Engaged Faculty Fellowship Program

Anke Wessels

Anke WesselsA 2013 Engaged Faculty Fellow, Anke Wessels is the executive director of the Center for Transformative Action and visiting lecturer in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Read her faculty profile for more information.

The Story

With our support, Anke created rigorous assessment tools and strategies for two educational programs in social entrepreneurship, the Finger Lakes Social Entrepreneurship Institute and AEM 338, Social Entrepreneurs, Innovators, and Problem Solvers. In AEM 338, assessment relied on standard student evaluations, a final reflection piece, and unstructured feedback from alumni. Anke used the fellowship opportunity to develop richer strategies for assessing the impact of a variety of pedagogical tools used in the course. She also developed move effective methods for evaluating student learning from experiential activities, in and outside the classroom.  Furthermore, she worked on developing an evaluation instrument so that participants in the community-based Finger Lakes Social Entrepreneurship Institute could better articulate what they learned, the relationships they forged, and how these might inform their work as social entrepreneurs and changemakers after the Institute.

Social Entrepreneurs, Innovators and Problem Solvers

“This course introduces you to social entrepreneurs, innovators, and visionaries—people who are coming up with new methods to resolve pressing social problems. We contrast traditional methods of activism with a new approach that combines the pragmatic approach of social entrepreneurship with the compassionate, collaborative engagement of Transformative Action. This cutting-edge movement tends to be less ideological, less adversarial, more locally specific and more solutions-oriented than previous collective actions for change.  You will learn about social entrepreneurs and innovators through readings, case studies and guest lectures. In addition, you will develop a set of skills, tools and practices intended to support you in being an agent for change, no matter where you go from here.  This learning process will involve self-reflection, critical analysis, research, and action.”

Finger Lakes Social Entrepreneurship Institute

“The Finger Lakes Social Entrepreneurship Institute provides two and a half days of plenary sessions, workshops, and discussion for people with innovative ideas to transform society’s most pressing social problems. The purposes of the Institute are to exchange ideas, provide tools, and help grow the social support system that allows each participant to contribute to the transformation of our economy so that it is socially just, ecologically sound, resilient, and has equity as the driver for growth.”

The Strategy

  • Drew on the service-learning literature to develop more robust assessment and evaluation tools for Finger Lakes Social Entrepreneurship Institute and AEM 338, Social Entrepreneurs, Innovators, and Problem Solvers.
  • Prioritized and enhanced the most effective pedagogical approaches (including engaged learning) to better serve the participants in both these educational programs.
  • Shared data with colleagues who are developing similar programs.

In the News

Social Entrepreneur Institute: workshops combining business and ethics at Cornell and GIAC (November 6, 2013, Ithaca.com)

Learn More

Student Social Entrepreneurship at Cornell


Engaged Faculty Fellowship Program

A yearlong cohort program in which faculty dive deep into the theory and practice of engaged learning; meet monthly to discuss readings, share projects and workshop challenges; and help transform what it means to teach at Cornell

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