Classes

Below are a few examples of classes specifically offered through the Ballard Center to help students learn how to Do Good. Better. Many of these classes fulfill requirements for a number of different programs and majors across campus.

Talk to a Ballard Center for Social Impact advisor or click the links below to learn about the following opportunities:

MSB 375: Social Impact: Do Good Better (3.0 credits) Fall/Winter

The Social Impact: Do Good Better course helps students from all majors discover various ways that they can get involved in social innovation (e.g., starting a social venture, working for a nonprofit, volunteering, etc.), develop skills to critically analyze social ventures, and create a personalized plan for how to live a life of purpose. It is the Ballard Center for Social Impact’s foundational course in social impact.

“Freshman year, I needed a couple extra credits and signed up for business management 375, which at the time I thought was a marketing class. I was disappointed to find out that it was the Do Good Better class taught by the Ballard Center. However, Do Good Better turned out to be the most impactful class of my college career. Not only did I talk three of my roommates into getting involved with the Ballard Center, but it also changed my whole approach to education and service.” 

—Will

MSB 381R: Social Impact Lecture Series (1.0 credit) Fall/Winter

Come listen as various social innovators discuss their paths to making the world a better place.

“It’s been a year since I took the Social Impact Lecture Series, and I still think about that class every week, without question. As strange as it sounds, one of the biggest things I took away from the class is that social entrepreneurs are ordinary humans. Some are awkward, some are funny, and some like to go Dumpster diving. In just one semester, the perceived gulf between me and social entrepreneurship shortened into almost nothing. Because of the lecture series, I know that a meaningful career in social innovation is attainable for me.”

—Paul

MSB 492R/Section 1: Social Impact Internship (3.0 credits) Fall/Winter/Spring

Social Impact Projects (SIP) is the Ballard Center’s on-campus internship program that partners students with social impact organizations. In teams of three to five students from multiple majors, students learn how to craft innovative solutions to social issues for their partnered organizations in a semester-long project. To learn more and to apply, click here. Credit towards graduation is possible; see your college’s internship coordinator for more information. 

Ballard Brief

MSB 472R: Ballard Brief (2.0 credits) Fall/Winter/Spring

The Ballard Brief program provides students with individual instruction in researching and writing a Ballard Brief, a multidisciplinary paper on an approved social problem of their choice. Taught by the Ballard Brief staff, this course teaches Changemakers the essential skills they need to deeply research the social issues they are most passionate about. Upon finishing the course, students’ briefs will be published to the Ballard Brief database, a comprehensive social-issue reference library. Students will meet monthly as a class and weekly with their assigned editors as they work to prepare a publishable Ballard Brief.

“I’ve always been passionate about [reducing nationwide youth vaping rates], but I didn’t understand it as well as I could have. I’ve begun to understand so much more through writing for Ballard Brief. I’ve developed a better understanding of what my nonprofit can actually do to solve this problem. Writing this brief has been really eye-opening.”

—Cade

MSB 481: Advanced Social Impact (2.0 credits) Fall/Winter

This course introduces students to a new array of funding models being used to grow sustainable social ventures, including venture philanthropy, outcomes-based funding, Pay for Success (a.k.a. social impact bonds), impact investing, and earned revenue models. Students will explore the links between a social venture’s impact model and its funding model and then learn to use these concepts to develop real-world approaches to sustainable funding.

“Advanced Social Impact has really opened my eyes to funding structures, government involvement, and best practices of nonprofit entities. Professor Shumway brings years of industry experience and frequently gives real examples of concepts from his professional life. It has really helped grow my skills in solving social problems.”

—Luke

MSB 484: Corporate Social Impact (3.0 credits) Fall/Winter

This course provides students with tactical skills to better influence companies to implement socially conscious projects and programs. Students will learn how various companies are funding research to cure diseases, providing food for hungry children, or working to raise families out of poverty as well as how to reduce their future company’s environmental impact, implement responsible ingredient sourcing, and work to ensure all employees receive equal opportunity. Instruction includes case studies, industry speakers, proposal training, and program innovation. This class is taught by Brent Goddard, who has an MBA from Harvard and is a CSI industry leader with more than 15 years of experience in solving social problems by implementing programs in corporate America.

“Being passionate about making a difference isn’t enough. Telling a company they should support a new program because it’s a good thing to do won’t convince anyone. However, this course equips students with the substance needed to understand how to make a difference and how to get companies on board to create that change.”

—Troy

MSB 491R: Alleviating Poverty by Strengthening Families: The Family Capital Approach (3.0 credits) Fall

This course focuses on how a family’s human, social, and financial capital can help the family improve its economic, social, and psychological well-being. The course reviews the importance of family capital in different cultures and countries around the world. The course also discusses how family capital is important for launching new businesses and for society—both socially and economically. The course involves a project where each student would work with a nongovernmental organization (NGO) or another organization that purports to help strengthen family capital. Students will critique the effectiveness of the NGO in its approach to strengthening family capital. Students will also be required to assess the degree to which their own family has access to family capital and develop a plan to strengthen family capital within their own family. The textbook for the course, The Family Edge (Familius, 2019), was written by the course instructor, Gibb Dyer, the O. Leslie and Dorothy Stone Professor of Entrepreneurship and the Academic Director of the Ballard Center for Social Impact.

Dyer received his BS and MBA degrees from BYU and his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before coming to BYU, he was on the faculty at the University of New Hampshire, and he has served as a visiting professor at IESE in Barcelona, Spain, and was a visiting scholar at the University of Bath in England. Dyer is a recognized authority on family business and entrepreneurship and has been quoted in publications such as Fast Company, Fortune, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. His research has been cited more than 16,000 times. He has consulted with many for-profit and nonprofit organizations. In 2008, Dyer was given the outstanding faculty award from the BYU Marriott School of Business.

MSB 492R/Section 20: Corporate Social Impact Internship (3.0 credits) Fall/Winter

Taught by Brent Goddard, the CSI on-campus internship program partners student teams with top companies such as Microsoft, Cisco, BrainStorm, and doTERRA. Students have the opportunity to work directly with CEOs and directors of world-class organizations to solve social issues and gain experience in project management, industrial communication, and team building. Credit towards graduation is possible; see your college’s internship coordinator for more information.

“I have my current job doing corporate social responsibility, which I love, because of the connections I made through this course. The real-life application, including some of the frustrations, were all a fantastic introduction to what the reality is when working in this growing field.”

—International Relations Student

MSB 482: Impact Investing (3.0 credits) Fall/Winter 

Taught by Kurt Brown and Dan Blake, the impact investing class is open for students from all academic backgrounds and majors. This course helps students learn how to invest in social businesses that are creating positive social impact. Students will gain a foundation in understanding venture capital and impact investing, hear social ventures pitch their ideas, and learn how to think critically and analyze a business’s social impact and model.

“Kurt is by far my favorite professor on campus. I have now taken the Impact Investing class four times. When I first started the class, I treated it like a business class. Looking back, I wish I had treated it like a critical thinking, presentation, and life-skills class. I now know how to assess which organizations have a meaningful social impact and which ones do not. . . . I would recommend this class to everyone!  This course provided critical information as I worked with a startup company and then led me to victory as I competed in a national venture capital competition.”

—Carmen

MSB 483: Advanced Impact Investing (3.0 credits) Winter

This advanced impact investing class is open to all students from all academic backgrounds and majors. This course helps you build on the lessons learned in the Introduction to Impact Investing class and teaches the practical skills you need to learn how to invest in businesses that are creating positive social impact. You will gain a better understanding of venture capital and impact investing, work directly with social ventures and investors, learn how to think critically and analyze a business’s social impact and model, and perform due diligence.

“Taking the Advanced Impact Investing course helped me develop my critical-thinking skills to ask the best questions when it comes to understanding if a proposed solution is actually solving the problem. As I connected with entrepreneurs, I felt empowered by their creative approaches to tackling difficult and complex issues. Their energy encouraged me to do my part in making accurate assessments and investment decisions. Evaluating companies from both the business and impact perspectives helped me recognize how I can empower and enable the best solutions in solving today’s problems.”

—Rebecca

MSB 474R / MBA 693R: Creating Virtuous Organizations (3.0 credits) Fall/Winter

This course is taught by Eva Witesman and Jill Piacitelli.

Businesses are starting to take their role in creating social value very seriously. In August 2019, close to 200 CEOs at Business Roundtable released a Statement of Purpose of the Corporation asserting the role of a corporation, to both survive and thrive, is dependent on their adaptation of how to be good. This class joins that conversation through BYU Marriott’s Creating the Virtuous Organization project. This class seeks to answer the following question: “How can we ensure that we are part of creating good in the world through one of the most powerful mechanisms of our time: business?”

Each cohort has played a unique and vital role in shaping and contributing to this project. The class evolves from semester to semester as the project continues to develop. Past cohorts have helped draft a book, drilled down on key definitions, collected data from 70+ companies, consulted three organizations on implementation with tools created by the class, and planned a conference for 30+ companies to join the conversation about social value through business.

Ballard Center Programs:

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