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July 18, 2011 / compassioninpolitics

MFA in Design for Social Innovation

I just learned last night about the MFA in Design for Social Innovation. It looks like a cool program, the program of study and the professors look quite impressive (it appears the faculty have Fortune 500, professional services, & nonprofit experience–which can help providing applicable knowledge as well as insights about the field). I was also impressed by the advisors and the guest lecturers in their Design for Social Innovation program. From what I can tell this a lone program in the MFA for social innovation space (although Stanford and MIT certainly have programs which leverage some of these same skills). This article from Good.Is mentions a couple other programs, but given the caliber of faculty this program has, I believe they would be hard pressed to compete.

Faculty for the MFA for Social Innovation
Cheryl Heller. Cheryl is the founder of Heller Communication Design and Board Chair of PopTech, a laboratory for disruptive innovation focused on technology and social change. She is a pioneering communication designer and business strategist, and has twice been nominated for the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for Communication Design.

Danny Alexander is a multi-disciplinary designer committed to integrating his diverse experience into an entrepreneurial path to impact in social innovation. He has worked as a design researcher, and as a product designer for Method Products, where he helped create award-winning, innovative and sustainable products for mass-market retail. For Catapult Design in San Francisco, he led research for projects related to sporting goods markets in Rwanda and low-cost medical devices in India, created potential Triple Bottom Line business models, co-led ‘Design for Social Impact’ workshops, advised on marketing strategies and designed marketing collateral.

Tracy Brandenburg, Ph.D. is a researcher, writer and founder of The Wells College Innovation Lab. She is a trained anthropologist, semiotician, professor of Latin American Studies and master storyteller with a fascination for language, signs, and the human condition.

Asi Burak is Co-President of Games for Change, the leading global advocate for making and supporting digital games for social impact. In his role there, he develops and executes programs to raise the production quality and influence of social impact games, and produces the Annual Games for Change Festival, the largest gaming event in New York, dubbed by national media as “the Sundance of Video Games”.

Mary Corliss Pearl Ph. D. is an internationally known conservationist, scientist, and educator. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of The Garrison Institute, a not-for-profit, non-sectarian organization promoting evidence-based contemplative and transformational approaches to social and environmental change. As former chief executive and Dean of Faculty at Stony Brook Southampton, Dr. Pearl used her deep understanding of ecosystems to help implement green majors and prepare students for environmentally sustainable careers.

Jane S. Englebardt is founder of Upshot Advisors, a consulting and executive coaching firm, accelerating philanthropic sector leaders success in making effective, measurable and sustainable social change. Prior to establishing Upshot Advisors, Ms. Englebardt was President & CEO of Bideawee, a 100-year-old multi-site nationally prominent nonprofit organization. As Executive Director of the Hasbro Children’s Foundation, she funded growth of innovative programs nationwide, and was founder and director of the September 11th Children’s Fund. Ms. Englebardt has also held senior positions at the Big Apple Circus and KPMG Peat Marwick.

Lisa Nugent is Global Creative Director of Cross-Sector Innovation & Design for Johnson & Johnson, part of the Global Strategic Design Office (GSDO), where she works to improve and create valued patient experiences primarily with businesses in the Medical Devices & Diagnostics (MD&D) and Pharmaceutical sectors. Her team fosters a holistic design approach for new devices, User-Interface, services, and packaging based on patient insights and unmet needs. She delivers solutions that empower people with chronic disease to better manage their health and wellness. She also directs innovative qualitative research methods to inform patient journeys and discovery prototyping. Her proposal, LIVING PROFILES, was funded by Project HealthDesign, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation initiative to support innovation in personal health records. The working prototype (co-created with teens) was voted “best new product” by the Health 2.0 Launch audience in April 2009.

Alessandra Orofino has a background in economics, public policy, and research. She is a lead strategist at Purpose, where she started the company’s practice in Brazil. She is also honorary president of Meu Rio, a new organization that is developing tools for civic engagement and participation in her native city of Rio de Janeiro. She has previously worked at a corporate social responsibility consultancy that provides strategic advice to major Brazilian corporations.

If you want to apply to the MFA in Design for Social Innovation program:

Applications are due January 15, 2012 for Fall 2012 enrollment. The MFA Design for Social Innovation does not have spring admission. Applicants will receive an admission decision, in writing, by April 1, 2012.

You can learn more about the MFA in Design for Social Innovation degree program here or at their other website here.

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