A quick guide to Changemaker at Northampton

Changemaking at the University of Northampton has developed gradually and organically. By 2017, it has the following key features in place, all contributing to developing the skills and experiences of all our students in knowing how to influence and negotiate for positive social & environmental change

Changemaker Guide map
Changemaker Schools

The Changemaker journey for our students can start in the primary and secondary schools that we work with. They sign up for the Changemaker Student Award and work together in groups to implement a social action project. Schools are awarded Ruby, Sapphire and Diamond awards depending on their progress.

Click on the + signs below for quick summaries

This is the starting point for all students as they come to the University. The Lifehack is a diagnostic website that asks the new student questions about their social, environmental and economic behaviours and interests. It then signposts the student to activities, services and groups on campus that they can access. It also provides them with a personal development plan tailored to their experience and interests.

Foundation Framework

The Foundation Framework is a part of the whole University system, in which students who didn’t quite get the grades for their chosen course, they can split their first year of studies over two and access additional support, including a multi-disciplinary Working With Ideas module where students across different degree programmes work together for a year to investigate and develop responses to a common social or environmental problem experienced by students. In 2017, the students investigated the problem of student food poverty.

Curricula and Co-curricula

When a student arrives at university, they will encounter Changemaker both in their degree programme through credit-bearing modules (the curricula) and through academic, professional and social support activities (the co-curricula activities) that support and enhance success in their studies and employability. Not every degree programme is able to change to meet the demands of changemaker directly (often because of professional body requirements), so a whole range of activities and learning opportunities are offered through outside credit-bearing modules.

Changemaker Module

Some degree programmes have chosen to begin embedding Changemaker principles into their degrees by adopting the ready-made SWK1051 Changemakers module into their award maps. This is delivered by a central team of social innovation experts, with subject specific inputs from the programme teams. This often leads to the programme team designing and delivering their own version of the module. 

Changemaker Certificate

This is the flagship co-curricula offering, open to all students, staff and graduates of the University. Its content was designed, delivered and written up by students under the guidance of experts in social innovation. It is free to sign-up, and participants can sign up at any time, as soon as they arrive or even after their graduation. It takes them through a workbook of evidence to develop their skills from just learning about social & environmental issues (bronze), to experimenting with different solutions and approaches to the problem situation (silver) and delivering a successful intervention (gold).  It has had over 300 participants and in March 2017, the content, the Changemaker Handbook, achieved over 20,000 readers

Employability Certificate

The Changemaker Hub offers to all students at the University a suite of high-quality learning and development opportunities to improve their employability experience and capabilities. This is all brought together into the Employability Certificate. Students may, during their work on the Employability Certificate, discover the social & environmental challenges around them, in their communities or proposed place of work. They can then flip their work into the Changemaker Certificate and work towards that as well. 

Changemaker Hub

The Changemaker Hub encompasses all of the employability, schools development, community engagement and student support functions across the whole University, including our own employment agency. This is the primary contact point for any student wanting to engage with Changemaker activities outside the classroom.

The Changemaker Hub offer the following activities as engagement activities into Changemaker:

Develop Your Changemaker:
One to one coaching support to help students campaign, start a project, research, run an event or anything that links to Changemaker, for example, helping us raise awareness of Changemaker or linking into Aspire etc. We ask students for a commitment of 40hrs either volunteering to understand the problem or 40hrs working on their idea.
Through this support, the student will achieve the Bronze Changemaker certificate.

Give it a Go grant funding of up to £1000 for students wanting to test out a Changemaker idea.

Changemaker Cafe bringing Community organisations and Social Enterprises onto Campus to find out how we can improve how we interact with them and develop common projects.

Changemaker experience programme where students from the UK and abroad can work with out local students and community organisations on a two-week Changemaker project. This includes one-week immersion into the community and one week Social Innovation lab.

Changemaker Challenges

In order to focus our work in and with the communities of Northamptonshire, we developed 4 outward facing Changemaker Challenges, in the areas of education, health & wellbeing, cultural heritage and entrepreneurship. These are the focal points for the cross-university collaborative research institutes

Learning Outcomes

The University is committed to embedding the Changemaker ethos into the DNA of the university. An ‘everyone a changemaker world’ can only be built when Changemaker skills are at the core what this university does, which is teach. Over the next 5-7 years, all our degree programmes will be evaluated and redesigned as part of a ‘periodic subject review’. At this point, degree programmes will be invited to reflect with students, employers and community stakeholders on what the social & environmental impacts their degree programmes promote. They will then embed these aims into the taught programmes through a menu of Changemaker Learning Outcomes relevant to the skills and experiences required of the degree subject.  These learning outcomes also deliver enhanced employability and digital literacy skills to the graduates

Ventures and Graduates

The Changemaker ecosystem is designed to deliver graduates with outstanding skills, knowledge and experience. They will have the knowledge and skills developed by their core degree programme, as well as enhanced skills from the field of ‘social innovation’. These skills are those of problem identification, investigation and analysis, linked to networking, group work, negotiating and persuading designed to address or solve identified social or environmental problems.  These skills have also been linked to those skills most requested by national and international employers, as well as digital literacy skills. These students will have developed these skills. Their experience will also have been developed by trying out their proposed solutions in the safe environment of the university, refined and improved, ready for full implementation.

Our ambition is that everyone can graduate with a story about a problem-solving experience that they have worked on themselves, explaining not only what they have studied, but what they have done while at University.

MA Social Innovation

At the post-graduate level, students can further improve their advanced problem analysis and solving skills in the world leading MA in Social Innovation, incorporating the Social Venture Builder toolkit. This is linked to funding and investment vehicles for social ventures that involve a clear business model.

Transforming Lives + Inspiring Change

All of these activities, and so much more that doesn’t fit on a tidy diagram, builds up to deliver on the University of Northampton mission to transform lives and inspire change

Feel free to browse the rest of the site to read more and find about all the activities we couldn’t fit on the guide map!

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