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Our newest program, starting in fall 2019, SIF is dedicated to creating social innovators and entrepreneurs who are inspired by Ignatian values — rigor, generosity, gratitude, inclusivity, solidarity, and a desire for the greater good.

We’ll challenge you to grow your entrepreneurial mindset, your curiosity, and your desire to experiment while you actively engage with the Ward 6 community in Cleveland to understand what is holding residents back from thriving and to collaboratively build sustainable solutions that will empower and transform their future. You’ll become a catalyst for social innovation and entrepreneurship across the JCU campus and in any community in which you find yourself.

The Social Innovation Fellows (SIF) Program is a growth opportunity for incoming John Carroll University freshmen dedicated to becoming social innovators and entrepreneurs inspired by Ignatian values. This fellowship produces graduates who can identify opportunities for innovation in the marketplace and can design and execute solutions for sustainable social change.

JCU has 4 University Learning Goals for its students — Intellect, Character, Leadership, and Service. Our existing signature programs address 3 of these 4 _ Arrupe Scholars (Service), Leadership Scholars (Leadership), and Honors Program (Intellect). The SIF program complements these programs by addressing the fourth goal — Character. Through curricular and co-curricular paths, students will develop an entrepreneurial character as they:

  • Develop a holistic awareness of self and others
  • Cultivate a habit of reflection
  • Understand, value, and respect their own and others’ talents, unique characteristics, and socio-cultural identities
  • Develop a personal belief system that is inspired by Ignatian values (rigor, generosity, gratitude, inclusivity, solidarity, and a desire for the greater good)
  • Practice mature decision making and care for the whole person
  • Act competently in a global and diverse world

We will accomplish this by challenging students to grow and achieve mastery in the following areas through an innovative learning experience:

Mindset: Social Innovation Fellows will develop their entrepreneurial mindset. They will develop curiosity and a desire to experiment, and collaboratively and iteratively build solutions around social issues in the Ward 6 community in Cleveland.

Reflection: Social Innovation Fellows will be reflective learners. They will integrate curricular and co-curricular learning experiences to advance their understanding and practice of social innovation and entrepreneurship. The curricular path will consist of the Fellows completing the Entrepreneurship Minor as a cohort.

Sustainability: Social Innovation Fellows will demonstrate a commitment to sustainable social innovation. They will actively engage with the Ward 6 community in Cleveland to empathize with and understand what is holding residents back from thriving and to collaboratively build sustainable solutions that will empower and transform their future.

Advocacy: Social Innovation Fellows will advocate for social innovation and entrepreneurship. They will be a catalyst for social innovation and entrepreneurship across the John Carroll campus and in any community in which you find yourself.

In your application to the SIF Program, you will be asked to provide a video submission addressing the following: 

  • Why does the Social Innovation Fellows Program interest you?  What abilities and experiences do you think you can bring to our program?
  • When is a time you tried something outside your comfort zone? What did you learn from it?
  • If you could invite one person to dinner, who would it be and why?

Social Innovation Fellows are challenged to think entrepreneurially and grow intellectually while at John Carroll University. To facilitate this, the program offers a suite of social entrepreneurship and innovation-oriented courses that students take as a cohort while fulfilling the requirements of JCU’s Integrative Core Curriculum. In addition, Fellows will be required to complete the Entrepreneurship Minor.

Freshman Year: Foundational Skills

ER150 (1 credit) – Introduction to the Social Innovation Fellows Program: Learn about the program’s curriculum and co-curriculum, about Ignatian history and values as they pertain to innovation and entrepreneurship, and what it means to think and act entrepreneurially.

EN125 (3 credits): A Core course for all JCU students, this class will introduce students to university-level writing through work on papers that revolve around social entrepreneurship and innovation.

ER110 (3 credits): Discusses what is creativity, how to enhance it and use it to solve problems. Uses experiential exercises and lens of visual, digital, and musical arts to create and present projects/ideas.

ER151 (1 credit) – Introduction to Entrepreneurial Thinking: During this class students work together as a team to plan, organize, and execute a social innovation project at JCU.

CO125 (3 credits): A Core course for all JCU students, this class will introduce students to the art of public speaking through the preparation and delivery of speeches on social entrepreneurship and innovation topics.

ER201 (3 credits): The creative process – what it is, how to improve it, how to work with it. Uses a project-focused approach to show how creative thinking applies to the development of innovations and inventions in the arts, sciences, and business. Students learn how to move from an idea as a vague concept to an innovation as a well-designed idea. Ethical issues will be discussed.


Sophomore Year: Exploring Entrepreneurship and Innovation

ER230 – Launching the Social Innovation Venture (3 credits): This is an experiential, hands-on course that teaches the key elements of developing any new venture using the key concepts used to develop a startup. Students will create a manuscript to help them learn the key aspects they will need in any entrepreneurial venture. This course and SIF250B are adaptations (with permission) of a process developed by Eric Koester, founder of the Book School program.

ER301 (3 credits)/Prerequisites: ER 201: Study of entrepreneurship and its role in new venture creation, as well as its impact on economic growth and development. Using the Business Model Canvas students explore the functional areas of business: Project development; production and operations; marketing and sales; finance and accounting, etc.

ER330 – Promoting the Social Innovation Venture (3 credits): This course builds on the work done in the Launching the Venture course (ER230). This course is designed to teach key elements applicable to launching an internal product or service at a company or an independent small business or startup as an entrepreneurial venture. The course is taught using the creation of a product (a non-fiction book). Students that complete the required activities of the course will publish their books at the conclusion. This course and SIF250A are adaptations (with permission) of a process developed by Eric Koester, founder of the Book School program.

ER304 (3 credits)/Prerequisites: ER 201 and ER 301: Applies the principles examined in ER 301 to social enterprises. Introduces the meaning and importance of social entrepreneurship in the modern economy and demonstrates how entrepreneurial orientation can assist in the attainment of non-profit and social objectives as a means for social justice.


Junior Year: Research and Experimentation

ER305 (3 credits)/Prerequisites: ER 301: The basic role of accounting in an organization. Analysis and interpretation of financial statements, tax data, and project planning and assessment. Also, concepts related to making financial decisions: the cost of capital, time value of money, etc., and the sources and approaches to raising entrepreneurial capital. (ER305 is for Arts and Sciences Students; Business Students take AC201 & 202 or 211)

ER306 (3 credits)/Prerequisites: ER 301: Introduction to marketing, especially the marketing needs of entrepreneurial enterprises. Topics include distribution, pricing, promotion, product decisions and strategies, the sales process, and management of ethical problems (ER306 for Arts and Sciences Students; Business Students take FN312 & MK301 ).


Senior Year: Advocacy and Action

ER480 (3 credits)/Prerequisites: Approval of the Entrepreneurship Academic Program Director, and completion of at least 12 hours of coursework in the minor, including ER 305 or 306 (FN 312 or MK 301 for students on the Business track): Students will bring together everything they have learned in the Social Innovation Fellows curriculum and use it to create an advocacy project. The purpose of this project is for students to implement an innovative solution to a social problem that they researched during their junior year. This project will serve as their capstone experience as a Social Innovation Fellow.

All Social Innovation Fellows experiences will be designed and executed by the Muldoon Center staff and leadership team with collaboration with Financial Aid staff. Experiences will be focused on an annual theme:

Freshman Theme: Foundational Skills

Sophomore Theme: Exploring Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Junior Theme: Research and Experimentation

Senior Theme: Advocacy and Action

There are many events happening across the John Carroll University campus that are not Social Innovation Fellows-specific, but that Muldoon Center leadership will incorporate into their experience.

Examples: Annual Fall Semester Required Events

  • Freshman Retreat. Mid-September, off campus.
  • Grand Challenge Conference. Late September/early October. A daylong design experience around challenges facing the Ward 6 community, where SIF, entrepreneurship faculty and mentors collide to discover SIF passions & begin building foundational skills.
  • Program Meetings and Skills Workshops. Mid-October and Mid-November. Updates and networking.


Examples: Annual Spring Semester Required Events

  • Welcome Social. Late February, off campus.
  • Cleveland Challenge Hackathon. Early April. This is a daylong design experience where SIF collaborate with students and faculty from Case Western, Cleveland State University, Tri-C, with interested high school students, and with community members to discover opportunities for social innovation in the Ward 6 community and build solutions.
  • Program Meetings and Skills Workshops. Mid-March and Mid-April. Updates & networking.
  • Social Innovation Celebration. Early May. Celebrate individuals and progress, share journeys with stakeholders, and a chance to reflect on the experiences of the past academic year.