Center for Social Entrepreneurship

at Middlebury

Curricular Connections

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The SE is designed to enhance the liberal arts experience for Middlebury students. Integration of social entrepreneurship in academic classes provides the opportunity in students to engage the theory behind social change along with exploring their own identity and agency. Many current courses complement the SE’s programming, including:


  • Society and the Individual – SOAN 105
    This course examines the human condition from the standpoint of sociological thought. Students will learn to engage issues facing the world today by asking classic   sociological questions. Ultimately, the course material reconstructs “the individual” as a social phenomenon that exists as a result of its relationship to various structural forces—modernity, capitalism, the state, rationality, and other key components of our current predicament. As it is an introductory course, we explore these ideas through the giants of modern social theory: Durkheim, Marx, Weber, Freud, Dubois, etc. However, by also exploring recent texts and currents events, we will learn to see the relevance of these founding ideas today. Overall, you should leave this course with a few new lenses with which to analyze the world, and an appreciation for how sociologists think.


  • Enterprise, Social Entrepreneurship, and the Liberal Arts – INTD 0221
    In this class students will explore how entrepreneurial innovators solve significant problems by creating new enterprises, and how these new organizations impact our society. In today’s society, entrepreneurship seems ubiquitous. At times, it appears that entrepreneurs can do no wrong. At other times, they are depicted as over-optimistic fools. Such polar characterizations may sell magazines, but they do not capture what entrepreneurship is, which involves a more complex and interesting story— in both for-profit and social entrepreneurship environments. Students will explore entrepreneurship in depth with the goal of penetrating the popular veneer and uncovering the essence of starting and growing new enterprises designed to solve significant societal problems.


  • Design Lab: Creating Innovation – HARC 0120A
    In this course students will explore the fundamental principles of design thinking and creative innovation. We will pursue all aspects of the design process, from discerning opportunities and researching solutions to developing concepts and generating prototypes. We will explore design approaches from the renowned Bauhaus to those offered today by digital development and fabrication, including 3-D printing. Students will participate in workshops, conduct individual projects, work in teams, and make presentations on implementing their designs. We will also engage in discussions of how their designs affect the environmental and ethical aspects of our increasingly global and digital world.


  • Management and Enterprises – INTD 0220A
    Social enterprises, schools, governments, and businesses all need to be managed; indeed “manager” is today’s most common job, yet most managers would struggle to explain what management is. In this course we will review different types of organizations, their common functions, and what it means to manage them. In the class wWe will review the history and development of management theory, functions, roles, skills, organization, structure, and behavior. In the lab students will work in small groups to understand, articulate, and address management issues faced by a real enterprise. Students will learn practical management techniques and skills including problem solving, teamwork, and communications. Professor David Colander will be assisting with the class, giving occasional lectures, and connecting the class to broad liberal arts themes.


  • MiddCORE (Middlebury’s award-winning leadership and innovation program)
    MiddCORE’s mentor-driven leadership and innovation immersion program builds skills and confidence through collaborative, experiential, impact-focused learning.  Through daily, weekly, and month-long challenges, students gain experience in leadership, strategic thinking, idea creation, collaboration, persuasive communication, ethical decision-making, cross-cultural understanding, conflict resolution, empathy, and crisis management.


  • MiddEntrepreneurs (for students who want to start their own business or nonprofit organization)
    Entrepreneurship is the mindset and skill set that allows passionate people to execute business plans and create lasting, influential companies. Students will go from idea to company launch quickly and effectively through deliverables, class discussions, and hands-on mentoring both from professors and visiting entrepreneurs and investors.  Class will be focused on building a prototype, testing the market, and engaging with customers, so students should be prepared for significant hands-on work outside of class time.  At the conclusion of the course, students will compete with their classmates in a pitch competition for bragging rights, a prize, and the Schiller Cup trophy.


  • The Design, Partnering, Management, and Innovation (DPMI)
    This two or three week certificate is offered during January in Monterey, California or Nairobi, Kenya and May/June in Monterey, California; Washington, DC; and Rwanda. Students will gain the program design, evaluation, strategic partnering, and facilitation skills needed to launch a career in international development, becoming part of a global network of over 1,000 DPMI alumni tackling the world’s most pressing problems.


The following Middlebury faculty are great allies who can be a wonderful resource to learn more about social entrepreneurship and social innovation:

  • Nadia Rabesahala Horning, Associate Professor of Political Science & Faculty Director of Social Entrepreneurship
  • Christal Brown, Associate Professor of Dance & Director of MiddCORE
  • Pam Berenbaum, Professor of the Practice of Global Health
  • James Calvin Davis, Professor of Religion & Faculty Director for Privilege and Poverty cluster
  • Dana Yeaton, Assistant Professor of Theater
  • Beryl Levinger, Distinguished Professor & Program Chair, Public Administration, MIIS
  • Jon Isham, Professor of Economics
  • Jessica Holmes, Professor of Economics
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