Visiting Assistant Professor of Social Entrepreneurship
His practice and research has focused on the nexus of health, social capital, and economic opportunity found in community-based food systems development. His work has crossed sectors, with leadership roles in both nonprofit and for-profit ventures. He has been a Sloan Fellow for Innovation and Global Leadership, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Legatum Fellow for Development and Entrepreneurship. Ross was recognized as a leading social entrepreneur with a lifetime fellowship from Ashoka: Innovators for the Public Good.
His work has been funded by the USDA, the EPA, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the U.S. Treasury, U.S. Health and Human Services, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Indian government, as well as by private investors.
Hampshire and Five College students will often take on positions of leadership in companies and organizations, on campus and beyond, usually with little practice or training. People often think of leadership as individualistic and autocratic, requiring outgoing personality. But there are many styles of leadership, and effective leadership is usually collaborative. In this class students will learn and practice ethical and non-hierarchical leadership strategies. Students will explore their own values around leadership, and tap into their own personal leadership qualities. We will work on what makes high-functioning teams and partnerships, and how to identify and work with stakeholders, leadership in community context. We will practice principled, as opposed to confrontational, negotiation skills. The class will study ethics and responsibilities of leadership. The class will provide both theory and practical application.
Students in this class will have an innovative idea for a social impact initiative or a business venture, will have developed this idea into a rough plan through an entrepreneurship class, and will trying to figure out how to take the next step towards action. In this class students will take an entrepreneurial nonprofit or for-profit venture and, work-shopping with professors and class, take real steps to prototype and test their idea. Students will be required to do research and exploration outside of the classroom, identifying real customers/participants, taking steps to interview them, learning about the concerns and life. Students will identify assumptions and ideas, and work through a process to develop "minimally-viable-products" or prototypes, that can be put in front of potential customers/participants for feedback, validation, and then iteration. Students will have access to a small fund to support the development of their prototype. This rapid prototyping and iteration as opposed to 40pg business plans is not just a methodology, it is a philosophy that is beginning to permeate design, nonprofit management, and even government. Students will learn about design thinking, user feedback, social enterprise and impact, the Lean Start-up Model, as well as some humility as customer/participant reality is never what we expect. Prerequisite: A previous entrepreneurship class, an existing enterprise idea, and approval of professor
Through this course the students will develop their own community and world-changing ideas into venture plans, using practical frameworks and principles. Students will learn about social entrepreneurism as a vehicle for change, and the different forms and structures social entrepreneurism can take. Accomplished social entrepreneurs from around the world will share their experiences and perspectives with the class with in-person visits and video sessions, help the students think through their ideas. Students will develop the rigorous critical thinking and partnership skills to develop and test any idea, secure resources, and bring the idea to reality, applicable across sectors. Students will work individually and in teams. Class includes case studies and guest speakers. The course will culminate in a session where students will pitch their ideas to real social impact investors for feedback and support.
Food is about subsistence but is also so much more - the food system impacts our health, environment, economics, and cultural expression. In this class students will learn about the good, bad, and ugly of the current food system, and develop ideas to make a positive difference, on campus and beyond. Students will practice social entrepreneurship principles and skills by developing systems change ideas all the way to presenting their enterprise ideas. In particular, students will explore the food systems of Hampshire College, and nearby Holyoke, MA, to learn about the assets and challenges of these communities, to better generate real entrepreneurial ideas. No prior entrepreneurship or agriculture experience is necessary, but there will be some spreadsheets and basic math. Class includes case studies, accomplished social entrepreneur speakers visiting and skyping in from around the world, some tasty snacks (for educational purposes only), and at least one field trip.