Today’s episode brings us our 4th installment of our special series Ashoka U on Teaching Change with our conversation with Rebecca Riccio, Director of the Social Impact Lab at Northeastern University. Rebecca shares her philosophy of change making education from the ways of thinking, ways of being, and ways of doing, to her disdain for placing too much emphasis on specific terms like “social entrepreneurship” or “social innovation” and lastly her chapter in the forthcoming Ashoka U publication.
Rebecca Riccio is the founding Director of the Social Impact Lab (SIL) at Northeastern University, an experiential learning hub that prepares students for lives of citizen-leadership and social change through systems thinking, complex problem solving, and ethical community engagement. Throughout her career, Rebecca has developed and managed cutting edge projects around the world, including the first federally funded teacher training program in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe following the fall of the Berlin Wall; satellite-based email networks connecting health facilities in Africa and Asia before commercial options became viable; and the world’s first massive open online course or MOOC on experiential philanthropy, which engaged thousands of students around the world in awarding grants from the Buffett family’s Learning by Giving Foundation. She continues to break new ground by researching and developing experiential learning methods that challenge students to grapple with the complexity and ethical implications of engaging in social change using techniques such as network and systems visualization, real-dollar grantmaking, and community-based service-learning. Rebecca is a leader in the growing use of experiential philanthropy education to illuminate the study of the nonprofit sector, civil society, and social justice by having students confront the power and privilege of managing scarce resources in the face of vast need. The model she developed at Northeastern, Northeastern Students4Giving, is now being adapted in countries around the world through SIL’s Global Philanthropy Initiative. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on the nonprofit sector, philanthropy, and social change at Northeastern University and has lectured on philanthropy, social justice, and policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.
Social Impact Lab website: https://cssh.northeastern.edu/impactlab/
Social Impact-athon website: https://www.socialimpactathon.com/
Rebecca’s talk at Ashoka: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXxSIGdyPv4
For more information about Rebecca’s philosophy and work in experiential philanthropy, see Riccio, Rebecca. “Checks and Balances: Experiential Philanthropy as a Form of Community Engagement.” Service-learning through Community Engagement. By Lori Gardinier. New York, NY: Springer, LLC, 2017. 39-56. Print.