Seven reasons for a social and community leadership programme

By Dr John Fenaughty










After our first year into our newest programme at the school, this feels like a great opportunity as Programme Co-Leader to reflect on seven reasons for the programme and to share some thoughts from the first cohort of students.

There are many reasons for the launch of this programme, including:

1. There is a growing desire for social change. People are hungry to produce a world that is more equitable and socially just. However, there is an increasing recognition that this is not a simple task – we live in a world beset by “wicked problems”: stubborn and ongoing issues that require alternative solutions for their resolution.

2. Social innovation is now seen as a critical tool to deliver a more socially just world. Social innovation focusses on developing new interventions to solve these problems. Social innovation recognises that it is by co-designing with others, especially those who are directly affected by the issue, that we can better create and develop new ways to produce change. This programme includes a core course that develops critical social innovation competencies and experience.

3. Leadership is a critical component of successful social change. Without leadership, the most effective solutions or innovations may be rendered useless, and worse, waste precious resources. Leadership is both simple, and complex, but critically it can be taught and developed. This programme includes a core course that develops effective leadership, with a strong focus on leadership in the social-good, social-profit, NGO and community sectors.

4. The ability to produce effective innovation is improved when innovators have advanced subject matter expertise in their domain of interest. This programme has been developed to enable students to select subjects from across the University to support their particular social and community leadership focus.

5. The ability to produce change, develop policy, and attract and retain funding, is improved when people and organisations can rigorously evaluate what they have done. This programme develops evaluation knowledge and expertise and applies this to social innovation and co-design.

6. Social change is based on systematic research, methodology, and planning. We need more leaders and social change advocates who can use research to develop, demonstrate and share the changes we need in the world.

7. We want to contribute to the critical community of activists, scholars, and leaders who are seeking to produce change, and this programme provides opportunities for people with diverse experiences to come together, learn, and support a vibrant change community. The first students are already forming strong partnerships with each other and we intend to foster further collaborations across years and with other faculties.

The videos below share students’ perspectives on the first year of the programme:

Watch Helen’s videoWatch Angelica’s videoWatch Sarah’s video

Find out more about the programme Master of Social and Community Leadership here.

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