School of Integrative Studies introduces new minor in Social Innovation

School of Integrative Studies introduces new minor in Social Innovation

Under the wing of researcher and professor Dr. Gregory Unruh, the minor in Social Innovation is open for registration this fall.

The minor in Social Innovation is under George Mason University’s School of Integrative Studies (SIS).

Gregory Unruh is a researcher and associate professor at George Mason University. He teaches practices in environmental sustainability and climate responsibility under the School of Integrative Studies (SIS). He is also a technical reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the group that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. vice president Al Gore. Currently, he publishes his research findings in the Harvard Business Review, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan Management Review, and Forbes magazine.

As a creator of the Carbon Lock-in theory and a strategic partner of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), he is an outspoken researcher educating students, environmentalists, and business owners about sustainable business strategies. One of his priorities is hosting the minor in Social Innovation, a SIS program offered in fall 2018 to all undergraduate students.

Unruh shared, “almost all disciplines are designed to solve problems.” He introduces the new minor with identifiable coherence, marking it as a “framework and a process for coming up with creative solutions, not wedded into any single discipline.”

Experiential learning, social issues, and climate change are topics that will outline the program from the start. The 15-16 credit minor requirement includes two required courses and a multitude of electives to choose from.

Required courses feature social innovation in action and leadership in a changing environment. Elective courses provide opportunity to synthesize their minor as their own. Electives include classes in government, the nonprofit sector, sustainable food systems, human rights, and environmental justice.

Climate change is one of the main topics addressed in the minor courses. “Climate scientists can tell you how much CO2 can be put into the atmosphere before [it] causes a disruption. Economists can tell you what price fossil fuels have to be at to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions,” Unruh explained. “Public policy people [are] the ones that figure out what laws need to be put in place, what kind of carbon tax we would need,” he said. Unruh argues that something like climate change cannot be solved by one discipline alone. Rather, Unruh suggests that all sectors should collaborate and conceptualize climate change with linearity and active convergence across channels.

Through the minor, Unruh and participants will have opportunity to gauge solutions toward issues that affect society now.

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