John Carroll approves new major in the Donnelly School of Leadership and Social Innovation

JCU now has an undergrad major in Leadership and Social Innovation.

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Rachel Scully

John Carroll University approved a new major for students to choose in Fall 2022.

Rachel Scully, Campus Editor

John Carroll University recently approved a new undergraduate major in Leadership and Social Innovation at the Donnelly School of Leadership and Social Innovation.

The major was created by Assistant Professor Doan Winkel and Senior Director of Student Engagement Kyle O’Dell, both of whom will teach in the major. 

The curriculum is a combination of  the Leadership minor, Entrepreneurship minor and other subjects such as Communication, according to O’Dell.

“ A big impetus behind it [was] that it made sense to create a kind of keystone program that combines two existing things [Leadership and Entrepreneurship] that are working really well already,” O’Dell told The Carroll News. 

Students who choose to pursue the major will also pick a “passion area,” such as Political Science, Sociology or Peace Justice and Human Rights.

“Part of what we try to do, too, is to be very interdisciplinary,” said Winkel. “If we’re talking about the environment or health, they could pull together a couple classes from a couple different departments. It’s not necessarily just you’re in this box, but it starts to really bring together the pedagogies and the learnings from different disciplines, coming together under the umbrella of these passion project areas.”

Some learning goals in the major include utilizing empathy and interpersonal skills to be highly effective leaders, making holistic judgments when analyzing business and social situations, and developing critical thinking when working with complex situations.

The major is designed to allow students to become confident and innovative leaders through a variety of classes. 

“They’re [students] taking this kind of different approach to say, ‘I’m not just an employee at XYZ company, but how do I make XYZ company a better community member, a better partner?” Winkel said. “So it’s like that leadership component but also with the, ‘How do we make things better?’ 

“I think as businesses look more at this concept of corporate social responsibility, I think that that’s just going to keep getting bigger as we face a lot more challenges moving forward, both from climate and people recognizing injustices,” O’Dell added. “In the business world, I think that’s a good fit for them.”

However, the classes are not just for students interested in business.

“I think a lot of people might look at what that passion is and what nonprofits exist, or what kind of governmental agencies work specifically to address those issues,” O’Dell said. “I think the fact that they took Leadership and Entrepreneurship coursework is going to make them very attractive candidates.”

While the major won’t be implemented as part of the official curriculum until the fall of 2022, students interested in pursuing the major can start taking classes to get on track right now. The major utilizes classes and resources already available at JCU, so Winkel and O’Dell encourage students to explore those.