Case Studies on Social Impact Centers and Their Influence on Undergraduate Business Students to Develop an Interest in Social Change

Andrea Brantzeg Thomas, University of Pennsylvania


It is a tradition at many institutions of higher education to develop civic-mindedness in their students, and they use a number of strategies to do it. As the world has become more globalized, the sense of community that is inherent in civic engagement also has expanded. Global citizenship has roots in civic engagement and describes people who have developed cross-cultural empathy and a broadened sense of their place in the world through lived experiences. Awareness, responsibility, and participation are three primary components of global citizenship. Business schools are motivated to prioritize developing global citizenship in students due to the increasing global business environment and criticism that there needs to be more done to prepare moral and ethical business leaders prepared to work in more complex global businesses and environments. Expectations from shareholders are increasing for businesses to have robust environmental, social, and governance programs, and students are becoming more interested in working for companies that are environmentally and socially responsible. Due to pressure from students and employers, social impact centers, social innovation programs, and socially responsible investment experiences in business schools are emerging as a way to engage students in experiential learning opportunities designed to build a desire to be more ethically, socially, and environmentally minded. In order for business schools to prepare undergraduate students successfully to be global citizens and ethical business leaders capable of solving the increasingly complex social and environmental problems the world is now facing, they will need to better understand how the programs they offer meet the needs of their students and increase participation. Case studies of business schools with established social impact centers that successfully have integrated social impact curricula and programs into their institution can provide a model for business schools with similar aspirations to instill a sense of global citizenship and an interest in influencing social change in their students.

Subject Area

Higher education|Sustainability|Business education

Recommended Citation

Thomas, Andrea Brantzeg, "Case Studies on Social Impact Centers and Their Influence on Undergraduate Business Students to Develop an Interest in Social Change" (2022). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI29257503.