Engaged Faculty Fellowship Program

Stephanie J. Creary

"At heart, I am an identity scholar and field researcher who is passionate about social change."

A 2016-17 Engaged Faculty Fellow, Stephanie J. Creary is an assistant professor of management and organizations in the School of Hotel Administration in the SC Johnson College of Business. Her community-engaged course is HADM 4125/6125 Foundations of Social Entrepreneurship. Her interests are centered on meaning, identity, diversity, and change and innovation. Learn more about Creary at stephaniecreary.com.

About the Project

In her course, HADM 4125/6125 Foundations of Social Entrepreneurship, the theory and practice of social entrepreneurship focuses on using management principles to make a positive impact on society. Yet, she believes that it is difficult for students to understand what that means or how to accomplish this without front-line/first-hand experience outside of a traditional classroom. Therefore, in this course and in partnership with the Cornell Public Service Center, students engage with community partners in the field to connect management theories, concepts and ideas about social entrepreneurship to community-engaged experiences. Specifically, over the course of the semester, students spend at least 12 hours engaging with a community partner in the field to not only enhance their learning of course-related material but also enhance the community partner’s ability to enrich the lives of the people it supports. As such, students’ engagement with the community and related experiences is fully integrated into all of the required deliverables for this course.

The design of this course is consistent with Creary’s teaching philosophy, which emphasizes learning by doing and experimenting. She believes that learning should be active, which research shows is an engaging way to learn higher-level thinking skills — much more so than just having a lecturer stand at the front of the class. Thus, whether in class, on campus or out on the field, students enrolled in this course use active, hands-on and collaborative learning methods to propose solutions to real-world dilemmas in real organizations.

In Her Own Words

“At heart, I am an identity scholar and field researcher who is passionate about social change. Prior to completing my PhD, I was a research associate at Harvard Business School and The Conference Board in New York City, a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. I also have extensive experience in the healthcare industry and contributing to other types of organizations committed to social change.

“Much of my research lends insight into the multiple social, professional and organizational identity dynamics that shape the myriad boundaries in organizational life and change people’s work lives for the better. Through this research, I have become increasingly interested in the dynamics of re-purposing in organizations — when individuals transform existing resources, frameworks, tools, artifacts, ideas, concepts and spaces, for example, for alternative use. I am particularly interested in how re-purposing is used to change relationships, organizations and the broader society for the better and the identity dynamics that contribute to related processes. Hence, re-purposing is the concept that underlies much of what the students are learning in my social entrepreneurship course.

“I believe that engaging directly with communities enhances students’ learning experiences, connects theory to practice and is a fantastic way of address communities’ needs.”


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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