Graduate Social Innovation & Sustainability Leadership

The first place-based, face-to-face social innovation and sustainability leadership MA program in the nation.

We believe the purpose of leadership is to co-create well-being in ourselves, our workplaces and in our communities through bridging the three divides.*

  1. The divide between self and our highest potential. How do we become the most effective leader possible and co-create well-being in our organizations and communities?
  2. The divide between self and others. How do we strengthen relationship with other individuals and groups so that we can have a more equitable and inclusive world
  3. The divide between self and nature. How do we create organizational, social, and economic systems that are in harmony with natural systems?

*Adapted from the work of the Presencing Institute

Program Description

The Social Innovation & Sustainability Leadership Graduate Program Is ...

In the Social Innovation & Sustainability Leadership graduate program, you will join a cohort of no more than 18 students from a broad range of professional fields and academic backgrounds. Together, you will develop the leadership skills, knowledge, and mindset to effect social innovation and systems change. Students undertake a social innovation project related to their area of interest. Courses accommodate both full-time students, as well as working professionals. 

Our interactive classes leverage the breadth and depth of expertise in the region including guest speakers, group projects, hands-on activities, and field trips. Collaborate with community organizations, businesses, government agencies, and other partners to make a positive impact while gaining experience and expanding your network. 

We provide the skills and network to transform ...

Passion to Action
Learn through an action-oriented curriculum to apply skills and knowledge to create systemic change. You will learn to recognize the entry points for cross-sector collaboration and lead the development of innovative solutions to social and/or environmental challenges in communities and organizations. While working with a diverse network of practitioners, professors, and peers, you will develop the professional relationships necessary to support the work of effecting deep systems change. Students undertake individual or group social innovation projects in each core course.

Action to Results
As a student, you will:
  • Develop your leadership strengths
  • Identify the opportunities for partnerships
  • Learn methods for inclusively engaging stakeholders
  • Identify high impact approaches to pushing dominant systems in new directions
  • Co-create innovative ideas to apply to community projects that have measurable results
  • Develop a professional network for growth and support
  • Form strong bonds with a supportive cohort of fellow students

Program Options

Master of Arts in Social Innovation & Sustainability Leadership

Students can complete their 33-credit Master’s Degree in as few as 17 months, depending on full or part-time status and course load. The first three courses (12 credits) of the program (SUST 650, SUST 651, and SUST 652) are based on the cohort model where students move through all three classes together. There are an additional three required courses (9 credits), including the capstone course. In addition to these required courses, students take 12 elective credits from a wide range of offerings allowing students to tailor their degree to their area of interest. All course offerings accommodate the schedules of working professionals. See Course Descriptions for details. You are welcome to meet with the program director, Steve Gilchrist, to consider your path to complete a Master's Degree.

Accelerated Master's Pathway

Undergraduate students have the opportunity to begin a Master of Arts in Social Innovation & Sustainability Leadership while completing their bachelor's degree. The Accelerated Master's Pathway allows students who are juniors or seniors, and who have the consent of their advisor, to take 12 credits (3 courses) of the Social Innovation and Sustainability Leadership Master's Program in order to earn a Master of Arts within one year of completing an undergraduate degree. These 12 credits can count as electives for an undergraduate major or minor while fulfilling the first three required courses of the graduate program. The courses are: Sustainable Development Leadership (SUST 650), Ecological Sustainability and Social Innovation (SUST 651), and Social and Economic Sustainability (SUST 652). For more information, contact your undergraduate advisor or Stephan Gilchrist, Social Innovation and Sustainability Leadership Graduate Program Director at or 608-663-6991.

Graduate Certificate in Social Innovation & Sustainability Leadership

The Social Innovation and Sustainability Leadership Graduate Certificate allows students to expand their knowledge, leadership skills and network while completing social innovation and sustainability projects related to their area of interest. Students come from a wide range of fields, including nonprofit and corporate management, economic development, education, local government, public health, energy and utilities, regional planning and design, hospitality, religious service, and more. A sequence of 3 classes (SUST 650, SUST 651, SUST 652) is completed in 10 months. See Course Descriptions for details.

Community Fellowship, Social Innovation & Sustainability Leadership

Working professionals with significant experience in a particular area of social innovation, leadership, and sustainability can apply for a Community Fellowship in Social Innovation and Sustainability Leadership. This mutually enriching arrangement lets the Fellow share expertise with other program participants while receiving the framework and support to complete a significant social innovation and sustainability project. The Community Fellowship role combines traditional roles of participants as students and instructors, with more flexible roles of participants as teacher/learners, community partners, mentors and servant-leaders. Community Fellows receive a certificate of completion for participating in the program but do not earn graduate credit. They pay a reduced program cost. Fellows may be sponsored by an organization (e.g., their employer) that in turn benefits from the professional development and community engagement of the Fellow and from recognition as a supporter of sustainability in the larger community. View a detailed Community Fellow in Social Innovation and Sustainability Leadership 2018-19 description and application (pdf). 

MA in Education with a Social Innovation & Sustainability Leadership Concentration

Educators and schools are an integral part of any sustainable community, and teachers are increasingly looking to incorporate sustainability concepts throughout their curriculum. Edgewood College offers an MA in Education with a concentration in Social Innovation & Sustainability Leadership to support teachers in their growth as sustainability leaders in their classrooms. Teachers can integrate their projects directly into their lessons, curriculum or larger school- or district-wide initiatives.

Course Descriptions

Master of Arts in Social Innovation & Sustainability Leadership

A total of 33 credits is required to complete the Master of Arts in Sustainability Leadership.

Required Courses (21 credits):

  • (SUST 650) Foundations: Leadership for Social Innovation and Sustainability (4 credits)
    2019 Dates: 7-day immersion course - Aug. 10-16, Sept. 7
    This course provides the foundation for the Social Innovation and Sustainability Leadership Program. It creates a community of reflective learners that support each other in becoming effective social entrepreneurs and sustainability change agents. We introduce foundational leadership frameworks and tools such as Theory U, Emotional Intelligence and Diversity, Systems Thinking, Just Sustainabilities, Design Thinking, Collective Impact, Social Entrepreneurship, and several others. We visit with local, national, and global changemakers to learn how they are applying social innovation and sustainability leadership. The course also explores relationships among sustainability, economic development, and social equity. Students begin to explore and identify a social innovation project they wish to implement in SUST 651.
  • (SUST 651) Self and Natural Systems (4 credits)
    Fall 2019: 8 Saturdays - 9/7, 9/21, 10/5, 10/19, 11/2, 11/16, 12/7, 12/14
    How do we live in harmony with the natural systems of the planet in order to create wellbeing in ourselves, communities and organizations? Students explore the importance of understanding climate change, sense of place, eco-systems, indigenous knowledge systems, technology, energy, food, water, and waste. Students deepen their understanding of new leadership tools learned in SUST 650 and apply these tools to their social innovation projects. Site visits and dialogue with changemakers continue throughout the course. Prerequisite: SUST 650
  • (SUST 652) Innovation for Social and Economic Well-Being (4 credits)
    Spring 2020: 8 Saturdays - 1/25, 2/8, 2/22, 3/7, 3/21, 4/4, 4/18, 5/2
    In this course, we consider the challenges to organizational and community change presented by global trends and by traditional socioeconomic and public policy models, and we introduce alternative models aimed at meeting these challenges: equity, ecological economics, community development, sustainable development, the sharing economy, social innovation and participatory democracy. We discuss how deeper knowledge of human perception and behavior can help us formulate transformative communication and education strategies and practices. Key concepts include: social capital, corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, social equity, urban design, transformational leadership and ecopsychology. Prerequisites: SUST 651.
  • (SUST 751) Designing Regenerative Communities (3 credits)
    Fall 2019: Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • (SUST 752) Leadership for Organizational and Community Well-Being (3 credits)
    Spring 2020: Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • (SUST 759) Social Innovation Capstone (3 credits)
    SUST 759 A, B and C are all offered in the Fall, Spring and Summer terms (each is worth 1 credit, for a total 3 credits). Students may take A, B and C all in one term or they may take 1 credit per term and complete the 3 credits of SUST 759 over the duration of 3 terms.
    In this course, students apply their knowledge and skills of social innovation and sustainability leadership to complete community or organizational projects. Students synthesize relevant theoretical, practical, and technical content, and apply social and organizational change tools in this process. Prerequisites: SUST 652 and consent of instructor.

Elective Courses (12 credits): 

Elective credits allow students to tailor their degree to a special area of interest or deepen specific leadership skills and knowledge. The SISL Community Course Electives will now be offered as either SUST 695 or SUST 795.

  • SUST 795 Guided Study Special Topics
    Similar to 695, the Guided Study Special Topics provides opportunities for students to deepen their knowledge and skills in application to their social innovation project and to create a learning community to support and integrate new knowledge and experiences.

  • Entrepreneurship for Social Good
    Instructor: Amy Gannon
    The world needs more people who have the interest and ability to design innovative solutions to our most pressing challenges. While many people can come up with ideas, most don't have the skills or experience to bring those ideas to fruition. This course explores the entrepreneurial process of: 1) generating and evolving ideas; 2) designing pilots and prototypes for products and services; 3) making basic financial projections; 4) developing a roll-out strategy; and 5) presenting ideas to audiences in a compelling and effective way. Over five weeks, participants in this program will work through an idea they already have OR one they generate during the class. It is an applied experience, meaning we will actually try out the entrepreneurial frameworks and gain experience.
    Dates/Times: 5-8 pm: January 31, February 7, February 14, February 21, February 28, and March 7
    Location: Edgewood College, Monroe St. Campus.  Room TBD
    3 Graduate Credits

  • Adaptive Leadership
    Instructor: Michael Mucha
    The adaptive leadership course will provide the knowledge, skills and tools for any person to mobilize others to do important work around change and thrive.  It will strengthen a person’s ability to lead meaningful change through systematic approaches. The course is taught by Michael Mucha, Director of the Madison Metropolitan Sewage District and draws from his experience in a broad range of change efforts.
    Dates: Saturday, March 2nd & 16th, 9 am – 1 pm
    Location: Edgewood College, Monroe St. Campus. Room TBD
    1 Graduate Credit

  • Introduction to Mindful Leadership: Essential Skills for Leading in a Complex World
    Instructor: Lisa Baker, PhD
    Description:In this course, participants will learn how mindfulness concepts and practices can help us cultivate our natural abilities to lead with excellence. This course provides an exploration of mindfulness practices aimed at cultivating greater awareness, focus, clarity, and compassion – qualities that enhance our ability as leaders to create safe and trusting environments. We will explore how to apply these qualities to enhance our professional and personal lives, including creating more diverse, inclusive, and equitable environments. This course is experiential and applied, where participants will engage in mindfulness practices, inquiry, and dialogue. A variety of highly relevant and empirically-supported frameworks, theories, practices, and concepts are interwoven throughout the course, including Theory U, Appreciative Inquiry, Process-Oriented Psychology, Neuroscience of Mindfulness/Meditation, and Emotional and Social Intelligence.

          Intentions/Objectives: Through participating in this course, participants will:

o Establish a regular (daily) mindfulness practice, including informal practice at work, supporting an understanding of different practices and what they can support
o Demonstrate knowledge of how mindfulness can enhance our sense of self as leaders and our impact we make on the world. 
o Decreased stress-related complaints and increased self-efficacy in handling stress and challenges
o Greater understanding of some ways that mindfulness supports different leadership approaches and styles.

Dates/Times: 3 Saturdays: 6:00pm-8:30pm, Sep. 28, Oct. 12, Nov. 9.
Location: Edgewood College, Monroe St. Campus. Room TBD.
3 Graduate Credits

  • (SUST 745) International Engagement: Sustainable Community Wellbeing (1-3 credits)
    Gain intercultural leadership skills through collaborative, community-based social innovation initiatives in Alto Cayma, Peru. Enhance global understanding of sustainability through hands-on projects that contribute to cultural, social, economic and ecological wellbeing. An optional portion of the trip takes place in the Cusco and Machu Picchu areas where students learn further about cultural preservation and sustainable food systems. Students meet every other week in spring term and spend two weeks in late May/early June in Peru.
  • (SUST 745) International Engagement: Sustainable Community Wellbeing (1-3 credits)
    Gain intercultural leadership skills through collaborative, community-based social innovation initiatives in Alto Cayma, Peru. Enhance global understanding of sustainability through hands-on projects that contribute to cultural, social, economic and ecological wellbeing. An optional portion of the trip takes place in the Cusco and Machu Picchu areas where students learn further about cultural preservation and sustainable food systems. Students meet every other week in spring term and spend two weeks in late May/early June in Peru.
Courses with Community Partners
  • Permaculture Design Certificate (3 Credits)
    Instructors: Kate Heiber-Cobb, Marian Farrior
    Dates: TBD
    Location: Terra Simpla in Stoughton
    Cost: $1050
    Description: Our Permaculture Design Certificate Training will cover all the usual topics and skill sets around Permaculture Ethics and Principles, ecological principles, water, soil, food, wildness, observation, networks, food forests, plant guilds, systems thinking and more. This is a 7- hour course held over three 3-Day weekends. Attendance is necessary to receive your certificate. We will be holding our course this year out at Terra Simpla Permaculture & Retreat Center outside of Stoughton. We are dedicated to making this course accessible financially for all those who hold it in their hearts to attend and learn. The Madison Area Permaculture Guild has been supporting scholarship dollars and sponsoring these courses for 9 years now. We have graduated 150 people. We believe education and modeling are the best way to create healthy systems change. For more information and to register visit
Business Electives

Electives available through the Edgewood Business School include Health Policy and Law, Organizational Interventions, and Consulting in Organizations. Follow this link for more information.

Education Electives

Electives available through the Edgewood School of Education include Diversity/Culture/Literacy and Leadership and Organization. Follow this link for more information.

Healthcare Electives

Electives available through the Edgewood School of Nursing include Healthcare Systems and Policy and Population Health and Health Policy. Follow this link for more information.

Electives from University of Wisconsin Sustainable Management Online Graduate Program
(up to 9 graduate transfer credits can apply from this online UW program or other approved institutions):
  • Applied Research and the Triple Bottom Line (SMGT 720)
  • Policy, Law, and the Ethics of Sustainability (SMGT 730)
  • Economics of Sustainability (SMGT 740)
  • Geopolitical Systems – Decision Making for Sustainability on the Local, State, and National Level (SMGT 760)
  • Supply Chain Management (SMGT 782)
  • Sustainable Water Management (SMGT 784)
  • Waste Management and Resource Recovery (SMGT 785)

Tuition and Financial Aid

The annual cost of attending the Social Innovation & Sustainability Leadership (SISL) graduate program will vary among students based on the number of credits taken per semester. In addition, the total program cost of earning a Master of Arts in the program will depend upon chosen electives and transferred credits. If you compare the cost of an Edgewood College graduate degree with other institutions in the region, both public and private, you’ll find Edgewood College is in the middle of the range. As you consider the costs of programs offered by various institutions, be sure to factor in course fees, books, and other miscellaneous costs that may not be included in per credit tuition.

Tuition and Fees for 2019-20

Master of Arts Degree, 33 credits                            $997/credit + applicable course fees
Graduate Certificate, 12 credits (600-series)          $997/credit + applicable course fees

Master’s Degree Total (including tuition, books, and course fees): $28,062 
We offer up to 6 community course electives to students at a lower cost than the other required 6 SUST electives. Most students choose the community course electives. The new total cost reflects the lower cost of the community course electives. Download our Financing your Master's Degree handout for further information on how to make your Edgewood College degree affordable.

Graduate Certificate Total (including tuition, books and course fees): $11,952

Learn more about our tuition payment plans. In addition, SISL Program Director Steve Gilchrist can work with you to create a course schedule that fits your needs. Download our Financing your Certificate handout for further information on how to make your Edgewood College education affordable.

Understanding Course Fees

Course fees vary per course. Some course fees are an average cost for required books, while other courses meet for full days and include the cost of lunches, snacks and field trips in addition to the books and materials. If you have any questions about course fees, contact the program director.

Additional Benefits

  • A Madison Metro bus pass for $10/semester for the duration of the program
  • Membership in Sustain Dane's Sustainable Business Network
  • Membership in LinkedIn's Sustainability Leadership Network where program alumni, faculty, and community partners post discussion topics and job opportunities

Financial Aid

Graduate students are eligible for financial aid in the form of Federal Stafford Loans. Learn more about Stafford Loans, including eligibility requirements and application instructions.

Graduate Student Financial Aid

Our admissions and financial aid counselors have worked with thousands of students who have questioned how they could afford to complete their graduate education. They will use their experience to suggest creative solutions for financing your education. We extend tuition discounts to various corporate partners in the region, offer a couple payment plan options, monthly and employer reimbursement, and work with veterans to maximize their available aid.


The Edgewood College Social Innovation & Sustainability Leadership (SISL) Graduate Program offers a limited number of scholarships for Master of Arts and Certificate students. A scholarship application is required.

Download a Scholarship Application
Scholarship Deadlines: June 18th

Please note that scholarships are reviewed only if all application materials are submitted, and until available scholarship funds are awarded. Applicants will receive a response with their award within 3 weeks of the application deadline.

How To Apply

Admission to the Social Innovation & Sustainability Leadership Graduate Program is determined by an assessment of the candidate's academic qualifications, work experience and interest in the field. Class sizes are small and cohorts are limited to 18 students. Applications are reviewed as they are received, so it is advisable to apply early.

Joann Eastman is the admissions coordinator for the program, and can help with any questions you have about the application process. Contact her at  or (608)663-3250.

Key Dates

We are now accepting program applications for the next cohort.

Scholarship Applications: To apply for a scholarship, fill out a Scholarship Application and submit it with your application materials by June 15, 2019.

Classes begin: August 2019

Application Requirements

  • Transcripts
    Students seeking the Master's degree must provide official transcripts for ALL undergraduate and graduate academic credits received from United States regionally accredited or equivalent post-secondary institutions.

    Students seeking the graduate Certificate need only provide official transcripts demonstrating completion of a bachelor’s degree at an accredited post-secondary institution.

    Transcripts should be sent to:
    Edgewood College Graduate and Professional Studies
    1000 Edgewood College Dr
    Madison, WI 53711
  • Graduate application (with $30 fee). You can fill out an online application.
  • Admission interview. Schedule your interview with Program Director Steve Gilchrist or (608) 663-6991. The interview may be done in person or over the telephone. This may be done prior to submitting an application, and is a great way to ask questions about the program.
  • Essay. In 2-3 pages address the questions: 1) What do you bring to the Sustainability Leadership Program? 2) What do you hope to take from it? Include your full name, email and telephone number on your essay and submit as an attachment to
  • At least one letter of recommendation from a college or university professor, supervisor, and/or professional colleague who can speak to your potential for success in the Social Innovation & Sustainability Leadership program. Follow this link for letter of recommendation guidelines

Community Fellowship Application Requirements

Requirements include: Program Application, Admission Interview, and Essay (see PDF linked below for essay instructions).
Working professionals with significant experience in a particular area of social innovation and sustainability can apply for a Community Fellowship. This mutually enriching arrangement lets the Fellow share expertise with other program participants while receiving the framework and support to complete a significant social innovation and sustainability project. Community Fellows receive a certificate of completion for participating in the program but do not earn graduate credit since they audit the courses at a reduced program cost.  View a detailed Community Fellow in Social Innovation and Sustainability Leadership description and application (pdf).

In compliance with federal regulation, Edgewood College must disclose certain data regarding non- degree academic certificate programs, including program cost, time required to complete the certificate program, and certain employment information for those completing the program.

  • Tuition and Financial Aid (found above)
  • Schedule and Course Information (found above)
  • Right To Know

Students and Alumni


Program participants represent a wide variety of fields: social entrepreneurship non-profit, government, small business corporate management; economic development, planning and design; education; public health; and energy and utilities. Students enter the program at various stages of their careers. Some students have recently completed their undergraduate degrees and are looking for the skills, connections and project-based learning that will propel them into their careers. Others are already in their chosen careers, and are looking for the knowledge and skills to enhance the work they are doing by launching or furthering the social innovation and/or sustainability efforts of their current organization. While students are making a career change, looking to align their work with their values and passion for leading change in their communities and organizations.

2018-19 Cohort 

2018-2019 Cohort 

AmandaGreuel EmilyGarbutt FelixGiboney

Amanda Greuel Emily Garbutt Felix Giboney

GraceReutten JavierZea JonAbfall

Grace Reutten Javier Zea Jon Abfall

KarenBednar NatalieKaminsky RyanErisman

Karen Bednar Natalie Kaminsky Ryan Erisman


Our alumni are making a difference in the many complex social-emotional intelligence challenges facing our world today including equity, climate change, violence prevention, education, energy policy, green building, community development, equity, land use and water quality, biodiversity protection, food security and public health. They work for a wide range of organizations including: American Family Insurance, Boys & Girls Club, Community Groundworks, Environmental Leadership Program, GDS Associates Engineers & Consultants, Group Health Cooperative, Lincoln Elementary School, Madison Gas & Electric, Sustain Dane, Trek Bicycle Corporation, UW Health, and Wisconsin Department of Transportation.



Social Innovation and Sustainability Leadership in Health Care

Michael Weber, '18

Michael Weber is the Executive Director of Sales, Client and Health Promotion Services Division for Dean Health Plan and Prevea360 Health Plan, one of the largest, most diversified managed care organizations in Wisconsin. As part of Dean's Executive team, Michael leads the Sales, Client and Health Promotion teams representing fully insured and self-funded health insurance products to large, midsize, and small employers, as well as to individuals on and off the Federally Facilitated Marketplace exchange. In addition, Michael oversees the Medicare sales team at Dean and the Health Promotion staff. He is a member of the MA Program class of 2018. In this video feature, learn how Mike's project, Gone for Good, an organized effort to rid our waterways of prescription drugs, has grown and evolved. He also speaks to the leadership qualities he has been able to bring to Gone for Good as a result of his participation in the SISL Master's Program.

Annette Miller, '17

Annette Miller is the CEO and founder of EQT By Design, LLC. Her passion is ensuring inclusion, and engagement is front and center in her work. She has 25+ years of strong professional policy and analytic skills, a wide network of community, government and business relationships, and extensive networks within Madison and Dane County’s diverse populations. Annette works as a strong connector between community, business, government and nonprofits. This results in developing and implementing ideas and strategies that are inclusive, resilient and evolve into a strong community backbone. Annette graduated with her Master’s degree in 2017.

Alex Law

Alex works for the Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation (WECC) as a Program Manager for Energy Finance Solutions (EFS). In this role he manages existing energy efficiency and renewable energy loan programs throughout the United States, supervises two teams of loan specialists, coordinators and administrators, and consults new clients to guide the setup and implementation of new loan programs. EFS’ clients are state government agencies or large utilities interested in promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy by making financing available to consumers or businesses. Some of EFS’ programs provide incentives for low income customers, and some programs also offer non-traditional loan underwriting criteria, such as looking at the utility bill history instead of credit scores or debt-to-income ratios

When Alex decided to pursue a graduate degree he wanted to combine his background in business and banking with his passion for sustainability, diversity, and inclusion. Getting an MBA from UW-Madison at the same time as the masters in the SISL program provided him with this perfect merger of focus areas, and was key in getting into his current position and field, which needs unique and creative approaches to solving some of the most pressing issues of our times.

Faculty, Staff and Advisors

The Team

Carrie Sanders
Carrie Vanderford Sanders, MCP


Carrie teaches on topics of economic and social sustainability, community development, and social innovation and is the Director of Engagement and Community Impact for Edgewood College. She is the founder of Hope Community Capital, focusing on the development of sustainable, equitable and thriving communities. Carrie’s experience includes raising and deploying diverse community development finance sources for sustainable, community-driven projects throughout the nation. Carrie also works with the Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership, where she coordinates the African American Emerging Entrepreneur Loan Fund. She has worked as an urban planning and finance lead; as a senior consultant in real estate transaction work for a global consulting and accounting firm, Baker Tilly; and as the VP of Lending for a statewide community loan fund. Carrie has a master’s degree in City Planning from MIT

Emily Garbutt
Emily Garbutt
Program Coordinator

Emily has a background in marketing, social media management, communications and public relations. Her professional experience spans both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. She is interested in using marketing as tool to promote social change in addition to utilizing various media platforms to tell impactful stories. Her approach to work and creativity is largely influenced by her experiences as a 500-hour certified yoga teacher. Emily holds her bachelor’s degree in public relations with a minor in marketing  from Marquette University and is working toward her master’s degree in Social Innovation and Sustainability Leadership at Edgewood College.

Hewan Schade
Program Assistant

Hewan Schade is a Sophomore at Edgewood College majoring in International Studies and Social Entrepreneurship. Her passion for sustainability and development is applied at SISL and as Program Assistant for CEOs of Tomorrow. She is a WARF Upstart alum developing social entrepreneurial projects related to her Ethiopian heritage. When she is not working and attending classes she is volunteering, playing soccer or in a local restaurant enjoying an excellent dish.

J. Ashleigh Ross, PhD

Ashleigh's personal and professional focus is on social and environmental justice and community-based learning. Specifically, Ashleigh has worked with the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans on a community-led wetland restoration program and continues to support the sustainable recovery of New Orleans.  Ashleigh has a strong background in community gardens and sustainable agriculture and partners with Madison-area programs to build community through school and educational gardens. Ashleigh Ross has a PhD in Environmental Studies from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the UW-Madison.

Jim Lorman, PhD
Professor and Community Partnership Specialist
(608) 663-6921

Jim Lorman has taught science and integrative studies at Edgewood College for 31 years and is a recipient of the Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Award. He has broad expertise in regenerative ecological and social systems, with particular focus on watersheds, community resilience, and participatory process. Jim was a Fellow in the Kellogg National Fellowship Program and continues his commitment to leadership through the Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance and a wide variety of organizations and committees. Know Your Madisonian: Jim Lorman turns passion for lakes into action (Wisconsin State Journal, June 28, 2012)

Stephan Gilchrist, EdD
Director and Faculty

(608) 663-6991

Stephan Hiroshi Gilchrist’s professional career has spanned sustainable forestry, international business, civic engagement and higher education. He came to Edgewood College from the University of Wisconsin-Extension, where he was the director of the Center for Inclusive and Engaged Leadership, and founder of the Leadership for a Better World Global Summit. Prior to his work with the Center, Steve was the Assistant Vice Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer for the University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin-Extension, and has taught courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon and at Wells College in Aurora, New York. He holds a B.A. in international business, M.S. in environmental education, M.A. in conflict resolution, and an Ed.D. in educational leadership.

Community Faculty

Amy Gannon, PhD

Amy teaches courses on entrepreneurship and organizational behavior.  Amy is also the Co-founder of the Doyenne Group, a Madison-based organization dedicated to expanding women’s entrepreneurship in the region. Amy’s research explores the venture creation process, in particular how people’s different identities shape their experience becoming an entrepreneur.  She coaches new and aspiring entrepreneurs as they found and grow their ventures. Amy has BA in International Studies and Economics from The American University, a MBA from Boston College, and a Doctorate of Business Administration in Organizational Behavior from Boston University.  Prior to becoming educator, she worked in government, non-profit and private sector organizations.

Angelica Lozano
Angelica Lozano

Angelica has extensive experience in both academic research and public policy.  As an economic researcher, she has published articles relating to poverty, education, trade, industry, and small and medium enterprises. She also worked with the Colombian government in the development and assessment of policies and programs related to education, armed conflict, poverty and housing. Since arriving in Madison, she has continued seeking ways to be involved in social development, helping Latinos disadvantaged in education, and working with institutions improving access to credit in developing countries. She holds a degree in Economics from Externado University in Colombia, a master in Economics from the University of Los Andes in Colombia, and a master in Management and Public Policy from Getulio Vargas Foundation in Brazil. In 2018, she obtained a Graduate Certificate from Edgewood College in Social Innovation and Sustainable Leadership.

Lisa Baker, PhD

As a psychologist, consultant, and mindfulness teacher, Dr. Baker works with individuals and organizations addressing leadership development and processes that promote and support wellness, excellence, innovation, and sustainability across work and non-work settings and sectors. Dr. Baker owns a consultation and private practice in Madison, Lisa Baker, PhD, LLC. As a consultant, she has given trainings for organizations including YWCA, CUNA Mutual Group, WI State Public Defenders, WI Department of Workforce Development, and Sustain Dane. Additionally, Dr. Baker is an instructor in the Sustainability Leadership Graduate Program at Edgewood College, where she has trained groups of leaders from a wide range of work settings/sectors. On a national level, Dr. Baker serves as Co-Chair for the Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Advisory Committee for the Center for Mindfulness, UMass, Worchester, MA.

Roxie Hentz, PhD
Roxie is the founder and CEO of CEO’s of Tomorrow, offering engaging and hands-on social entrepreneurship education workshops and courses for young innovators and problem solvers who are inspired to shape and influence their world. Roxie has over 25 years of experience in the education field, including service as a state education consultant, culturally responsive teacher leader, district-wide teacher mentor, university teacher-in-residence, adjunct professor, and classroom teacher. For 17 years, she served as the Founding Executive Director of a non-profit organization offering empowering youth programs including financial literacy, job-readiness skills and entrepreneurship. Roxie earned a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s degree in business administration, and a doctorate degree in leadership for the advancement of learning and service.

Michael Mucha, MPA
Michael is the Chief Engineer and Director of the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District, a regional wastewater utility committed to clean water and resource recovery in the Dane County Wisconsin area. He also is a faculty member of The Evergreen State College where he teaches Sustainable Leadership and Decision Making for MPA candidates. Michael has a BS in Civil/Structural Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, and an Executive Leadership Development Certificate from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.


Advisory Board

Our advisory board consists of distinguished local social innovators and sustainability leaders.

Alia Stevenson

Alia is committed to building and sustaining highly effective organizations. Alia has significant experience in team development, data collection, program planning, evaluation, and training facilitation. An advocate for health and wellness, Alia brings a holistic approach to her work through assessing and improving environments to support the health needs of both the individual and the organization. Alia has advanced leadership skills to drive responsive organizational development and change efforts. Alia was recognized as one of Brava Magazine’s 2015 Woman to Watch, a 2017 graduate of Nehemiah’s African American Leadership Capacity & Development Institute, and a 2017-2018 Human Impact Partner Health Equity Awakened Fellow. Alia has a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling Psychology, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Beth Churchill
Beth Churchill

Beth is a seasoned Corporate Responsibility/Sustainability strategist. A respected leader committed to guiding organizations towards sustainability planning, program management and facilitation in both business and community. Beth served as a fellow in Edgewood College’s first Social Innovation and Sustainability Leadership cohort. She is an accredited member of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals. Beth has an insatiable appetite to help others make the change they want to see in the world. A systems thinker, always learning from nature.

Gloria Reyes
Gloria Reyes

Gloria Reyes has committed her career to public service, currently serving as Deputy Mayor to Public Safety, Civil Rights, Community Services, Public Health, and City Attorney’s Office. Gloria is responsible for policy development, management and community outreach. Gloria advises the Mayor on political and policy implications. As Deputy Mayor to Public Safety she is responsible for administrative priorities in public safety disciplines. Gloria is a long time resident of Madison attending Madison East High School and the University of Wisconsin Madison where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Science & Law and Criminal Justice. She recently completed the Leadership in Police Organization training. She is currently working on her Master’s in Public Administration with a focus in Security Management and certification in Organizational Management.

Grant Abert

Grant is the director and founder of the Kailo Fund, a Wisconsin-based investment and philanthropic fund working to address social issues and opportunities through investments, philanthropy and entrepreneurial engagement. An active philanthropist for 30 years, he co-founded the Wisconsin Community Fund, Sustain Dane, Slow Money Wisconsin and Madison U.Lab Hub.

Jessie Lerner

Jessie is the Executive Director of Sustain Dane. From 2007-2013 she developed and managed the nationally recognized MPower Champion Program, working with Madison area businesses to turn sustainable intention into action. She previously worked as an educator at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center, and in program development and environmental education at the Kigio Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya.

Jim Bradley

Jim is a life-long resident of Madison and a graduate of UW-Madison. Jim joined Home Savings Bank after graduation and was named president in 1985. Home Savings Bank is a $145 million community bank serving Dane County. The Bank has a long-term commitment to environmental sustainability. In 1977 the bank opened the first active solar bank office in Wisconsin, located in Stoughton. In May 2006 the bank opened the first LEED Silver bank office in Wisconsin at 3762 East Washington Avenue, Madison.

John Imes

John is a former Chairman of the Board and co-founder of Wisconsin Environmental Initiative, joined the organization as Executive Director in 1998. John has over 20 years of experience creating and managing award-winning programs and is recognized as a leader and spokesperson on ways to improve Wisconsin’s environment and economy. John is also co-owner of Arbor House, an award-winning inn and model for sustainable tourism located in Madison, Wisconsin.

Karen Lincoln Michel

Karen is publisher and editor of Madison Magazine and president of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism Board of Directors. Karen has spent much of her career in newspapers, where she held jobs from reporter to top editor. She is a former executive editor of The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette, Louisiana, and a former assistant managing editor of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Karen started in newspapers at the La Crosse Tribune and went on to The Dallas Morning News in Texas. From 1987 to 2005, she was a part-owner of News From Indian Country, a bi-monthly newspaper published in northern Wisconsin. She has written extensively about Native American issues as a freelancer and was a columnist for The New York Times Syndicate. Karen is a past president of UNITY: Journalists for Diversity and a past president of the Native American Journalists Association. Karen has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and a master’s degree from Marquette University. She is a member of the Ho-Chunk tribe in Wisconsin.

Kelly Hilyard

Kelly has worked in the green building industry in Madison for the past seven years, first as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) consultant with Madison Environmental Group, INC., and most recently as a freelance sustainability consultant. She has managed 14 LEED building projects in Wisconsin including the Edgewood College STREAM building. Before moving to Madison, Kelly spent eight years as an organic farmer in northern California and Texas and received her Master's degree in landscape architecture from University of Texas-Austin.

D. Michael Mucha

Michael is the Chief Engineer and Director for the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District. He has dedicated his 28-year career in local government to building public trust through sustainability. “Anything can be accomplished if you have the public working with you.” Michael has his BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, his Masters in Public Administration from the University of Washington-Seattle, and completed Harvard University’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government program. He is a registered professional engineer. Michael serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure, and chair for the US Water Alliance’s One Water Council. He teaches courses in sustainable infrastructure management and adaptive leadership at the University of Wisconsin and Edgewood College.

Missy Tracy

Missy is the Municipal Relations Coordinator at Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison and a tribal member of the Ho-Chunk Nation. Her career spans three decades in business with 22 years of management experience. For the past ten years, Missy has worked for Indian country in Public Relations, Training, Regulation and Community Relations. She was the Senior Public Relations Manager for Ho-Chunk Gaming’s site in Wisconsin Dells wherein she executed an award winning strategic public relations program which won accolades from the Central Wisconsin Community Action Council, the Red Cross, and the Baraboo Chamber of Commerce. Missy has served as the Seminar Director at the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA Seminar Institute) in Washington, D. C. Missy continues to serve on the board for the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling since 2009 in addition to serving on five local boards in the Madison community.

Penny Patterson

Penny serves the Promega Marketing Services and Corporate Affairs teams as the Vice President of Communications. She started with Promega in 2004 as manager in Marketing Communications and later moved into Corporate Affairs. Today the two teams provide marketing, internal and business communications across the Promega constituencies of customers, employees, community and shareholders.

Prior to Promega, Penny worked in advertising and PR at two Madison firms - The Hiebing Group and Knupp and Watson. She filled roles in PR, account management, and communications planning for national and local accounts. She started her career as a radio reporter in Madison covering news and creating public programming. Over the years, she has been a part of award winning work with recognition from the Milwaukee Press Club, Wisconsin Broadcasters Association and American Advertising Federation – Madison. Penny earned Bachelor of Arts degrees from the UW Madison in journalism honors and philosophy. She has served on Boards of Directors and advisory committees including Community Shares, Madison Rape Crisis Center and Madison Youth Choirs.

Will Green

Will is the Founder of Mentoring Positives, Inc. a mentoring program working with high-risk youth in Madison Wisconsin. He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and is from Gary, Indiana. Will has over 25 years of experience working with youth and families with behavioral and emotional issues.

Program Initiatives

Students in the Social Innovation & Sustainability Leadership Graduate Program become part of a network of professional colleagues. The program’s project-based approach and integration of regional sustainability experts into the classes, either as guest instructors or through class field trips, builds breadth of knowledge, as well as social capital. Students have the opportunity to connect with many of our partners while in the program, and we can facilitate further connections based on student interest. Visit some of our partner organizations’ web sites:

Engaged Mindfulness Co-Lab

The Engaged Mindfulness Co-Lab was founded in collaboration with SISL by former SISL student and now faculty, Lisa Baker, PhD. The mission of the Co-Lab is to co-create spaces and opportunities for learning and applying mindfulness-based practices, reflections, and frameworks for a more inclusive, just, and sustainable world.

The Co-lab began three years ago as a semester long SISL mindfulness course taught by Dr. Lisa Baker and expanded to include a variety of events such as the Engaged Mindfulness Summit, Engaged Mindfulness Breakfasts and introductory and advanced mindfulness courses offered to both community members and SISL students. Additionally, the Co-Lab partners with organizations throughout Madison to host a diverse group of speakers who lead trainings and workshops that educate audiences on applying mindfulness-based practices for a more equitable and inclusive world. 

Partner Organizations:

  • UW-Health Mindfulness Program
  • YWCA
  • EQT By Design
  • Eco-Cultural Connections

Continuing Education Courses

The drive towards social innovation and sustainability leadership can emerge from within a range of professional and personal contexts and according to individual timelines. Are you ready to hone your leadership skills or bring a new level of focus to your team around today’s complex challenges?  In collaboration with Edgewood College and leading-edge partner organizations, SISL faculty and instructors have designed courses to support you in your journey. We welcome alumni, students, friends and community members to explore social innovation and sustainability leadership topics such as mindful leadership, design thinking, participatory leadership, and much more. To learn more about our courses or to register, follow this link.

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    The Social Innovation and Sustainability Leadership program gave me the confidence to think of myself as a leader and discover how I could empower myself and others to make an impact on issues involving equity and inclusion. I couldn't be more appreciative of the curriculum. The instructors, readings, guest speakers, and field trips gave us a perspective and access to knowledge that we wouldn't have necessarily found on our own.
    Annette Miller, Social Entrepreneur

Joann Eastman