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Social impact certificates for the next generation of changemakers

The Center for Innovation in Ministry at the San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS) announced the launch the Applied Wisdom Institute (AWI), an exciting new educational forum aspiring to cultivate the next generation of social changemakers. AWI offers non-degree certificate programs for emerging leaders to apply their passion for social change to real world projects in a collaborative, online/in-person learning environment.

AWI’s first program, the Certificate in Spirituality & Social Entrepreneurship, begins in February 2018, and is currently accepting applications. The curriculum is built around the idea that combining wisdom and spirituality with strong organizational skills is urgently needed in our ever-changing sociopolitical, economic and technological world.

“The focus of AWI is ‘Wisdom in doing, and doing in wisdom.’ Combining practical business knowledge with spirituality will magnify your drive to inspire and move others. We walk with you in your spiritual journey…and give you the tools to succeed,” says Floyd Thompkins, creator of the Applied Wisdom Institute, and Director of the Center for Innovation in Ministry at SFTS.

Jim McDonald, President of SFTS, adds “The Applied Wisdom Institute is different from most certificate programs because it takes the spiritual dimensions of social change seriously and integrates them throughout its course offerings. We’ll have students just starting out, pursuing issues they care passionately about and seeking the wisdom of seasoned social change practitioners. And we’ll have activists and organizers with a lifetime of dedication to making the world a better place, who are looking for the social media savvy and exuberance of this new breed of emerging leaders. The Applied Wisdom Institute brings these folks together to create deep and lasting change and interlaces spirituality into the process itself. It’s exciting: there’s a powerful synergy in these programs that produces something new and unexpected every time.”

Passion + Practice: The AWI Learning Model

AWI’s action-reflection learning model combines a unique experience of academic coursework, on-the-ground activism, and cohort-based dialogue. Each seminar begins with expert instruction from leaders and innovators in relevant fields. From there, students begin to apply ideas to their own mission-based projects, guided by expert mentorship to bring about real impact in the context of their community. At the end of each seminar, student cohorts and instructors reconvene to evaluate and explore project challenges and breakthroughs. In addition to the certificate, each student walks away from the experience with a supportive network of people doing similar work. These networks are invaluable to visionaries in their often lonely struggle.

Wisdom Seed Grant 

AWI is dedicated to supporting student visionaries as they serve their communities and promote their social action. Every seminar participant is eligible for a Wisdom Seed Grant of up to $2,000 to further a project developed in the certificate program. Grant recipients will be celebrated at an annual event called the Wisdom Seed Conference, where they will be given the opportunity to showcase and network for the expansion of their project.

About the Certificate in Spirituality and Social Entrepreneurship 

Beginning February 2018, students will immerse themselves in hands-on education in three modules over the course of nine months. Topics of the modules will cover:

  • Build a Case for Change: Research & Data Collection
  • Find Your Tribe: Organizational Management, Diversity & Inclusion
  • Tell Your Story: Volunteers, Donors & Mobilization
  • Organize Action: Operation & Planning for Mission-Driven Organizations
  • Connect & Share: Media & Technology Management

Certificate Leadership

Each module is taught by experts in the field from Rutgers University, Stanford University, and the Citadel, who embody practical, proven experience, spiritual grounding, and intellectual rigor:

Quintus R. Jett, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Public Affairs and Administration; Fellow, the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development

J. Goosby Smith, MBA, PhD, Associate Professor of Management and Leadership, The Citadel

Byron Reeves, PhD, Paul C. Edwards Professor of Communication, and Senior Fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy, Stanford University

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