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ETSU Honors College introduces minor in ‘changemaking’

 JOHNSON CITY — Beginning this fall, a new Changemaker minor will be offered through the Honors College at East Tennessee State University. The Changemaker Scholars minor is an update and revision to the current Presidential Honors Community Service Scholars program for which it replaces. The first cohort of 25 Changemaker Scholars was selected in spring 2021.

The purpose of the new minor is to engage students to think about and work on problems at a more systemic level and to develop innovative, sustainable, scalable and measurable solutions.

Dr. Chris Keller, dean of ETSU Honors College, identified the term “changemaking” as an up-and-coming term both nationally and internationally, noting there are more than 40 changemaker programs worldwide, with approximately half of those in the U.S. The reason for creating a minor rather than a new program within the Honors College, said Keller, was not only to lend it more coherence and structure, but also to include it in the student program of study which will allow students to utilize financial aid opportunities.

“The changemaker minor equips students with the mindset, knowledge, and skills to effect positive social change in their communities,” added Keller. “Grounded in theories and methodologies of social innovation and social entrepreneurship, the minor affords students opportunities to study, develop and implement regional social change projects in collaboration with partners in education, government, industry and nonprofit sectors. The minor connects closely with ETSU’s strategic efforts to ‘improve the lives of the people in our region.’”

The 18-credit program will provide opportunities for students with a variety of interests and majors to gain a deeper understanding of social problems, collaborate with campus and community partners to find creative solutions to these problems, and integrate a changemaker mindset into their academic, personal, and professional lives. Courses include topics local to Johnson City, the region and abroad, as well as coursework in social innovation, service learning and grant writing.

For more information, contact Dr. Keller at kellercj@etsu.edu, call 423-439-6076, or visit etsu.edu/honors/.