE Professors meet regularly with the other SE Professors and SISE teaching faculty to continue the development of the social innovation programming. Prior to the interview of finalists, each will be asked to provide a written proposal outlining his/her proposed involvement based on the Taylor Center’s needs and the applicant’s unique strengths, areas of interest, and expertise he/she can bring to the Center.

Procedure

Nominations (including self-nominations) will be treated in confidence, shared with the selection committee alone. Candidates should provide their CV and a letter of interest (no more than two pages). Current SE Professors, the Director of Taylor Center, and staff/faculty from the SISE minor will participate in the selection process. Appointment to the Social Entrepreneurship Professorship will be made by the Provost after his consideration of the review and recommendations by this committee.

Privileges and Benefits of the Title

Appointment as a Social Entrepreneurship Professor does not change the nature of the formal appointment or tenure of a faculty member.

Within the constraints of available resources, Social Entrepreneurship Professors each receive at total  between $7,500 and $12,000 annual during their term. The totals vary depending on the endowment totals for each professorship. These funds may be used for course developments, course buy-outs, research or practice opportunities, and various social entrepreneurship activities. SE Professors discuss their plans for the use of funds with the Taylor Center Director. Up to one month of summer salary (1/9 of total salary for full-time faculty) may be directed toward a specific social entrepreneurship project. In such a case, the SE Professor must submit and proposal for review and approval by the Director.

Social Entrepreneurship Professors have the opportunity to promote their social entrepreneurship endeavors through cross-departmental, cross-School, and/or university-wide activities. Social Entrepreneurship Professors can also coordinate with other faculty, SISE instructors, and Taylor staff in support of their work.