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Contact Information:

Social Innovation & Social Entrepreneurship
(504) 247-1963

Center for Engaged Learning & Teaching (CELT)
310 Richardson Building
6823 St Charles Ave
New Orleans, LA 70118
Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship at Tulane University

We catalyze the Tulane community's creation of
ethical, sustainable, and scalable solutions 

to pressing social challenges

We help members of the Tulane community realize their inherent capacity to tackle pressing social challenges in an engaged, empathetic, creative, and collaborative manner. Our university-wide, interdisciplinary initiatives are grounded in the teaching, research, and practice of social innovation and social entrepreneurship.

Tulane University is a nationally recognized leader in collaborating with the community to create a culture of public service and civic engagement. We encourage students from all disciplines to utilize their education and creativity to solve pressing social challenges.

Our Focus


Student Programs

We engage students outside the classroom through programs at the Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching (CELT). CELT helps the university community realize the goal of engaged learning at Tulane. CELT is here to facilitate the transformation of our students into creative, inquisitive, ethical, and responsible scholars and citizens of the world. The following programs are hosted through social innovation engagement at CELT:

The NewDay Social Entrepreneurship Distinguished Speakers Series presents prominent leaders across social innovation & social entrepreneurship to share their own experiences, challenges, insights, thoughts, and recommendations.

The Changemaker Institute is a student-driven program that supports students working on their own ideas for social change. Through workshops, mentoring, and funding opportunities, the Changemaker Institute allows students to develop, test, and launch their social venture.

The NewDay Social Entrepreneurship Challenge annually awards up to $30,000 in seed funding to Tulane undergraduate and graduate students dedicated to finding innovative, sustainable solutions to pressing social challenges.

Academics & Research

The Social Innovation & Social Entrepreneurship Minor (SISE) prepares undergraduate students to use solutions-oriented thinking, integrate theory and practice, generate stimulating research across fields, & better understand and create new models of social change. Tulane recognizes that well-informed, motivated, and connected citizens are the real agents that create change, and the time and place to cultivate these changemakers is during their university studies. Graduates will be prepared to envision and implement long-lasting change in our global society wherever they go – geographically and academically.

Tulane University has established a cohort of Professors in Social Entrepreneurship. These endowed professorships create a critical mass of faculty support for university-wide, interdisciplinary endeavors in social innovation & social entrepreneurship. These professors teach, develop research or practice agendas, and inform programming and initiatives. They represent a range of academic disciplines spanning the natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences.

Tulane University invites nominations and applications for The Sacks Endowed Distinguished Chair in Civic Engagement and Social Entrepreneurship. We seek a renowned scholar and/or a uniquely accomplished practitioner who aspires to be a senior academic leader – an individual with a demonstrated interest in civic engagement, public service, and/or social entrepreneurship.

Community Engagement

We strive to develop mutually beneficial partnerships with high-impact organizations in fields such as food access, youth development, or conservation. These community partners provide enriching learning experiences, utilize innovative problem-solving approaches, and exhibit appropriate risk-taking. Our partners work with students in the classroom, engage with faculty in research endeavors, and collaborate with Tulane to develop new solutions to pressing social challenges

PitchNOLA is a social innovation “pitch” competition open to individuals and teams across New Orleans. We seek ideas for a financially and organizationally sustainable venture or project that solves a pressing social or environmental challenge. The competition is held in partnership with the Levy Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship at the A.B. Freeman School of Business and Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation.


Key Definitions

Social innovation is defined as a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than existing solutions and for which the value created accrues primarily to society as a whole rather than private individuals. (SSIR)

Social entrepreneurship is about innovative, market-oriented approaches underpinned by a passion for social equity and environmental sustainability. Ultimately, social entrepreneurship is aimed at transformational systems change that tackles the root causes of poverty, marginalization, environmental deterioration and accompanying loss of human dignity. The key concepts of social entrepreneurship are innovation, market orientation and systems change. (Skoll)

Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer's toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success. (IDEO)

Changemakers are people who use their skills, expertise, gifts, and power in a way that creates positive social change and affirms the humanity of all people. Here are some of the skills and attributes we aim to cultivate in changemakers. (Tulane)


Other Concepts to Consider

Civic engagement means working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values, and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes. (Report on Civic Responsibility and Higher Education)

Community engagement is the collaboration between Tulane University and the larger communities we serve for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership. (Tulane)

Conscious capitalism is the alignment of all stakeholders' interests in order to create a truly sustainable business model. (TEA)

Corporate social responsibility encompasses not only what companies do with their profits, but also how they make them. It goes beyond philanthropy and compliance and addresses how companies manage their economic, social, and environmental impacts, as well as their relationships in all key spheres of influence: the workplace, the marketplace, the supply chain, the community, and the public policy realm. (Harvard)

Engaged learning is a type of learning in which students experience themselves not as passive recipients of information delivered by experts, but as active participants both in the classroom and in the world. Engaged learning aims to help students realize their potential as intellectual, social, and ethical architects capable of designing their own futures, as well as helping to shape those of their communities, cultures, nations, and the natural environment. (CELT)

Service learning, one form of engaged learning, is an educational experience based upon a collaborative partnership between the university and the community that enables students to apply academic knowledge and critical thinking skills to meet genuine community needs. Through reflection and assessment, students gain deeper understanding of course content and the importance of civic engagement. (CPS)

A social enterprise is an organization or venture that achieves its primary social or environmental mission using business method. The social needs addressed by social enterprises and the business models they use are as diverse as human ingenuity. (SEA)


Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000