At the recent UNSW Awards for Teaching Excellence, the Centre for Social Impact’s Social Entrepreneurship Practicum teaching team were thrilled to receive the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for ‘Programs that Enhance Learning (postgraduate coursework teaching)’.
“The team shares a passion for social purpose and design thinking and we’re delighted to be a part of welcoming and inspiring the next generation of social innovators and change agents,” says Heather Bailey, the Social Entrepreneurship Practicum Course Facilitator.
“We believe that the time we take with these students lays the foundations for decades of constructive and confident creativity that will flourish around the world. The award confirms this and we were proud to be the recipients.”
As the capstone course for the Global Sustainability and Social Impact specialisation in UNSW’s Masters of Commerce, students are able to experience the potential of entrepreneurship to change people’s lives and have a positive social impact, both in Australia and around the world.
A central component of the course is in its practical nature.
Students form simulated consulting teams to work on a business project for a partnering social enterprise client. Most of these partner organisations exist to overcome a pressing social challenge and many are focused on particular UN Sustainable Development Goals, including social isolation, mental health, disability, poverty, women’s health, the environment and refugee support.
“The course’s projects have been co-designed with our partners to ensure the students’ deliverables provide real value-add to the organisations, ” explains Associate Professor Leanne Piggott, CSI UNSW’s Education Co-Director.
“The teaching team also invite experienced social sector colleagues to provide specialist advice to the student project teams and these ‘workplace relevant’ features of the course are greatly valued by the students.”
The coursework, much like the ethos of social impact, is markedly collaborative with a teaching team committed to principles of equity and inclusion. The educators each strive to create a safe and supportive learning environment with students motivated to speak up and share their experiences throughout their studies.
The proof of the course’s success can also be seen in the consistently high student engagement and positive feedback received, along with the increase in enrolments – from 43 in 2017 (the year CSI started running the course) to 256 in 2020.
This is the second award for the team in 2020 after receiving UNSW Business School’s Marcus Cohen Award for Teaching Excellence earlier in the year.
The Social Entrepreneurship Practicum teaching team comprises Heather Bailey, Sandra Killick, Sandeep Kirpalani, Lucas Olmos, Ben Pecotich, Katilyn Percival and Tom Ray, with the recent additions of Darcy Small and Kam Ozonaran.
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