Andrews University Leadership Program Adds a Social Innovation Focus

Sung Kwon recently joined Andrews University as Associate Professor of Leadership and Director of the Master of Arts in Leadership program.

Andrews University has developed a new concentration in Social Innovation for the Master of Arts (MA) in Leadership. The goal of the program is to develop and equip individuals as social innovators and entrepreneurs with a missionary focus, with an emphasis on community impact and transformation through discipleship and service. Sung K. Kwon, Ph.D., D.Min., who recently joined the department as an associate professor of leadership, serves as program director. The first cohort of students will be introduced in the fall semester of 2022.

Kwon explains that the new degree aims to bring people together “through community and discipleship, connecting people to the city through mercy and justice, and connecting people to social innovation through the integration of faith and work”.

The MSc in Social Innovation is a 36-credit online program that will include courses such as Introduction to Social Innovation, Creating Collective Impact, Leading Social Innovation, Ministry of Reconciliation through Social Innovation, and more. Strategies such as peer-to-peer learning, mentoring and coaching, and lifelong learning relationships with colleagues will be used in conjunction with a social change model of leadership development. Participants will be tasked with developing a social innovation project, where they will document the design, implementation and collective impact. Coursework aims to develop leadership abilities as well as critical and analytical skills, teaching students how to build effective solutions to real-world problems.

Kwon notes that the program will foster “an attitude of community organizers and leading servants through social entrepreneurship, social advocacy and social services. It’s about being the church for the community with the community.”

The Leadership Department recently received a seed grant from the Winifred Stevens Foundation totaling $200,000 for 2021 and 2022. Andrews University matched this with an additional $50,000 to develop the new degree and recruit the first cohort. Kwon began reaching out to departments and agencies around the world with the goal of creating a lab where future social innovators can learn how to make a difference in their communities. It states that “the grant is responsible for developing the Masters in Leadership in Social Innovation to equip confident leaders to become difference makers and agents of change.”

Becka Manglanathan, senior director of intentional philanthropy for the Winifred Stevens Foundation, was impressed with the program’s goals. “The Winifred Stevens Foundation Board is excited about Dr. Kwon’s vision to equip passionate young visionaries with the skills and knowledge they will need to create change and healing in the world,” Manglanathan says. “We look forward to learning from future students of this program how they will approach building strong and thriving communities.

Going forward, program officials aim to develop a professional leadership certification in social innovation, create an accelerated five-year program leading to both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and establish a social innovation center for provide services to the community, both locally and globally. Over time, Kwon and his team hope to cultivate what they call “serving others” Christianity, community ministry, sustainable community development, and leadership advancement.

Bordes Henry Saturné, Ph.D., Chair of the Leadership Department, envisions a group of young professionals from diverse backgrounds who are passionate about making a difference in their communities. He says, “Many young adults have a great job, earn a lot of money and are respected in their communities, but they’re not happy with it. They want to do something for the Lord. They yearn to be the hands and feet of Jesus. This program is for them. It is designed to equip them with conceptual tools and practical leadership skills, enabling them to touch lives in meaningful ways.

Kwon says, “We need to reach out to everyone – share, care for and proclaim the good news of God’s redemptive work so that people can see us as a recognizable, tangible and visible sign of the kingdom of God on earth”.

Isabella Koh is an Andrews University writer in communication.

Kevin E. Boling