Syllabus for SOE-570



Social Entrepreneurship focuses on the emerging field of social entrepreneurship, an application of for-profit entrepreneurship skills to ventures that focus on nonprofit mission and social value. It offers practical information for individuals in the field as well as innovative methods of conceptualizing the search for new and better ways to support and invest in social value. This course presents a framework for understanding this sector of the economy, proven business skill-sets adapted for the nonprofit environment, application tools for the field, and advice for avoiding common pitfalls. It also spotlights specific implementation activities designed to monitor performance and provide various constituencies—including donor-investors—with measurable results, accountability indicators, and overall return on investment.


Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the University's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbooks

ISBN-13: 978-0471397359

ISBN-13: 978-0195334760

Note: Though these are only assigned textbooks, it is recommended that students may wish to develop a library of social entrepreneurship, thus it is encouraged that they would purchase books that have the articles within them. These articles are mentioned within each module.

Module Commentary

Each module in this course includes commentary material. This material serves to supplement, clarify, summarize, or illustrate text material. Read these commentaries in addition to the text material and before you work on the assignments in the module.


Social Entrepreneurship is a three-credit graduate course, consisting of five modules.  Modules include topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete reflection exercises, written assignments, module topical section paper and write a final paper. See below for more details.

Consult the Course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

This course requires you to participate in five graded discussion forums. Discussion forums are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules. There are also one ungraded but required introduction forum in Module 1.

You should follow the Guidelines for Discussion Forums below.

  1. Main Postings: They should be well thought out with some indication of integration of the readings, your theoretical and analytic skills, your critical reflection on the reading both positive and if necessary negative. Ideal postings are good strong two or three paragraphs of three or four sentences each. One sentence main postings are not acceptable.
  2. Responses: It is expected that your responses demonstrate some level of engagement with the original posting in the sense that you ask a question, critique (positive or negative) the posting, add your own insight. An ideal posting will extend and expand the discussion. The responses should never be longer than the original posting. Stating "that was a good posting" and nothing more is not sufficient for academic credit.
  3. Collegiality and Cordial: It is expected that we all recognize each other's strengths and weaknesses and in light of this refrain from negative criticism to hurt the other. Good questioning is helpful, criticizing because you simply have a different opinion is not sufficient.
  4. Readings: The postings should note readings and reference that you understand and have engaged the book(s). You are also open to bring in other academic sources (no opinion websites, here) into the discussion if they are pertinent.
  5. No ranting: Students will refrain from simply touting their own opinions on things without thinking things through. Opinions are fine, but expect to be challenged. If postings resort to simple rhetoric, it will be challenged.
  6. Timing: It is expected that you engage the main posting in the early part of the week, and respond to a minimum of two others by the end of the week. The actual timing is in the Module Calendar.
  7. Professor Interaction: The professor is postured on the web like a "dolphin". They will swim below the surface, allowing the discussion in the cohort to have its own life and organic interaction, and then will surface from time to time to question, prod, and challenge. The professor will often take an "antithesis" position even if they do not personally hold that opinion, challenging you with other ways of looking at things. At other times, they may add additional academic information.  You are expected to browse the site consistently, respond from the prodding of the professor, other postings, and learn from each other.

Written Assignments

Modules 1 through 5 contain three types of assignments:

Final Paper

The final paper is a culmination of all the work for the five modules in the course. It is essentially a business plan for a social enterprise created by the student as a non-profit start-up or as an enterprise within a current non-profit organization. The student prepares a module topical section for each module of the course that encompasses that element of the business plan. For the final paper all the modules are integrated and weaved together into a cohesive whole.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:


















Below 73

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., assignments, discussion postings, projects, etc.). Graduate students must maintain a B average overall to remain in good academic standing.


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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