University of Texas at Austin
McCombs School of Business McCombs School of Business

McCombs School Launches Social Innovation Initiative

AUSTIN, Texas — This fall, the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin launched the Social Innovation Initiative, an interdisciplinary program that provides students, faculty and the broader community with the opportunities and skill sets needed to promote social change. The initiative is a collaborative effort spanning the UT community. It will offer students new courses, experiential learning, and career guidance while also facilitating research opportunities for both students and faculty. 

The initiative launches through the leadership of Dr. Laura Starks, former interim dean of the McCombs School, and Dr. Stephen Limberg, associate dean for graduate programs at McCombs. The initiative is led by Managing Director and Adjunct Professor, Dr. Meeta Kothare.

“Today’s students are far more engaged in social impact activities than any previous generation,” said Starks. “Through the initiative, we hope to harness their passion and UT’s world-class resources to develop effective leaders who can drive positive social and environmental change while creating economic value for their organizations."

The initiative targets four key issue areas: Social Entrepreneurship; Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and Impact Investing; Public and Social Sector Innovation; and Corporate Social Innovation. The initiative will also provide a framework for students interested in pursuing social impact careers with the aim of supporting their exploration of different options across sectors and industries to create positive change. 

Actualizing the goals of the initiative, Kothare has launched new curriculum offering social innovation and impact investing courses in addition to the ESG investing courses offered by Starks. The courses focus on experiential learning experiences to foster greater interaction among students, faculty, staff, alumni, and practitioners. 

"The creation of the Social Innovation Initiative is a crucial step in bringing UT’s overlapping communities together to collectively address the world’s most pressing challenges,” said Kothare. “The interdisciplinary nature of the initiative is key because the most impactful social innovations often result from collaborations among private, public, and social sectors.”

Dean Limberg points out that the timing for this initiative couldn't be better. “It enables an impactful agenda, building on remarkable efforts already at the McCombs School and the university.”

For more information, contact: Samantha Harris, Red McCombs School of Business, 512-471-6746.