Frank batten school of public policy

PPOL 5225/GDS 3559/NUIP 4005/RELG 3559: Conscious Social Change [3]

Gretchen Wallace, Visiting Lecturer


Conscious Social Change is the intersection of personal leadership, global citizenship, mindfulness and social entrepreneurship.  It is an approach whereby leaders invest in their own self-understanding so that they may initiate social change mindfully with an understanding of how to embody the change they want to see in the world. It is a methodology whereby change agents leverage their own assets, gifts and passions to benefit the common good, while also honoring the wisdom and ideas of those they aim to serve.  It employs design tools that ensure solutions are innovative, sustainable and impactful at the systemic and root level of a social issue. It is a process where continual inner and outer transformation strives to advance a whole, just and compassionate society.

The Conscious Social Change J-Term course is an experiential social venture incubator integrating mindfulness-based leadership practices, social entrepreneurship tools, conscious social change methodologies, and contemplative ideas and practices.  Students will work in teams to develop a business plan for a real or hypothetical social-purpose venture or community-based organization.  Daily contemplative practice, interactive personal leadership work and course dialogue will allow students to explore both the inner and external dimensions of becoming change leaders. Drawing from the experiences of Lecturer, Gretchen Wallace, President and Founder of an international NGO, Global Grassroots, the course incorporates case studies of social entrepreneurs and conscious change leaders from grassroots communities globally.  After completing this program, students should be equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary to:

  • Employ social entrepreneurship frameworks to diagnose the root causes of an issue and to design a solution that will create conscious, sustainable, and systemic change
  • Initiate a new community-based organization or program that will have a measurable social impact
  • Pursue personal growth practices that foster responsible, ethical, and compassionate leadership
  • Deepen global citizenship skills so as to be prepared to work collaboratively under a conscious social change and participatory paradigm to support communities in advancing self-sufficiency and wellness.