Skip to content

Our course and programs are designed to provide visceral experiences that promote “Ways of Thinking” about complexity, “Ways of Being” in relation to others and oneself, and “Ways of Doing” that harness the entirety of the social change toolkit.

Some of the competencies, skills, and attributes we deem critical within this framework are:

  • Active Listening
  • Civic Mindedness
  • Collaboration/Teamwork
  • Comfort with Ambiguity
  • Communication
  • Complex Problem-Solving
  • Confidence
  • Cultural Agility
  • Decision Making
  • Design Thinking
  • Empathy
  • Ethical Reasoning
  • Humility
  • Inclusivity/Inclusive Action

  • Introspection/Reflection
  • Negotiation
  • Organization
  • Patience
  • Perspective Taking
  • Planning
  • Respect
  • Self-efficacy
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Systems Thinking
  • Time Management

To learn more about how Northeastern University provides students with opportunities to pursue these and other critical characteristics of lifelong learners and leaders, please visit our Student Assessed Integrated Learning (SAIL) program.

Experiential Philanthropy Education

Experiential philanthropy (EP) education, in which students make real-dollar grants to local nonprofit organization, is one of our hallmark teaching methodologies. Click here to learn more about EP and our flagship program, Northeastern Students4Giving.

Active Learning in the Classroom

In the Social Impact Lab, active learning happens in many ways that complement experiential philanthropy. Our students:

  • Self-direct their learning by identifying the competencies, attributes, and skills they want to focus on and the issues they want to examine deeply.
  • Visualize and contextualize their emerging understanding of the problems they are studying in local communities by creating systems and stakeholder maps.
  • Work in groups to solve problems and advance a shared learning agenda.
  • Reflect deeply on their own role as social change practitioners and their relationship with the communities they enter.
  • Participate in classroom “micro-experiences” and case studies that challenge their assumptions about the work of social change.

Visualizing Complexity

These maps were produced by students working in groups using Kumu to capture their emerging understanding of the complexity of topics they chose to study: