The Midwest Jesuit Collaborative on Social Innovation (J-COSI)

By Rev. Phillip Cooke, S.J., Dr. Tina Facca-Miess, Kelsey Otero, Rev. Nicholas Santos, S.J.*

L to R: John Sealey, Wisconsin & Chicago-Detroit Provinces; Rob Boyle, Ph.D., Saint Louis University; Philip Hong, Ph.D., Loyola University Chicago; Rev. Nicholas Santos, S.J., Marquette University; Tina Facca-Miess, Ph.D., John Carroll University; Rev. Phillip Cooke, S.J., University of Detroit Mercy; Allison Cutuli, University of Detroit Mercy; Tom Merrill, Ph.D., Xavier University; Kelsey Otero, Marquette University; Rev. Chris Collins, S.J., Saint Louis University; Holly Neel, Marquette University

L to R: John Sealey, Wisconsin & Chicago-Detroit Provinces; Rob Boyle, Ph.D., Saint Louis University; Philip Hong, Ph.D., Loyola University Chicago; Rev. Nicholas Santos, S.J., Marquette University; Tina Facca-Miess, Ph.D., John Carroll University; Rev. Phillip Cooke, S.J., University of Detroit Mercy; Allison Cutuli, University of Detroit Mercy; Tom Merrill, Ph.D., Xavier University; Kelsey Otero, Marquette University; Rev. Chris Collins, S.J., Saint Louis University; Holly Neel, Marquette University

In June 2016, representatives of seven Jesuit institutions in the Midwest gathered at Marquette University to discuss a general framework for cooperation that is intended to improve their respective local communities through social innovation and entrepreneurship. Such cooperation could include:

  • Sharing curriculum, methodology, implementation guidelines and other resources for partner universities to use in their respective cities
  • Tracking progress of programs and aggregating their impact
  • Collaborating on projects, funding opportunities, research, etc.
  • Facilitating replication and/or scaling of good social ventures, models and programs to other cities
  • Building capacity in the local community for the work being done by social entrepreneurs, implementing projects that attack social issues in the community, or initiating innovative research work

Together, the institutions (John Carroll University, Loyola University Chicago, Saint Louis University, Xavier University, Creighton University, University of Detroit Mercy and Marquette University) are part of the Midwest Jesuit Collaborative on Social Innovation (J-COSI). The idea for J-COSI grew out of a partnership between the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) and Marquette with the Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI) at Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and a desire to accelerate the adoption of social innovation and entrepreneurship best practices at Midwestern Jesuit universities.

As of December 2016, the Miller Center (through GSBI programs) has worked with over 570 social entrepreneurs who have collectively impacted the lives of over 160 million people globally. Both UDM and Marquette in partnership with the Miller Center have conducted the GSBI-Boost program for early stage social entrepreneurs in Detroit and Milwaukee respectively. A possibility that emerged from the June 2016 meeting was to create a regional version of the GSBI and to leverage the training, methodology and resources that are being successfully used by Jesuit universities and other organizations across the world. The universities in J-COSI are primarily in the Rust Belt region and face similar challenges in their respective cities, making sharing resources and collaborating essential for greater localized impact.
 
Some of the members of J-COSI also work closely with the Colleagues in Jesuit Business Education (CJBE). Since its founding in 1998, the organization's mission has been to enhance the distinctiveness of Jesuit schools of business and related programs through an ongoing exchange of ideas regarding curriculum, teaching, research and service in the Ignatian, Catholic and Humanistic traditions. One such way of achieving this mission is through the Journal of Jesuit Business Education, which is published annually.

Through a partnership with the International Association of Jesuit Business Schools (IAJBS), CJBE also helps business school deans orient new faculty to the mission of Jesuit business education by:

  1. Providing material that can be used at new faculty orientation programs or distributed to new faculty.
  2. Conducting a pre-conference workshop on the Ignatian pedagogical paradigm and hallmarks of Jesuit education for new faculty members.
  3. Providing mentoring for new faculty who wish to incorporate the Ignatian methodology into their teaching.
  4. Providing opportunities for new faculty to collaborate with senior faculty on mission-related publications.

In addition to providing outstanding education in business and economics, Jesuit business schools have a distinct mission to help students develop in ethics, service, social justice and responsibility and, where appropriate, spirituality and Ignatian principles. CJBE and IAJBS build upon efforts made by college and university mission officers to promote the Jesuit mission in two important ways:

  1. CJBE and IAJBS develop mission content specifically for Jesuit business school faculty and students. This content, elucidated on their websites and in their journals (the Journal of Jesuit Business Education and the Journal of Management for Global Sustainability), includes specific topics of business ethics; globalization; sustainability; business-specific service opportunities (nationally and internationally); spirituality and leadership; Catholic Social Teaching in micro and macro-economics; and other business-specific mission areas.
  2. CJBE and IAJBS develop and share best practices in teaching the above Jesuit mission areas to undergraduate and graduate students. This preparation is provided not only in our journals and websites, but also during our annual conferences.

The field of social innovation and entrepreneurship is one that has emerged with concern for the well-being of the marginalized and as such is appropriately aligned with the Jesuit mission of a preferential option for the poor and marginalized. As interest in this field grows, CJBE offers a platform for faculty to engage in joint research and sharing of best pedagogical practices.

This summer, Creighton University will host the 20th annual CJBE conference from July 6-9, 2017. Just ten days later, the University of Namur, Belgium, will host the 23rd annual World Forum of IAJBS. To learn more about these conferences and CJBE, please visit cjbe.org.

*Author details and affiliations: Rev. Phillip Cooke, S.J., Director, Center for Social Entrepreneurship, University of Detroit Mercy; Dr. Tina Facca-Miess, Associate Professor of Marketing and Director, MA Nonprofit Administration Program, John Carroll University; Kelsey Otero, Associate Director, Social Innovation Initiative, Marquette University; Rev. Nicholas Santos, S.J., Co-Director, Social Innovation Initiative, Marquette University.