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Yale SOM offers a wide array of elective courses that explore issues related to social enterprise, ranging from non-profit management to public policy, from environmental stewardship to business ethics.  A list of all syllabi can be found at

Aligning Profit and Purpose

Blair Miller

Taught by a current practitioner, this course explores the role business plays in addressing social issues.  The syllabus uses case studies, seminar style debate, and individual reflection to dig into the evolving models of corporate shared value, social entrepreneurship, impact investing, and social bonds.  At the completion of this course, students will have asked themselves tough questions about their own careers, discussed the complexity and opportunity of the industry, learned the current tools and methodologies, and had the opportunity to meet with key leaders in the field. 

Economic Development Lab: Special Topics

Kate Cooney

This lab course features a different theme each spring and provides opportunities for students taking UPED in the Fall (or those coming in without it) to focus in a deeper way on one of the components of IED. Past years' themes have included: Charting the Opportunity in Opportunity Zones (Spring 2019) and Rethinking Community Engagement and the Role of Narratives in IED (Spring 2020). See for more details on prior IEDL deliverables.

For Spring 2021, the Lab will focus on Minority-owned Business Development and Support. The course would invite guest speakers nationally to help us think through the current state of knowledge and examine cutting-edge models to support, capitalize, network, grow and integrate minority owned businesses into a regional and global economy as a strategy for inclusive economic development.

As in previous years, the Lab will provide opportunities for students to engage with key actors in the focal neighborhoods in New Haven, and a class project that will provide a set of analyses that city actors can use to navigate this new opportunity. The class will also put together a podcast that gathers key insights from the work we do over the semester. Course Objectives: This course aims to a) give students an in depth understanding of a key practice and policy area of Inclusive Economic Development, b) provide an opportunity to work closely with leaders in this space nationally and to translate national models to a particular local environment, c) build skills in co-producing a deliverable that meets the needs of a diverse set of city stakeholders to guide inclusive economic development investment.

Course Partners: Conversations are in place to coordinate our efforts with the work underway to support minority owned businesses in New Haven at the Yale Law School’s Community Economic Development Clinic as well as local stakeholders in nonprofit community and city government, and through the Yale Urban Studies initiative.

Education Policy

Seth Zimmerman

This course is designed to describe the major policies defining today’s education system in the US. The course focuses on governance, accountability, choice, finance, and personnel policies for K-12 education, and especially on federal, state, and local policies. 

Ethical Choices in Public Leadership

Eric Braverman

All public leaders must make choices that challenge their code of ethics. Sometimes, a chance of life or death is literally at stake: how and when should a leader decide to let some people die, or explicitly ask people to die to give others a chance to live? At other times, while life or death may not be at stake, a leader must still decide difficult issues: when to partner with unsavory characters, when to admit failure, when to release information or make choices transparent. The pandemic today makes clearer than ever the consequences of decisions in one community that can affect the entire world. This interdisciplinary seminar draws on perspectives from law, management, and public policy in exploring how leaders develop their principles, respond when their principles fail or conflict, and make real-world choices when, in fact, there are no good choices. 

Financing Green Technologies

Richard Kauffman

Is Green the new Gold? At least in renewable energy, the last 35 years have seen booms followed by spectacular busts. While the recent collapse of several renewable energy companies--including the much publicized Solyndra--may suggest that this cycle is not much different than the last, many entrepreneurs are still forming green companies. In addition, the ranks of climate change skeptics grows ever thinner in spite of the increase in political partisanship around climate change and renewable energy. This course will explore how investing in renewable energy is different than in investing in more prosaic sectors. These differences include capital intensity, commodity markets, mature industry structure, local and federal regulation, and market imperfections. The course will also review the differences in policy support given to renewable energy in other countries. While the emphasis is on renewable energy, many of the same issues obtain in considering other green technologies—from water to new packaging.

Global Social Entrepreneurship

Tony Sheldon

The Global Social Entrepreneurship (GSE) courses offer students the opportunity to work on consulting projects with organizations in various parts of the world. Both courses partner with mission-driven social entrepreneurs serving “base of the pyramid” communities to address a specific management challenge. GSE India works with Indian social enterprises on an array of projects focused on expanding their reach and impact. Spring GSE alternates between Brazil and Kenya each year.

To learn more about GSE India and Spring  GSE, visit the corresponding highlighted tabs under Courses.

Impact Measurement & Financial Reporting in the Social Sector

Raphael Duguay

This course will provide students with technical skills to evaluate performance in the social sector, namely by measuring impact and analyzing financial reports. Students will be introduced to tools and methods to measure social impact, with an emphasis on causality and cost-benefit tradeoffs. Sequentially, students will acquire the technical knowledge to interpret the financial statements of nonprofit organizations (topics include expense classification, contributions, donors-imposed restrictions, endowments, etc.). I draw on real examples and use cases to apply the concepts. The course will benefit students interested in leadership or directorship at nonprofit, social, and religious organizations, as well as students who intend to take up positions in corporate social responsibility, impact investing, grantmaking, or ministry.

Inequality and Social Mobility

Seth Zimmerman

This course explores current trends in inequality and social and intergenerational mobility in the US and abroad, their possible causes, and the impact of public policies in shaping these trends. Drawing primarily on empirical evidence from the economics literature, we will examine the role of education, segregation, and race in shaping economic opportunities within and across generations. 

Managing Social Enterprises

Kate Cooney

This course provides the opportunity to examine through a set of case studies, key issues related to managing social enterprise organizations. Following initial content reviewing perspectives on the trend of social enterprise, topics covered include: choosing the right organizational legal firm, managing competing or conflicting goals, tools for double and triple bottom like decision making, calculating a social return on investment (SROI), the challenge of integrating interdisciplinary human resources, raising capital at different stages of the organizational lifecycle, scaling a social innovation/product, and exits.  

Market Failures and Economic Policy in Developing Countries

Kevin Donovan

Markets sometimes fail to deliver efficient outcomes. Such “market failures” shape economic decisions at every level -- how individuals adopt new goods, how governments decide which industries to protect, and how markets direct resources to productive firms. This course focuses on market failures and their implications for policy at the firm, government, or NGO in the developing world, where market failures are most severe. We will use quantitative tools and economic analysis to understand the causes and consequences of market failures, along with how to study and design a policy to respond to them.

Metrics, Tools and Indicators in Corporate Responsibility

Todd Cort

This is an applied course on the metrics, indicators and tools used by businesses to implement strategically relevant Corporate Social and Environmentally Responsibility (CR) or Sustainability programs. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the knowledge and tools used by practitioners in CR. Although this course explores details of the CR strategy implementation, it is designed to link CR to the overall business drivers and is therefore relevant for any potential corporate manager or consultant. 

Public Health Entrepreneurship

Teresa Chahine

This is a case based course about innovation and entrepreneurship for health equity and drivers of health. Health equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This requires removing obstacles to health such as poverty, racism, gender and other biases and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, healthy foods, safe environments, and health care. We refer to these as drivers of health. COVID-19 has brought to light for many the complexities in drivers of health, and the role of entrepreneurship and cross-sectoral collaboration in eliminating health disparities.  

Private Capital and Impact Investing

Susan Carter

This course, which is taught from the perspective of an institutional investor, provides an introduction to Private Capital and Impact Investment markets including 1) the development of the venture capital industry 2) an overview of the private equity industry 3) an exploration of how venture capital and private equity  investment firms are embracing ESG factors, and 4) the development of impact investment and how the private capital model is used for positive environmental and social impact.

Social Entrepreneurship Lab

Teresa Chahine

Social  Entrepreneurship Lab is a practice-based course in which students from across campus form interdisciplinary teams to work on a social challenge of their choice. Teams include students from SOM, SPH, FES, YDS, Jackson Institute, and other schools and programs. Students start by identifying a topic area of focus, then form teams based on shared interests and complementary skills. Over the course of thirteen weeks, student teams delve into understanding the challenge through root cause analysis, research on existing solutions and populations affected; then apply human centered design thinking and systems thinking to design, prototype, test, and iterate solutions.

Using tools such as the theory of change, logframe, business canvas, and social marketing strategy; teams build and test their impact models, operational models, and revenue models. Readings and assignments from the textbook “Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship” are used to guide this journey. These include technical templates, case studies, and interviews with social entrepreneurs and thought leaders in different sectors and geographies around the world.

Strategic Management of Nonprofit Organizations

Judy Chevalier

This course examines issues faced by nonprofit organizations, including mission definition, competing internal and external demands, resource scarcity and uncertainty, governance systems, and managing strategic change. 

Urban Poverty and Economic Development

Kate Cooney

This semester long course provides an examination of current theory, research and policy on urban poverty and community development in the U.S., as a background for developing community wealth building economic development interventions in city and community settings. The course topics includes: (1) measurements and theoretical explanations of poverty, incorporating both panel data and ethnography; (2) analytic tools for assessing community and regional economic flows; and (3) strategies for economic development and wealth building among the low income urban populations and communities. We examine innovative approaches in the traditional areas of economic development practice areas of business creation and development, workforce development and skills training, housing, education, and individual income support and wealth building. Strategies to explore include: place based anchor strategies, cluster development with inclusive economic aims in mind, sector strategies for workforce development training, worker ownership, affordable housing and community land trusts, and asset building strategies.