Social Innovation

Social Innovation Extension Certificate





403.440.6861 or 1.888.392.3655

Meeting urgent and complex challenges such as climate change, food security, and urbanization requires new knowledge, skills, and approaches. Social innovation is about finding ways to introduce lasting changes at all levels – individual, organizational, and societal – to increase the resilience of vulnerable people and the planet. Social innovators come from every sector and discipline – what they share is a curiosity and a passion for tackling complex social, environmental, and/or cultural challenges.

Mount Royal University's Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension, in association with MacEwan University's School of Continuing Education, is pleased to offer the Social Innovation certificate program. This program aims to provide social innovators from across Alberta with a unique learning opportunity.

Through blended (in-person and online) delivery, learners will deepen their understanding of complex systems, develop their personal capacities as social innovators, build relationships with other social innovators, and apply their learning to their own initiative or context. Upon completion, your certificate will be awarded by Mount Royal University.

Watch the online information session.




  • Learn to differentiate between key social innovation definitions and concepts
  • Define social innovation more broadly and understand its connection to systems change
  • Recognize current issues in social innovation, locally and globally
  • Acquire the capacities required to affect meaningful change, and apply these to their own experience
  • Describe the case for integrating impact assessment into social change initiatives
  • Demonstrate the ability to identify and apply a relevant impact framework to a social change initiative
  • Connect to resources and tools that will help students to further their social change efforts

Program details

Format: Blended (classroom and online)

Duration: Complete the 4 required courses (60 hours). Can be completed within 2 semesters up to a maximum of 3 years.


Program notes

Although the courses are designed to be taken in the order listed, please note, the courses can be taken in any order.

If you wish to take the in-class portion in Edmonton, register for the MacEwan University section.



Courses and Fees

Social Innovation and Changemaking
Are you involved in creating positive social, economic or environmental change? Need more knowledge, tools, and connections to others also committed to creating meaningful impact? Changemaking crosses the boundaries of sectors and disciplines - whether you come from the public, private or community sector, this course is for you. Gain a foundation in social innovation and changemaking, and an introductory toolkit for mindful action that will be explored further throughout the remaining courses in the program. Learn about the history of social innovation and emerging definitions; actively explore local and global issues and tensions that have fuelled the demand for a new approach and learn about the principles, mind-sets, tools and practices required to effect meaningful social and/or environmental change.

Subject code: XNPC 20200  15 Hours. Fee: $389  Offered Winter 2019

Mobilizing for Systems Change
How do we challenge and change the systems that perpetuate social problems? Learn to apply systems thinking as a means to address complex and entrenched social and environmental challenges. You will be introduced to the basics of systems thinking, including principles such as resilience and self-organization. Explore systems leadership and what it means to facilitate change. Dive into some of the frameworks, approaches and tools that support systems change, such as the adaptive cycle, facilitation, and collective impact.

 Subject code: XNPC 20201 15 Hours. Fee: $389 Offered Winter 2019

Evaluating Social Innovation (Previously: Measuring Social Impact)
Evaluation and measurement are critical to developing social innovations that tackle tough social, economic and environmental challenges. You will be introduced to the basics of evaluation, including evaluation purposes (e.g., developmental, formative and summative). You will also explore issues related to developing evaluation designs, identifying and developing indicators and measures, and the importance “failing forward” and “intelligent failure.”

Subject code: XNPC 20202  15 hours. Fee: $389 Offered Winter 2019

The Promise of Social Innovation Labs (Previously: Social Innovation Lab)
How can you move your change initiative from round table talks to action? Learn promising practices that are emerging in the social innovation ecosystem to draw on the strength and creativity of the right collective to help steward solutions through the use of social innovation labs. You will experience how to apply a selection of social innovation lab tools to navigate and make progress on a complex social challenge.

Subject code: XNPC 20203  15 hours. Fee: $389
Offered Spring 2019

Social Innovation Instructor Bio - Jill Andres

Jill Anders is a Calgary-based coach and facilitator with a focus on social innovation and changemaking. Jill is the Director of Mount Royal University’s Trico Changemakers Studio – a growing, dynamic community of students, social entrepreneurs, activists, artists and leaders from across sectors who are making a difference for people and the planet. Jill facilitated Mount Royal University’s successful effort to achieve the Ashoka U Changemaker Campus designation – the leading designation for social innovation in higher education. She also brokered a partnership between Mount Royal University and Edmonton-based MacEwan University’s respective faculties of continuing education, and engaged leading Alberta-based social innovators to design and instruct the four courses that now comprise the Social Innovation Extension Certificate.

For over a decade, Jill and her team at Creating Value Inc, the social purpose consultancy that Jill founded, supported social innovators and changemakers in Western Canada to amplify social and environmental impact through systems change, organizational strategy, and social enterprise.

Jill continues to support individuals and groups to grow and succeed in their changemaking efforts through her coaching and facilitation practice, and through speaking and workshop engagements in Canada and beyond. Jill is active in several social innovation networks, including Ashoka U Changemaker Campuses, RECODE (a program of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation), the Social Innovation Network of Canada, Alberta Social Innovation Connect, and the Social Innovation Network of Calgary. Jill is also Board Chair of REAP Calgary, an association of local businesses at the forefront of the new economy that are demonstrating that companies can be profitable and contribute to healthy and prosperous communities.

An avid yogi and outdoor enthusiast, Jill delights in time spent on her yoga mat, paddling, running, skiing or snowshoeing with family and friends.



CI Instructor Bio - S. Bateman

Sara Bateman is a graduate from the Social Innovation Graduate Diploma program from the University of Waterloo. This training provides her with a systems-thinking approach to community development and complex social issues. By deeply understanding the systems, it helps to avoid unintended consequences of well-meaning investments and to amplify the desired impacts and outcomes.


For more than 12 years, she worked in corporate community investment with companies like RBC and Suncor. During her time at the Suncor Energy Foundation, she and the team supported many social innovation initiatives including the Energy Futures Lab, Engineering Change Lab and the Banff Centre Getting to Maybe program. Currently, Sara works as a social innovation consultant. She supports organizations working on positive social change by supporting their strategy development and creating evaluation frameworks that help move their work forward.



Social Innovation Bio - James

James Stauch is the Director of the Institute for Community Prosperity at Mount Royal University (MRU), which connects learners to knowledge, research, tools, and networks to help them make transformative change in their communities. The Institute has led the creation of undergraduate credit-based programming in social innovation, certificate programs for practitioners in Social Innovation, and corporate Community Investment. It recently opened a 5,000 square foot on-campus community co-working and social R&D space - the Trico Changemakers Studio. The Institute served as the backbone for MRU's campus-wide changemaking strategy and Changemaker Council. 

James has developed and taught social innovation credit and non-credit courses, a community-service liberal-arts hybrid course, Rethinking the Public Sphere, and a low-income accessible informal certificate program - Economics of Social Change. James has served as a foundation executive and consultant with nearly two decades of experience working in the field of philanthropy, including as senior executive for the Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation in Toronto, where he co-developed the Jane Glassco Northern Fellows program, for emerging social change leaders in the Arctic and far north. He has also chaired or help found a number of membership-based philanthropic foundation networks and collaboratives, including the Arctic Funders CollaborativeInternational Funders for Indigenous PeoplesCircle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, and the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers Network.

James holds a master's degree in Environmental Design from the University of Calgary, and a certificate in Strategic Leadership from the Center for Creative Leadership (Colorado Springs). 





As Cathy Glover retired from a 16+ year career as leader of the Suncor Energy Foundation, she was recognized and gifted with the name Aahpii Pitahgii - White Eagle Woman.  As Elder Casey Eaglespeaker described, he choose this name because of her ability to have a system wide view, to see unique interconnections and to bring people together to create space for collaboration and change.  As a strong proponent of social innovation Cathy and her team created a corporate community investment program that brought together unlikely partners to address complex social issues and transformative change at regional and national levels, while at the same time supporting employee initiatives and local priorities.  While the team developed expertise in working with external partners in the social innovation space, they also found that they gained an ability to work differently within their internal organization, and one of Cathy’s accomplishments was co-leading the team that designed Suncor’s social goal that focuses on reconciliation.  Cathy has worked on both sides of the philanthropy equation, with an almost equal amount of time working in charitable and non-profit organizations in Calgary ranging from Alberta Children’s Hospital and Children’s Cottage to the XV Olympic Winter Games and Junior Achievement.  She has an MBA and BSc in Psychology, both from the University of Calgary.



"I found the Social Innovation course to be fascinating and applicable to anyone who is interested in systems-level thinking and changemaking. Personally, I use a lot of course material in a job that I created based on its teachings. It has influenced how I approach developing programs and services. From running "social labs" to designing collective impact documents to creating a methodology for developmental evaluation - this course has manifested in a myriad of innovative tools that are practical and iterative. I feel like I have a new paradigm for making real change in complex systems. Highly recommend."

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