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New cross-university program in social impact


The world’s deep-seated problems—hunger, pollution, water access—can’t be solved in isolation.

For example, “a solution developed to address a water access issue might require knowledge of legal aspects, it might require engineering solutions, it might require a business model,” says Jean-Baptiste Litrico, associate professor and director of the Centre for Social Impact at Smith. “So what we need are ways to bring together different strengths of expertise and resources to address these social challenges,” he adds.

That’s why Queen’s University has launched the Advanced Leadership for Social Impact Fellowship (ALSI). Litrico and Ted Christou, associate dean of graduate studies in the Faculty of Education, are co-directors of the 12-month program. It aims to equip leaders with the knowledge, skills and networks to tackle the root causes of some of the world’s grand challenges.

The 12-month program will welcome its first group this October. Students will participate in a blend of in-person and online learning taught by faculty and instructors from across the university, as well as sector specialists. The curriculum focuses on the three core mindsets—discovery, design and delivery—required to enact sustainable change.

“What distinguishes this program is that it will actually help people deliver on their initiatives,” Litrico says. Many programs stop at the design phase, he explains. “We want to make sure there are some concrete, tangible projects that are made feasible.”

The ALSI builds on Queen’s commitment to advancing sustainability and social impact. For the past two years, the university has ranked in the Top 10 globally in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, which measures contributions to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.