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August 16, 2011 / compassioninpolitics

What are the top graduate programs for sustainable social entrepreneurship in Canada and the UK?

*** Please Read Before Continuing–Very Important ***
Very important. I believe this list focuses on eco and sustainability style social entrepreneurship rather than the more robust field. However, some of these organizations provide. Second, this is just a jumping off point for more research (this is especially true given the time and investment that such a decision requires–2 years and over $20k-$40k in many cases).

If you need a list of the top US social entrepreneurship programs you can find one on Compassion in Politics (check the top posts in the upper left hand corner of this blog). If you are looking for green social entrepreneurship programs in the United States, I would refer you to the Beyond Gray Pinstripes Top 100 ranking which is conducted by the Aspen Institute (has far more data and a better grounded methodology). It may also be helpful to look at the Net Impact Business As Unusual guide as well. Finally, I have not hot linked any of these below, so you will have to use GOOGLE to find what you are looking for.

“Education is the most effective weapon, which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela

This is a summary of a scoping study carried out in September 2008 for Schumacher College, which inventorises English speaking higher educational institutions that are focussing on a new or transition paradigm and/or holistic education.

The total number of institutions found was 136 and they are mainly situated in the USA (64); followed by the UK (20); Australia (14) and Canada (11).

Both academic (getting a degree MA/MSc/Ba/PhD/certificate/diploma/course credits) and non-academic (courses without credits, retreats, workshops, seminars etc.) institutions have been selected. Therefore also communities that offer permaculture, sustainable building workshops and retreats etc. are included. Based on this more comprehensive result a top-20 of more radical, cutting-edge institutions have been selected, that are presented below.

“Top” Programs in Green Social Entrepreneurship (Very important: read the first two paragraphs. Also, there are 2 download links below)
1. Wisdom University (Mill Valley (San Fransisco), CA, USA) (121)
2. GlobalShift University (Westlake Village, CA and Nashville, TN, USA) (87)
3. Holy Names University – Sophia Center (Oakland, CA, USA) (89)
4. Findhorn Foundation (Findhorn, Scotland, UK) (44)
5. Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT (Machynlleth, Wales, UK) (40)
6. Schumacher College (Dartington, Totnes, UK) (54)
7. The Nature Institute* (Ghent, New York, USA) (114)
8. Oases for transformative learning (Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia) (19)
9. Gaia University (USA, EU and virtual) (84)
10. Living Routes – Studying abroad in ecovillages (Amherst, MA, USA) (92)
11. School of Social Ecology and Lifelong Learning, University of Western Sydney (Sydney,
Australia) (20)
12. Centre for Human Ecology, University of Strathclyde (Scotland, UK) (41)
13. KaosPilot International – International School of New Business Design and Social Innovation
(Aarhus, Denmark) (27)
14. LEAD International (London, UK) (49)
15. Naropa University (Boulder, CO, USA) (94)
16. Center for Creative Change – Antioch University Seattle (USA) (70)
17. Oberlin College, Environmental Studies (Oberlin, OH, USA) (97/
18. Hollyhock and Hollyhock Leadership Institute* (Cortes Island, BC, Canada) (61)
19. Sustainability Institute (Stellenbosch, South Africa) (3)
20. Ethos Foundation* (Binna Burra, Queensland, Australia) (16)

Download the Rankings Guide Here (one is a summary and the other is the full rankings and description)

Here is a link to the PDF of this list along with a description. Also, here is the full version of this guide, which is quite extensive (166 pages altogether). Again, I would use it as a jumping off point for programs in green social entrepreneurship (check out the Beyond Pinstripes & Net Impact guides as well….if you are doing a full MBA program…you will likely want to look at more generic ranking of the school in Business Week, the Economist, or US News and World Report). Again, I don’t know what the authors of this guide used as their methodology–and their methodology may not fit your needs exactly–so its critically important that you do additional research. I would just use this as a jumping off point for further research on these institutions, their benefits, and their respective track records.

Caveats about the Rankings

Some institutions included are not directly educational, for example Learning for a Sustainable Future at York University, Toronto, Canada that in fact is educating the educators, or the Change Agency, West End, Queensland, Australia, that is building capacity and power for sustainable and effective environmental and social change at the grassroot community level. Another example is the Center for Ethical Leadership, Seattle that does a similar thing in the United States. These initiatives are however illustrative for what is being offered in the field of social and cultural change and are therefore included.

Other examples are: The Power of Hope, Canada, USA; Social and Sacred Ecology Centre for Australia; Ethos Foundation, Australia; The Creative Awareness Project, Palo Alto, USA; the Ojai Foundation, California and the Whidbey Institute at Chinook, Clinton, USA.

As mentioned above, communities that are offering education are included as well. They are: Auroville, India; Lotan Center for Creative Ecology, Israel; Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies (CERES) and Crystal Waters, Australia; Damanhur, Italy; Braziers Park and Findhorn, UK; Sirius Community, USA; Ecocentro IPEC/Ecoversidade, Brazil and Huehuecoyotl Eco-village, Mexico.

It would also be worthwhile to check out York, Nottingham, McGill (Canada), INSEAD, Concordia (Canada), and University of British Colombia (Canada) for those in the UK or Canada based on the findings of the Beyond Gray Pinstripes Ranking of SE programs in sustainability.

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