Walden’s Social Change Skills Framework Intersecting With the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Author Information
Dr. William C. Schulz
Dr. Lynn Wilson
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
Walden University
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

This proposal will illustrate how Walden University is integrating our Social Change Skills Leadership Framework with a more systems-oriented approach to the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework to assure that our curricula help students enhance their skills as social change leaders. We will describe a particular systems view of the UN SDG elements, and then show how our Features for Social Change Skill Development Framework can help curriculum designers and faculty make direct connections between what students are learning and how they can
exercise those skills to improve the world. We will address how we are using the frameworks during formal academic program reviews and new program proposals.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

Walden has begun a process of formally integrating our Social Change Skills Leadership Framework with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework to assure that our curricula help students enhance their skills as social change leaders. We have formally integrated our skills framework with our program assessment and revision processes, and are beginning to socialize the integrated framework with our faculty, our course development subject matter experts and the learning community more generally.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

We are at the beginning of this process, but we have been able to successfully integrate the Social Change Skills Framework within our formal governance and assessment process (which required faculty input and approval), and we are now using the integrated framework (with SDG's) to help inform both new and revised curricula, so that our students can see how their knowledge and skills can be deployed within the United Nations 2030 goals.

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

1) This effort is directed to help students integrate their day-to-day learning and skill development in their programs, within a larger narrative of what they can do with these skills to help affect positive social change in the world. As such, our integrated framework is one that can be used to frame learning assignments during course design, to help students "close the loop" in reflective learning, and to help us with formal assessment of learning and skill development; 2) because we've embedded the skills framework within our formal assessment processes, it is scaled to cover all programs and courses; 3) we are designing a "workbook for curriculum designers", based on the skills framework, to help them further embed and make the integrated framework accessible and usable across the entire university; 4) As the framework is deployed within course design, we hope it will assist faculty in helping students connect their work/new knowledge with real, tangible opportunities to exercise their skills as social change scholar practitioners, increasing faculty's effectiveness and satisfaction with respect to social change skill development; 5) As with faculty satisfaction, it is our goal to increase our student's awareness of the skill-sets and knowledge they are gaining at Walden, so that they can be more confident and successful as social change agents--thus increasing their overall satisfaction.

Equipment necessary to implement Effective Practice: 

No special equipment needed other than an effective LMS and program/course design and assessment system.

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

We've embedded the framework into existing assessment and course design processes, so the incremental cost is minimal--and would be reflected in any "extra" time it might take to explicitly address the skill/SDG elements.

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
William C Schulz III
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Effective Practice Contact 2: 
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