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Fri, Sep 25



Social Innovation Online Summit

Social Innovations at Higher Education Institutions: What, Who, Why, How? What are social innovations? Who is involved? Why does a professor deal with social innovations? How can they be supported - and what are the obstacles? How can they be integrated in the curriculum?

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Social Innovation Online Summit
Social Innovation Online Summit

Time & Location

Sep 25, 2020, 2:00 PM – 5:50 PM GMT+2


About the event

 Two teams - from the USA and Germany - will present their projects and work with you in four workshops on social innovation.

Project WISIH: The german CHE team will present results from their project "Ways and Indicators of Social Innovation from Higher Education Institutions". These include results of a quantitative survey among professors in which they were asked whether they currently work on or have worked on social innovations, which support and obstacles they encountered during the work process and how they would describe their personality traits. A qualitative survey conducted as part of the project also focused on the processes of social innovations.

After presenting the main findings the team will offer three workshops on the topics of personality traits of social innovators, specifics of certain subjects and questions of university management that come up in connection with social innovations.

Projekt JMU: This workshop introduces participants to tools that can be used to address complex social innovation problems in a variety of ways that enhance student learning. Specifically, participants will explore how to use design thinking to facilitate structured brainstorming and prototyping in response to a highly complex problem. Workshop participants will also be introduced to Value Proposition Design and the Business Model Canvas and their applicability to support social innovation projects in the classroom. Workshop participants will understand the purpose of the above concepts in innovation classes; learn ways of using them in classroom settings, and discuss opportunities and challenges for applying them to social innovation efforts.


14:00 - 14:05 Welcome and introduction of Agenda

14:05 - 15:05 Social Innovation in the Curriculum: Ben Selznick, Sean Ronan McCarthy, Nick Swayne: James Madison University (JMU), USA)

10 Min Break

15:15 - 16:15 Ways and Indicators of Social Innovation in Higher Education (Isabel Roessler, Cort-Denis Hachmeister, Saskia Ulrich: Centre for Higher Education (CHE), Germany)

15 Min Break

16:30 - 17:15 Workshops

  1. Social Innovation in Curriculum (Ben, Sean, Nick)
  2. Personality traits of social innovators (Denis)
  3. Specifics of certain subjects (Saskia)
  4. Social Innovation in Higher Education Management (Bianca Brinkmann, CHE)

5 Min Break

17:20 – 17:45 Summaries of Workshops

17:45 – 17:50 Closing


Dr. Seán McCarthy is an associate professor in the School of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication at James Madison University (JMU). Seán’s primary research and teaching interests are situated at the intersection of community engagement and digital literacies. He is also experienced in project-focused, interdisciplinary teaching and research, largely through his role as lead instructor and course designer at JMU X-Labs, an undergraduate-focused innovation program. Seán is currently a JMU Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellow sponsored by JMU’s College of Business, and for the past six years, he has taught a faculty seminar in digital humanities pedagogy for the College of Arts and Letters at JMU.

Benjamin S. Selznick is an assistant professor of strategic leadership and the postsecondary analysis concentration coordinator in the School of Strategic Leadership Studies at James Madison University. He also serves as an Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellow within the JMU College of Business. His research centres on using quantitative and mixed-methodological approaches to study how pedagogical practices, organizational structures, and leadership can effectively support the development of innovators, with a focus on promoting social innovation. Additionally, he conducts work on interfaith campus climates and measurement development. He holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Higher Education from New York University and a B.A. in Religion from Dartmouth College.

Nick Swayne is the Executive Director of 4-Virginia and the founder of JMU X-Labs. He leads a team of partner institutions in meeting the mission to leverage their strengths to improve the efficiency and economic impact of higher education across the Commonwealth. Through JMU X-Labs, he coordinates the H4Defense, H4Diplomacy, and a variety of emerging technology courses. He serves as faculty advisor for the University Innovation Fellows, the Executive Director of Virginia-DC FIRST LEGO League robotics, co-chairs the Veteran Scholar's Task Force, founder of the Regional Veterans Collaborative, a doctoral candidate in Strategic Leadership (ABD), and is serving in his third term on the Harrisonburg City School Board.

Bianca Brinkmann, project manager at Centre for Higher Education (CHE), Guetersloh, Germany. She graduated in Literary Studies and maintained a strong focus on the education sector by various practical experiences. At CHE she specializes in the field of teacher training, qualitative research and the communication of research findings

Cort-Denis Hachmeister is a senior expert at the CHE Centre for Higher Education in Guetersloh, Germany. He graduated in psychology from the University of Bielefeld in 2000 and has been working in various research projects at the CHE since then. His research interests are university access and student's choice of study as well as research and third mission activities of universities.

Isabel Roessler, senior project manager at the German CHE Centre for Higher Education since 2007, focuses her work on Third Mission and Transfer of Higher Education Institutions as well as on Development of Higher Education Systems. In recent years, she has led several projects in this area and also wrote her doctoral thesis on Third Mission. Isabel is currently leading a research project on social innovation in higher education.

Saskia Ulrich, scientific project manager at Centre for Higher Education (CHE), Guetersloh, Germany. A sociologist by training, she specialized in Science and Technology Studies and Higher Education Research. Her research interests encompass participatory research, evaluation, quality assurance and development of teaching indicators.


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