Madison Polkowitz / Gavel Media

New Minor Infuses Social Justice Into Traditional Study of Business

This coming fall, Boston College students will have more than just a new football season to look forward to. Fall 2016 will be the start of the new minor here at BC, Managing for Social Impact and the Public Good. Lengthy title aside, this interdisciplinary minor promises to impact BC students to promote change with their business ventures.

CSOM Professor Mary Cronin and MCAS Theology Professor Kenneth Himes are the co-directors for the minor. This 18-credit program was created for students in both MCAS and CSOM especially interested in sustainable business, social justice and economic development, and social innovation and entrepreneurship.

Not only has a panel of professors at BC come together to coordinate the new minor, but undergraduate students contributed to its development as well. Katie Kelleher, CSOM ’18, got involved in designing the minor by working as an undergraduate research assistant last summer for Professor Cronin.

“Any student who is passionate about making a positive impact on the business world is the ideal candidate for this minor,” says Kelleher. She says, “We aim to find people who genuinely care about the world, and I think at BC most people have this mindset.”

Within this minor, there are three areas of focus for students to pursue: Economic Development, Equality, and the Enterprise; Digital Economy, Social Innovation, Citizenship; and Managing for Local and Global Sustainability.

Current BC courses were reviewed and chosen to be part of this interdisciplinary minor: “We found that over 60 really interesting and relevant courses were already being offered in 13 MCAS and CSOM departments,” says Cronin. “These courses became the initial list of approved electives for the minor.”

Once students decide which of the three focus areas they want to work in, they will choose elective courses most directly related to their interests. These elective courses range from international economic development to inequality, to working with a nonprofit or a social enterprise.

To ensure that all of the students taking the Social Impact minor have a strong foundation, there will be an introductory course called “Managing for Social Impact” taught by Professor Cronin.

To bookend this innovative minor there will be a culminating senior-year seminar required. The senior seminar is intended to integrate what the students have already learned in the minor and deepen insights through guided reading and discussion. There will be a practicum component to the seminar which will give the students the opportunity to delve deeper into a specific issue faced by a local Boston nonprofit or social enterprise. This collaborative project will work in tandem with the readings, research, and in-class discussions to provide a cohesive understanding of social impact.

This minor is unique because it is a collaboration across two schools of our University—a collaboration that pulls interests from across the board. “We know there are BC students who don't want to be fenced in by the academic silos that get created in the modern university," says Himes. "Our students are intellectually curious and also young people with a broad range of interests.”

Himes continues by saying, “Students who don't want to be pigeon-holed or confined to a narrow view of who they are and want to be are the students we're hoping to attract with the new minor.”

Not only is this minor a great opportunity for CSOM students, but MCAS students will also greatly benefit from the new minor. “There are students in Arts and Sciences who want to acquire the insights of good management for nonprofit organizations, social services, and various community organizations in which they may become involved,” says Himes.

Kelleher explains that this minor has great potential for both arts and sciences and business school students: “I think there is a huge stigma behind CSOM kids for only caring about money and success. This is something that will be pivotal to the dynamic of the business school," Kelleher explains. “From the A&S perspective, this will give kids a chance to explore the business school in a new light.”

This minor will provide BC students with a new perspective on management, sustainability, and social impact. “Whether we are managers, employees, consumers, or citizens we have a desire to see that our lives and our communities are guided by values like justice, sustainability, and solidarity,” says Himes.

The application for the minor is now open for those in the class of 2018 or later and will be accepted until this Friday, March 18. Students will be notified if they have been accepted to the minor by April 8, 2016.

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