Social Innovation & Sustainability Leadership Graduate Program
The first place-based, face-to-face social innovation and sustainability leadership MA program in the nation.
We believe the purpose of leadership is creating sustainable 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 global 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 an 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 12-18 students from a broad range of academic backgrounds and professional fields. Together, you will develop the skills, knowledge, and mindset to effect social innovation and systems change. You choose how to individualize your degree based on your area of professional and personal interest through projects electives. Courses can 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 and 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 environmental problems 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. Visit edgewood.edu/sustainability for examples of past projects.
Action to Results
As a student, you will:
- Develop your personal strengths
- Identify the need for partnerships
- Learn methods for inclusively engaging the participation of all 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 at Edgewood College have the opportunity to begin a Master of Arts in Social Innovation & Sustainability Leadership while an undergraduate. 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 Sustainability Leadership Master's Program while undergraduates 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 (SUST 6501), and Social and Economic Sustainability (SUST 652). For more information, contact your undergraduate advisor or Stephan Gilchrist, Sustainability Leadership Graduate Program Director at email@example.com or 608-663-6991.
Graduate Certificate in Social Innovation & Sustainability Leadership
The Sustainability Leadership Graduate Certificate is ideal for those interested in making an impact in their workplace or community. The 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 2017-18 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):
- Foundations: Leadership for Social Innovation and Sustainability (SUST 650, 4 credits)
7-day, Immersion course - August 11-17, Sept. 8.
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.
- Ecological Sustainability and Social Innovation (SUST 651, 4 credits)
Fall 2018, 9 Saturdays: Sept. 8, Sept. 22, Oct. 6, Oct. 20, Nov. 3, Nov. 17, Dec. 1, Dec. 15
In this course, we use an ecological framework to explore the scientific basis of sustainable systems and the extension of principles of ecology and natural systems design into the realms of organizational change leadership, social science and humanities. We explore systems such as energy, food, water, climate, and concepts such as ecological design, resilience, and restoration. We also analyze key ecological sustainability indicators and reporting frameworks (e.g., ecological and carbon footprints, green building certifications, Global Reporting Initiative, Genuine Progress Indicator). Key related concepts include: ecosystem services, risk perception, precautionary principle, permaculture, biomimicry, deep ecology, integral ecology, indigenous knowledge systems and ecospirituality. We deepen our understanding of leadership tools learned in SUST 650 and introduce new tools such as Integral Facilitation and Johari Window. Prerequisites: SUST 650.
- Social Innovation for Social and Economic Sustainability (SUST 652, 4 credits)
8 Saturdays in the Spring Semester, 2019
Jan. 26 – May 4, 2019 (1/26, 2/9, 2/23, 3/9, 3/23, 4/6, 4/20, 5/4)
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.
- Urban Community-based Sustainable Development (SUST 751, 3 credits)
Fall Semester, Wednesdays, 5:30-8:00pm
Practical application of broad-based sustainability principles to the design of infrastructure, neighborhoods, and watersheds in the urban environment. Students and instructors will collaborate with community leaders, from grassroots activists to agency staff and elected officials, in developing and implementing sustainability plans. Depending on their interests, students will have the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills in any of the following areas: watershed management; green infrastructure; ecological design; community engagement; placemaking; livability; walkability. Prerequisite: SUST 652 or consent of instructor.
- Innovative Leadership in Community Well-being (SUST 752 3 credits)
Spring Semester 2018, Wednesdays 5:30-8:00pm
How can we best lead change within our organizations and communities to increase sustainability, resilience, health, and happiness? Partnering with local community leaders and organizations, our interdisciplinary group of students and faculty will create a "social innovation lab" that works to build and support collaborations among community members, non-profit organizations, businesses, and government agencies aimed at improving social, environmental, and economic "well-being" for all. Using tools of participatory, transformative leadership (including asset-based community development, collective impact, and crowd-sourcing), we will work toward the achievement of sustainable well-being goals that build social capital; improve public health; prevent violence; increase access to open space, public transport, and healthy foods; encourage social entrepreneurship; promote community economic development; and support community and youth leadership development. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
- Sustainability Leadership Capstone (SUST 759, 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 695 Special Topics
The Special Topics courses are offered through the SISL Community Course program in partnership with the Professional Development office. Community courses are taught by SISL Community Faculty who design the courses and create and grade the assignments. Community courses meet primarily face-to-face. Students can only count 6 credits of SUST 695 towards degree completion requirements. Courses are offered at a discounted rate.
SUST 795 Guided Study Special Topics
This course provides a framework for students taking Community Courses to integrate the content into the SISL curriculum and their Social Innovation Projects. As a learning community, we explore and elaborate on the topics offered by Community Courses and apply them to leadership and innovation. Students will have the opportunity to utilize online teaching tools to integrate new information and skills into their leadership development. This course brings together: the community-based content of the Community Courses; the curriculum and educational framework of SISL; application of Community Course concepts to Social Innovation Projects; and online teaching tools to create a learning community to support and integrate new knowledge and experiences.
SUST 695/795 001- Introduction to Mindful Leadership: Essential Skills for Leading in a Complex World
Instructor: Lisa Baker, PhD
Description: Mindfulness practices aimed at cultivating our innate qualities of awareness, focus, authenticity and compassion, qualities that enhance our ability as leaders to create safe and trusting environments, where there is openness and respect for each person’s background, experiences, style, skills, and contributions. This training will also provide the opportunity for participants to explore ways these qualities can apply to the work of creating more diverse, inclusive, and equitable environments. Benefits of Mindfulness Training at Work: Improves: • Mental focus and concentration • Time management • Interpersonal communication • Conflict management • Team effectiveness • Innovation and inspiration • Ability to anticipate and serve clients/consumers needs • Productivity
Dates/Times: 6 Thursdays: 6:00pm-8:30pm, Sep. 27, Oct. 4, Oct.11, Oct. 18, Oct. 25, Nov. 1.
Location: Edgewood College, Monroe St. Campus. Room TBD.
3 Graduate Credits
SUST 695/795 OO2 Servant Leadership for Social Innovation
Instructor: Carrie Sanders and Robert Toomey, EdD
Description: In this course, participants explore the ideal of “wellbeing for all, forever” at the intersection of servant leadership and social innovation. We will reflect on the foundations of servant leadership and social innovation while carefully pondering Spears’s “10 Characteristics of a Servant Leader” and their application to social innovation. Participants are asked to reflect on whether and to what extent their practice of servant leadership offers opportunities to more rapidly, more effectively, and more justly engage in positive social change. Each student will complete a StrengthsFinders assessment and use their results as a tool to recognize and grow their own strengths and the strengths of others. Students will practice servant leadership through a mini-experiment that proposes the use of servant leadership to advance social innovation. In addition to drawing on the work of Robert Greenleaf and Larry Spears, students will explore how servant leadership can be engaged in systems thinking (Meadows, Stroh) and Theory U (Scharmer). Course participants are invited to orient their learning around the question, “How might I practice servant leadership to co-create a more just and equitable world where wellbeing for all, forever, is a real possibility?”
Dates/Times: Second Saturdays of month: Sept 15, Oct13, Nov 10, Dec 8. 9:00am–12:00pm
Location: Edgewood College, Monroe St. Campus. Room TBD
3 Graduate Credits
SUST 695/795 003 Engaging Emergence
Instructors: Marian Farrior, Kate Heiber-Cobb, Julie Swanson
Description: Engaging Emergence: personal practices to learn forward together Engaging emergence is about co-creating space for intentional, grounded, and collaborative learning. Emergence is a process of connecting with one's own inner resources and gifts, and tapping into the collective intelligence and wisdom of a group. It is a way to engage with systems and bring more awareness to patterns of change. This course is for wayfinders and edgeworkers. If you want to deepen your work and life moving forward, and find yourself at the edges of systems..…this course is for you. We will focus our inquiry on three emergent practices. - Be Curious - Widen the Lens - Change the Story And explore the emerging field of social permaculture. We will intentionally integrate: Self Care, Reflection, Multiple Ways of Knowing, and Resilience. This course will be holistic and experiential as we practice different techniques for exploring our questions, perspectives, and stories. Participants will learn more about themselves and ways to access their inner wisdom, as well as be able to apply the techniques they learn to personal and professional group situations. We will draw upon teachings from Emergent Strategy (adrienne marie brown), Theory U ( Otto Scharmer), Emotional and Social Intelligence (Daniel Goleman), Social Artistry (Jean Houston), and Social Permaculture (Looby Macnamara and others).
Dates/Times: 4 Thursdays, 6-9pm Nov. 8, 15, 29, Dec. 6
Location: Edgewood College, Monroe St. Campus. Room TBD
1 Graduate Credit
- International Engagement: Sustainable Community Wellbeing (SUST 745, 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 685-002- Mindfulness at Work: Advanced Applications
Instructor: Lisa Baker, Ph.D.
Dates: April 14, 28, and May 12, 8:30 am-1:30 pm
Location: Edgewood College, Monroe St. Campus
Course Description: In this course we explore more deeply the application of mindfulness practices to challenges, such as conflict and change processes, as well as for strategizing and prototyping ways to infuse mindfulness into teams and organizations. Together, we will practice, learn about and apply advanced mindfulness practices, and related leadership and organization change frameworks (e.g., Theory U, Appreciative Inquiry, Process Work). There will also be an applied component to this course where participants will create individualized action goals and strategies, and share the learning experiences during the course.
- SUST 685-004- From Passion to Paycheck: Entrepreneurship for Social Good
Instructor: Amy Gannon
Dates: Thursdays, Feb. 22, March 2, March 8, March 15, March 22, 6:00-9:00 PM
Location: Edgewood College, Monroe St. Campus
Description: 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.
- SUST 685-005- Summit on Mindfulness for an Inclusive, Just, Sustainable World
Instructors/Organizers: Lisa Baker, Steve Gilchrist, Annette Miller, Nola Walker, Carmen Alonso
Dates: April 20, 8:00am-5:00pm
Location: Edgewood College, Monroe St. Campus-Washburn Heritage Room
Description: Awareness and compassion for self and others, resilience, deep listening, and authentic connections are all fundamental to creating an inclusive, just and sustainable world. Mindfulness practices can help cultivate and express these qualities at the personal, interpersonal, and systems levels. This summit provides tools, frameworks, and practices that can help us cultivate these qualities and contribute to the urgent need to transform our divided communities. (Taken from 2017 Summit info and subject to modification)
Courses with Community Partners
- Ethics (IC 800, 3 credits)
Offered Weekday Evenings or Online
This course examines ethical issues in the practice of professions in public life. Significant issues such as justice, honesty, and respect for persons are examined and dialogue as they emerge in human experience. Philosophical and religious perspectives regarding ethics are considered. Prerequisites: None
- Studies in Change: (IC 850, 3 credits)
Offered Online or Predominantly Online
This course is designed to develop an understanding of personal, social and organizational change. Such issues as personal commitment, social conditions, and technological developments are examined as they impact on personal, social and institutional situations. Research strategies provide opportunities to strengthen logical thinking, analysis of evidence and written communication.
- Permaculture Design Certificate
Instructors: Kate Heiber-Cobb, Marian Farrior
Dates: March 9-11, April 13-15, May 4-6
Location: Terra Simpla in Stoughton
Description: Our Permaculture Design Certificate Training in 2018 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 madisonareapermacultureguild.org.
- Journey of Facilitation and Collaboration
Instructors: Steven M. Davis, Darin J. Harris, Harry Webne-Behrman
Dates: January 8-12, April 2-6, June 18-22; 8:00 am-4:30pm daily
Description: Collaboration (JOFC) is a 5-day group leadership experience that facilitates transformative learning at the emotional, physical, intellectual, social and spiritual levels. Results are accomplished using a unique technology called Integral Facilitation based on a holistic set of 20 facilitation competencies that integrate one’s personal power and presence with attention to task, outcomes, processes, and relationships. Using hands-on multi-modal approaches, we’ll take you beyond theory with hands-on practice you need to serve in the role of facilitator with increased confidence and will help expand your self-knowledge and ability to self-manage, skills critical to your success as a leader. Register here.
Electives available through the Edgewood Business School include Health Policy and Law, Organizational Interventions, and Consulting in Organizations. Follow this link for more information.
Electives available through the Edgewood School of Education include Diversity/Culture/Literacy and Leadership and Organization. Follow this link for more information.
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)
- Foundations: Leadership for Social Innovation and Sustainability (SUST 650, 4 credits)
A Growing Field
The demand is only growing for people who understand sustainability and its complexities, have the knowledge and skills to approach systemic challenges, and are able to utilize a variety of processes bringing together multiple stakeholders to develop sustainable solutions.
The leaders of the new, sustainable economy, are not using traditional top-down leadership techniques. To bring about change, today’s leaders must be able to reframe limiting ideas, and empower others through collaborative innovation.
Social Innovation & Sustainability Leadership students are learning by leading innovative projects, so by the time they graduate, they not only have the knowledge and skills to pursue their professional goals, they have “real-world” experience and a network of colleagues to propel them in their careers. The career options for Sustainability Leaders are numerous, and job titles such as Chief Sustainability Officer, Collective Impact Officer, and Zero-Waste Manager are among the sustainability jobs of the future.
Careers in Social Innovation and Sustainability Leadership
A graduate degree in Social Innovation & Sustainability Leadership prepares you for rewarding work in a variety of fields in the non-profit, government, and corporate sectors. Program alumni are working as sustainability project managers and coordinators, program directors, energy analysts, and educators. From agriculture to urban planning and from public health to public office, there isn’t an industry that doesn’t recognize the importance of sustainability.
Be sure to like our Facebook page where we post jobs. Also, Edgewood College’s career services helps students throughout the job search process.
There are many opportunities to research potential careers for sustainability leaders, but below is a list of links to some of the opportunities:
- Corporate Social Responsibility
- Just Means
- Green Biz
- Bright Green Talent
- Stop Do Do
- The Grassroots Jobsource
- Net Impact (corporate and nonprofit)
Articles Outlining the Demand for Sustainability Professionals
- Non Profit Oyster
- Teach for America
- Dev Net Jobs
- Chronicle of Philanthropy
- Council on Foundations
- Volunteering & Non-Profit Careers
- Public Service Careers
Water, Energy & Food Sustainability Jobs
Sustainability Blogs and eNewsletters
- 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 2018-19
Master of Arts Degree, 33 credits $963/credit + applicable course fees
Graduate Certificate, 12 credits (600-series) $963/credit + applicable course fees
Master’s Degree Total (including tuition, books, and course fees): $29,411
* 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.
Graduate Certificate Total (including tuition, books and course fees): $12,710
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.
- 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
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.
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 20 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (608)663-3250.
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 18th.
Classes begin: August 2018
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
1255 Deming Way.
Madison, WI 53717
- Graduate application (with $30 fee). You can fill out an online application.
- Admission interview. Schedule your interview with Program Director Steve Gilchrist email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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.
- Students and Alumni
Program participants represent a wide variety of fields: non-profit, government, and corporate management; economic development, planning and design; education; facilities management; 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 sustainability efforts of their current organization. Some students are making a career change, looking to align their work with their values and passion for leading change in their communities and organizations.
Our alumni are making a difference in the many complex sustainability challenges facing our world today including climate change, energy policy, green building, urban 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.
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. https://youtu.be/knZhQlY-oz8
- Faculty, Staff and Advisors
Stephan Gilchrist, EdD
Director and Faculty
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.
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.
Carrie Vanderford Sanders, MCP
Carrie teaches on topics of economic and social sustainability and social innovation. 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 projects throughout the nation. Carrie is also the Director of Community and Economic Development at Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership, where she is coordinating the launch of a social enterprise, 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.
Jim Lorman, PhD
Professor and Community Partnership Specialist
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)
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.
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.
Amy Gannon, PhD
Amy is an Assistant Professor in the School of Business at Edgewood College. She 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.
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.
In addition to Edgewood faculty, many community leaders regularly join our classes to share their experiences and perspectives. Frequent guests include:
Owner of Partners in Place, LLC
Consultant and Facilitator with UW-Madison Office of Quality Improvement; President of JUSTUS Facilitation and Consulting
Consultant at Hummel Consulting
Founder and Senior Partner of the Center for Courage & Renewal; author, educator and activist
Director of Programs at the Goodman Community Center and co-developer of UW-Extension's 2014 Better World Summit
Our advisory board consists of distinguished local social innovators and sustainability leaders.
Grant Abert directs 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, and Slow Money Wisconsin. Sara Alvarado owns Alvarado Real Estate Group, a boutique Residential Real Estate firm with her husband, Carlos. Sara is passionate about healthy homes, strong, vibrant neighborhoods, and sustainable living. She is active and engaged in public education and innovative learning, and is a named Founder of Madison's Nuestro Mundo Community School and Badger Rock Middle School. Jim Bradley 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 $125 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. Elizabeth Churchill is a seasoned sustainability strategy consultant. She currently serves as Workplace Sustainability Specialist for American Family Insurance, and she previously founded the business of sustainability strategy for Erdman Company. She was a Community Fellow in the first Sustainability Leadership cohort. Kristine A. Euclide, Vice President and General Counsel at Madison Gas and Electric Company, has long been actively involved with numerous local and state environmental organizations. She serves on the WDNR's Green Tier Advisors Group. MGE is the first and only Wisconsin utility to be accepted as a Tier 2 participant in the Green Tier program. Kristine and her husband, long-time supporters of energy efficiency, renewables and protecting natural resources, received national, state and local recognition in the late 1970's for building one of Wisconsin's first solar-heated, highly energy efficient-homes. John Imes, 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. Jessie Lerner 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. D. Michael Mucha serves as the Chief Engineer and Director for the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District. He has dedicated his 25-year career to working on sustainability issues in local government. Will Green, originally from Gary, Indiana, is the founder of Mentoring Positives Inc., a mentoring program working with at-risk youth in the community.MP, which Will created ten years ago, creates meaningful positive relationships that build on young people's positive assets to develop successful, productive citizens -- now and in the future. Through Will's guidance, MP uses urban agriculture as a platform to engage low income minority residents in sustainability practices. Will's deep passion is mentoring underserved/underprivileged youth and families in Madison's most challenged neighborhoods. Kelly Hilyard 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.
- 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:
- Continuing Education
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.