Episode 42 - Ashoka U on Teaching Change Series with Jacen Green
Updated: Oct 29, 2019
We continue our special series Ashoka U on Teaching Change with our interview of Jacen Greene, Director of Impact Entrepreneurs at Portland State University. Jacen shares his winding journey from the private sector to consulting to higher education and working with change-making education. He also shares how his private sector experience influences his work in education and how important learning outcomes are for a strong educational foundation. Listen to find out why Jacen believes that every decision he makes to be more inclusive in his programs has benefited every student participating.
Jacen Greene manages social innovation programs in PSU’s School of Business, including the Social Innovation Certificate and Elevating Impact Summit, and co-founded PSU’s new Homelessness Research and Action Collaborative. He teaches design thinking and lean startup courses in social entrepreneurship, initiated the student-run B Impact consulting program, and leads an award-winning case writing program. He serves as PSU’s Change Leader, official representative to the Ashoka U Changemaker Campus network, and is one of Ashoka U’s global Network Advisory Committee members.
Jacen’s case studies have won the Oikos Case Competition, placed 2nd in the Next Billion Competition, and been used by more than 2300 students and faculty. He has published in the International Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Learning, VentureWell 20th Annual Conference Proceedings, Case Studies in Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability, and the Oikos Case Quarterly.
In addition to overseeing the planning team for the yearly Elevating Impact Summit, he has presented at or led workshops for the Fulbright Program, AmeriCorps, Net Impact Conference (2011), GoGreen PDX (2012), VentureWell OPEN (2016), Ashoka U Exchange (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018), and Social Enterprise World Forum (2018), among others.
Jacen graduated Beta Gamma Sigma with an MBA in sustainability from Portland State University and magna cum laude with a B.A. in China Studies from Willamette University. He has previously worked or taught in India, China, Cambodia, Honduras, and Nicaragua.
Jerrid Kalakay 0:09
Welcome to the teaching change podcast where we explore she's a social entrepreneurship, education, and innovation. I'm your host Jerrid Kalakay.
On today's episode, we have the fifth installment of our special series, a show PU on teaching change. Today we're speaking with Jason green, Director of impact entrepreneurs at Portland State University. So welcome to the show. Jason, thank you so much for spending some time with us today on the episode. Why don't you go ahead and start out by introducing yourself to our audience.
Jacen Greene 0:39
Sure, and thanks for having me on the show. As I said, I've listened before and I'm a fan. I'm Jason green. I'm the director of impact entrepreneurs at Portland State University, which is our set of social innovation and social entrepreneurship programs based out of our School of Business. And we have a whole set of programs and I can talk about each of them in a little more detail in a second. I'm also one of our change leaders. So I'm an official representative to the Changemaker campus network, just run by a show KU. So PSU has been recognized as one of 50 change maker campuses around the world, which are some of the top schools and teaching social innovation and social entrepreneurship. I also am on a shaky us network Advisory Committee. So I helped set strategy for a show for you and for this, this network and 50 campuses around the world have been recognized in this way. Finally, I'm a co founder and leadership team member of PS us new homelessness research and action collaborative, which is one of two new centers of excellence. And as you can probably guess, has a huge social innovation, social impact focus to its work.
Jerrid Kalakay 1:46
Oh, yeah. Wow. So when So when do you sleep?
Jacen Greene 1:51
Well, I have two small children. So
Jerrid Kalakay 1:53
Oh, my gosh,
Jacen Greene 1:54
you know, you know, whenever I can,
Jerrid Kalakay 1:56
yeah. How old are your children? four and one and a half? Oh, wow.
Jacen Greene 2:00
Yeah. Although some nights they sleep better than I
Jerrid Kalakay 2:02
can I have three, three children ourselves with? They're not there now. 10? Seven, and four.
Jacen Greene 2:08
Jerrid Kalakay 2:09
Yeah, so I definitely sympathize with you and the sleepless nights.
Jacen Greene 2:14
Jerrid Kalakay 2:15
how did you come to Portland State? What was your career trajectory? And how long have you been there?
Jacen Greene 2:23
Wow. How much time should I spend on this?
It's a winding path. I assume it well, in some ways, yes. And otherwise, no. I mean, I feel like my career trajectory was really strongly informed by my own childhood. So I grew up in my dad was a janitor who'd never been to college. My mom stayed home. And I grew up in a small logging town, in rural remote Northwestern California, down the redwoods. And if you'd seen this town in any other country, you call it a village. It was a cluster of about 20 25 houses on dirt road off the highway. No trash pickup, no mail delivery, no sewer system, really rural. And I experienced firsthand what rural poverty is like in America. I was growing up there at the time when the only employer an area had been bought out as part of a junk bond deal. So Pacific lumber had been a timber company there for a century, they had been sustainably harvesting redwoods. And after this junk bond deal, the new owner needed to pay off his creditors. And so they started clear cutting the force. What happens when you clear cut force in this kind of rugged terrain where I grew up. Without the tree cover, whenever you have a strong rain, you have a lot of soil that washes off into the streams. And that killed off the salmon runs that a lot of local fishermen relied on and that local First Nations relied on for, for food, for commerce and for spiritual reasons. And it was just a disaster. with clear cuts, you are also required to replant your trees but because you don't have any larger shade trees to protect them. And to prevent weed growth. You also have to spray herbicides, the keep weeds from choking out that the new trees we didn't have a water system, everybody there lived on well water. And we developed one of the worst cancer clusters in the nation. My mom actually passed away from cancer while I was in college, and everybody in the community had family members who died of cancer. So growing up, I saw the absolute worst side of business. You know, I had friends who went hungry, became homeless. me My family was on food stamps when I was younger. I were hand me downs. You know, I got to buy new clothes once a year before school. And I remember that getting how exciting it was to get to pick out clothes instead of just wearing clothes that I got from somebody else. And I was one of only two people in my neighborhood who went to college was me and my brother, really because of my mom pushing us to go. And we could only go because we had scholarships. I also had a lot of support a lot of mentorship and help. And I got out of college my mom passed away at that time. And my dad who had just been a janitor working nights and weekends mostly and started out with nothing, I mean a mop bucket vacuum cleaner squeegee, he had done well enough to hire a part time contractor and then a full time contractor than an employee. And by the time I was leaving college, he had built up this business to the point where it had lifted our family out of poverty. Wow. And so I saw this pathway out of poverty, because of business because of entrepreneurship. And yet, I also saw all the incredible harm that business had done to all my friends and neighbors and classmates. And the no it it was a period of sort of environmental destruction, economic collapse, you know, as they cut down all the trees and area, the mill started having fewer trees, the cut, they start laying off people. It was just a mess. You know, I saw this sort of the end of the resource extraction industry in rural America, and that the social and economic upheaval that it caused. And I was thinking about all of this, as I got out of college, I went to work in the tech sector. And by the time I was 23, I had a house a good job. I was in a great relationship with my now wife. And that basically achieved everything I'd ever wanted in life. I mean, the idea of just having a good job and house was sort of the highest I'd ever, ever envisioned myself
And I was working in managing software engineers in the US and India. And I was on a work trip to India. And I was there for several weeks. And I was staying like this four star Hyatt and I get home from work every night. And do you like the French restaurant, the pizza, or whatever, and then go to bed. And I got home early from work one day. And there was this 10 foot wall around the Hyatt and I thought I'll go walk around the neighborhood and see what's here. And I walk around a wall. And the reason the wall is 10 feet high is because there was a huge slum. On the other side. People living in shanties with no real electricity, no sanitation, no running water. You know, the sort of the refugees from the shacks was running into this pond where they were also bathing and washing their clothes. And I spent the rest of the afternoon walking around this community. And I had seen some pretty abject poverty, pretty striking poverty growing up, not to this extent, but I hadn't seen anything like that since I got into college and left my hometown. And I just was thinking, What am I doing with my life? If my work and my job isn't benefiting anyone other than myself, my family. And I was struggling with this dichotomy, a business's promise of business to address poverty buzz, a stinky, how could you take these skills and tools that businesses developed and apply it to addressing poverty not just for a business owner, and his family or her family, but for an entire community, for the employees, for suppliers, and even for customers. And I didn't really know what to call that or how to think about it. And I quit my job. And I decided to get an MBA in sustainability at Portland State, which has consistently had a really top ranked program. So I wanted to try and reconcile these two seeming opposites. And my last course my last term was social entrepreneurship. And the light just went on I was like, this is it. I didn't know there's a term for I didn't know there's a global movement. I didn't know people were doing it. I was like, This is what I had to do with my life. And I got out and I worked for some some social enterprises. So amazing social enterprises, both in the US and a little bit abroad, then became a freelance consultant, helping nonprofits set up their own social enterprises, with a specific focus on workforce development for people have experienced homelessness or addiction or incarceration. And then PSU hired me to help them design this certificate and social innovation and social entrepreneurship. So I design a certificate for them. And then they said, Well, do you want to teach some of the courses in like, an academic, I don't know how to teach. And they're like, well try it. And so I taught a field study in Cambodia for them. And I previously worked in Cambodia a little bit. Now Thai, another course. And then ended up teaching co teaching most of the courses. And I at PSU, I'd been a student and then a volunteer, and then a consultant, and then a contract employee, not a full time employee. And that a few years ago, the the co founder, director of the program left and I took her place, and now I'm running the certificate, that big yearly conference that we do our Changemaker campus designation, a B Corp consulting program, where MBA students help local company is achieved B Corp certification, and then a few other programs as well, some little research projects. So I sort of stumbled into academia. Yeah, but I love it. Because I see academia as is critical leverage point for creating impact in society. You know, if you can get in front of hundreds and hundreds of future business leaders every year, and teach them about social entrepreneurship now, and teach them about shared value, and interpret ownership, and have them think about how they can align their values and their purpose with their career. Hopefully, you can create a lot of change years or even decades down the road.
Jerrid Kalakay 10:40
Well, it's an incredible, incredible journey that you've been on. Jason going back to when you were in India, and you're walking through the shanty village, around the, you know, the four star Hyatt that you had kind of been secluded into, right? And
how'd you make the decision that
I'm going to quit my job? And I'm going to go back to
I'm going to get an MBA and sustain, you know, with sustainability. I mean, what was what was that process like? And you were also in a pretty serious relationship at the time. So what was that conversation? Like?
Jacen Greene 11:14
My wife was was surprised.
I think that's a nice way of putting it was she understood? I mean, my wife also experience a lot of poverty and a lot of challenges growing up. And so I said, this is why I have to leave my job. And it wasn't about, you know, it wasn't necessarily about me like going and helping other people, I realized I had to sort of help myself. First, I had to work this out internally, like, what is my purpose? What am I doing? How can I serve, or work with or support kids like me? Who didn't make it out of my community who didn't have the support and scholarships that I did? And I was, I was like, Okay, do I go back and I get up? I get a law degree, do I go into the nonprofit management, I go into government. But again, it was it was my dad's journey, you know, that I think was really inspiring to me. I was like, I wanted to sort of apply that spirit of entrepreneurship, to social issues. And so I thought, can we get an MBA, and just learn more business skills and tools, and then figure out how to apply that to that time, I just think sustainability, I can't even heard of social entrepreneurship. But I loved it. Because I, you know, I've learned so much from my dad, I see myself as a business person. And I like that I can take that that side of myself. And those skills, I don't have to reject them, or abandon them in pursuit of social impact and social benefit. Yeah,
Jerrid Kalakay 12:47
absolutely. It must have been an amazing experience in growing up and seeing both the extreme positives of entrepreneurship, and what it can do. And then also, the extreme, you know, the opposite the devastation that you experienced, and your community experience with the, the mill and so forth. When did you make that connection between, you know, business could be for good or for bad?
Jacen Greene 13:14
I think it was, it was some It was a long process for me. So I never really exposed to it as an undergrad. And I wish I had. But it was looking thinking about going back getting an MBA in sustainability. And I was like, Okay, well, here's a way here's a clear path for business to do more good. And, you know, I think just seeing that, those two sides of business and being aware of I think often people only see one or the other. You know, I talked to a lot of people who have gone into nonprofit management, I've worked with a lot of nonprofits worked for nonprofits. And they've just seen the bad side of business. I talked to a lot of entrepreneurs and business executives, and they've only seen the good side, it was really interesting to see both. And I wish everybody could see those those two sides and experience those two sides for themselves. Just to understand that business is so powerful. And how you choose to use the tools of business is really important. You know, there's not a predetermined outcome to being a business person or starting a business or social enterprise. And I think it's important for students to understand that money is a means to an end. And you get to choose what that end is. It can be personal enrichment. It can be wealth, or you can use that money to power a program that is serving your community. You know, are those protecting the environment? Even nonprofits need money to run?
Jerrid Kalakay 14:41
No, absolutely. Absolutely. And so, and then you. So you're doing your consulting work, and PSU hires you to work on certificate program. But even in that process, as you're working on the certificate program, you did you envision yourself teaching?
Jacen Greene 14:59
And not all?
You know, not at all. And it's funny, because I just haven't been a manager and having worked in the private sector, and worked in the tech sector. I just took the skills I learned and applied that to academics, I didn't have any other tools. So we're like, Okay, well, let's figure out what does this certificate look like? What do we what are the learning outcomes going to be? And what are the key skills we need to teach? So I said, Okay, we'll just do some design charrette. So you know, we'll do a design thinking approach will pull together some students and faculty and staff and alumni and, and successful social entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs from the community, get them all in a room together. So it's not just the students in one group, or just affecting that a group, but get them all together, so they could hear each other. And then just have them brainstorm, count with a bunch of ideas, and then have them sort of little those down into the core concepts and skills that people need to learn to be effective as social entrepreneurs. So we all these people in a room, and they camp with a ton of ideas, and then they work together to prioritize them and say, Okay, well, here's the thing is 12, or 15, sort of key learning outcomes. These are things you got to know to succeed. And I said, Okay, well, which courses a PhD already teaching these, and I went through the entire course catalog, and virtually none of them are being taught. Wow, I thought, Okay, well, we're going to have to create some new courses to do this, probably all new courses. I mean, usually, a certificate is a combination of existing courses with maybe a new course thrown in. For this certificate, we took the really unusual path of complete of creating five entirely new courses, three online core courses, and then a field city practical that had two options, one local and one International. And we got some internal funding from PSU to do to design and launch of the certificate. And I manage that process. And as I said, got vault told to the teach couple of the courses. Yeah. Sorry, teaching, taking courses on teaching, reading books on teaching, reading articles, spending a lot of time and knowing, you know, the real faculty getting their advice, gain or input gain or help Amanda courses were set up to be co taught, which was great, because I could bring into a practitioner mindset, then we can bring in somebody who's faculty, you could bring them more theory. And we've continued to follow that structure this day. And how
Jerrid Kalakay 17:34
and how long have you been teaching now?
Jacen Greene 17:37
I've been teaching for six years now.
Jerrid Kalakay 17:40
Okay, so so you're you're a real faculty now? For sure. Yeah.
Jacen Greene 17:45
Yeah, I mean, I've taught a lot of courses now. I always teach, you know, social entrepreneurship, social innovation, some aspect of that was often lean startups or design thinking and Human Centered Design, its impact measurement, and storytelling, its field studies. And just I've learned a ton also from the change bigger campus network. And my colleagues across the show KU, so that we can really picking their brains reading their publications, just learning whatever I can, about best practices,
Jerrid Kalakay 18:17
being a sponge, totally.
Jacen Greene 18:20
And there's some really useful tools out there. So we use the Quality Matters rubric for online courses. And it's just a set of best practices. And it's nice to be able to go through, and we had all of our courses evaluated, that we teach online, and they all exceeded a rubric, but we still made a lot of adjustments. And then again, drawing on my private sector background, we've built in a really strong, continuous improvement process. And that ties into sort of learning outcomes, student feedback, course evaluations. And so we had these learning outcomes that we created at the beginning of the whole process. And the learning outcomes, then drove the creation of assignments are like, Okay, then readings, we need students to learn this, what readings do they need? What type of assignments could we use that would help them learn this and help us assess their learning of this. So very intentional, you know, very driven by the learning outcomes. We have the regular course evaluations, which are useful for administration in determining whether an instructor is really good or really bad. But we needed more detailed feedback and data from students. So we adopted anonymous mid course survey that was developed by PS use online school for social work, and it and then we updated and added more questions. And what it does is halfway through a course give students a chance to say this is working. For me, this isn't working for me. I like this part of the format delivery, I like this part of the content, or these are things that I think can be improved. And here's how, and it's all anonymous. And so halfway through each course, it gives instructors an opportunity to kind of the course correct, pun intended, and make adjustments. And this was also something that I learned was the was having this survey in the middle of a course rather than the end of the course. You know, so you can make adjustments, and you can go back to students, and you can say, Hey, you know, we had these three suggestions come out of the survey, I'm going to implement every one of them for this course in the next few weeks, or for the next course and the certificate. And we've made huge changes throughout the certificate based on that feedback.
Jerrid Kalakay 20:32
Wow. And how as Are there other faculty, you mentioned it
to every course is co facilitated or co taught. How's the other faculty reacted to those mid semester kind of check in course, correction surveys,
Jacen Greene 20:47
and nobody's been opposed to it. But I'm as a certificate director, the one of the courses I don't teach anymore, I'm typically the one who's reading through it, delivering feedback back to them and saying, Would you please make these changes next time? God's people have always been responsive and receptive. I think they they appreciate having that kind of a tool. You know, you get a course evaluation back. And it's like, you've always got the one student mark one and everything in there. Yeah. You really hate the course. Did you miss read the scoring scale? Like there's no comments? So there's nothing actionable?
Jerrid Kalakay 21:21
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And if and if it's
anything like the it's like Valencia College, we normally get our student satisfaction surveys, or the feedback surveys, two weeks or three weeks after the end of the semester. And so, you know, we can make changes, obviously for the next semester. But there's, there's no going back, there's no, there's no record eating any of that issue, you know, and yeah, those, the ones that don't write any comments, or the comments are kind of vague, or you don't really understand them are always a bit frustrating for for us faculty.
Jacen Greene 21:54
So we've structured that mid term survey that specifically elicit useful feedback. And it's great, and it's really helpful. And then we also do one on one interviews with everybody who completes the entire certificate. And again, just saying, if you could change anything about the program, what would it be? How can we make it better for the next cohort of students, and then just recently have developed an impact measurement survey around social emotional skills, change maker skills, doing an evaluation to beginning and end of course, and what we can do then is, you know, self reported, so it's imperfect. But we can ask students very specific questions based on research and to change makers skills around empathy, resilience, grit, creativity, etc. and short sort of some of their own confidence in being able to live into an embody these mindsets and skills. And then we can relate that back to the learning outcomes. So for example, we have some courses where, you know, creativity, and fostering creativity is part of the learning outcomes. Well, students didn't feel like they've really been able to practice that or had improved that. When we looked at that survey, they're like, Okay, well, this is really helpful. That means we need to build in more of this. So we have multiple tools, and each is designed with a specific purpose in mind, for continuous improvement, and they all help us close that loop.
Jerrid Kalakay 23:28
Now, what I find interesting is is, you know, being being a practitioner, and in in business, and then coming over to education, was the the transition of learning outcomes. How do you How would you explain? Or how do you think about learning outcomes as a guide to your work in higher education, and and was that in the private sector when you were in practice?
Jacen Greene 23:55
Well, it's an imperfect analogy. But as a manager, work with my staff, and they'd have sort of personal goals, some of them are career goals, some of them were around social emotional skills. And you knew that you had a set of, you know, skills and mindsets that you want your employees to embody. And that's very similar to a set of learning outcomes, you know, and the learning outcomes are driven by the purpose of a program or a course, just like when you're looking at, you know, business skills and tools and mindsets your employees need are going to be driven by the mission, the organization. And again, this is really not helpful, though, unless you have some sort of feedback loop, and some sort of mechanism for continuous improvement. And with, you know, with learning outcomes, it's interesting, because I feel like learning outcomes, help you clarify the purpose of a course, or certificate, and make that clear to students. And then it helps you actually actually measure if you're achieving that purpose. And I think in, in one of your, your interviews, you talked about living in congruence with your values is something that you talk to your students about. And we talked about is alignment with your purpose. Yeah. And, you know, it's something that I think we can embody as educators as well, or as staff, or as administrators, saying, We want you to have a purpose that you're living into, we're not going to tell you what that purpose has to be, but we will support you in achieving it. And then we're going to say, Now, you know, we have courses and programs, and we have a specific purpose in mind for this program. Like for this one, we want to create more successful social entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs. And then we say, Okay, these learning outcomes relate to that purpose. And then we can measure how sort of aligned we are with that purpose and how well we're achieving it based on student feedback, you know, assessment of learning outcomes, things like that. Yeah,
Jerrid Kalakay 26:00
yeah, no, absolutely. I love that.
In thinking about alignment, and the concept of alignment, and how you use learning outcomes in that way, was that something that always kind of just came second nature? Where was it a hard lesson to learn? or How did that happen? I think it's, it's evolved. I mean, I feel like,
Jacen Greene 26:22
you know, we started out with the learning outcomes, which I think was great. And it was a best practice, but as a best practice, by accident, in some ways as applying all these private sector practices, because I didn't know any better when people say, Oh, that's really innovative, or that's a really great way to go about. I'm like, that's not what everybody does, like, do it. So I thought I was just doing sort of the usual thing by the numbers, but an academia, you know, people were sometimes surprised by that approach it like having these design shreds and bringing community members to co create learning outcomes. And it was interesting, and I think it helps when talking to students to saying, okay, we're teaching you these skills for social on partnership, or teaching these tools. We use all of them, you know. And we use all of them not just in in private business or nonprofits. We use them to create this program. I mapped out the business model canvas for the certificate. Yeah. When I worked in a tech sector, we call it eating your own dog food. was the idea of like, you're not, you're not sharing anything, you're not giving anything out or selling anything. Your customers, you're not using yourself already. Yeah, yes. It's appreciate that when you use those same tools that you're teaching them, you know, even as an academic in your day to day practice.
Jerrid Kalakay 27:37
Yeah, especially when you share that, you know, you when you when you're transparent about that story that to share that this is hey, this is what we just learned in class is what we used to do XYZ. Yeah. Yeah, I think you gain a lot, I think you get a lot of credibility with students or with human with humans in general, when they when they see you walking, walking the walk, right, you know, it's another not just lip service, but you're really living out what you're telling them. I'd rather long ago, there was a huge way to to building that, that trust in and social capital, that we need to really make change, right?
Jacen Greene 28:14
Definitely. And, you know, when I learned a new tool, I use it myself and apply to our own programs before I make students use it. So it's like when I'm, I've done some social emotional skills, courses and trainings, and I go do the exercises, and I participate in exercises before I had students do the exercises, and it's so helpful to, to get that perspective and understand what it's like to be a student.
Jerrid Kalakay 28:36
Absolutely, yeah, that's a great, that's a great principle to live to live by. And in your practice, for sure. What What do you think has been some of the advantages of using learning outcomes in your work in building the certificate program, and building out the different aspects of it, and so forth,
Jacen Greene 28:53
you know, provides so much clarity. And it provides clarity on where we need to go with the course of individual courses in the program as a whole, and clarity on the needs of the community. So I didn't really feel any doubt that that this program was was needed, and will be valuable, because we had had such wonderful input from this huge group of stakeholders, and diverse in every sense of the word. And so you know, I think having co created learning outcomes with this, this, this broad community of stakeholders, gave me the clarity and the confidence to move ahead with the program and of courses. You know, it didn't mean that there weren't adjustments we needed to make. But we knew that, that the program, you know, the skills and the mindsets that we're teaching were desirable, and were useful. And we had a lot of external validation for that straight from the start. So it's nice to create a course or to create a program with that Northstar already there, huh?
Jerrid Kalakay 29:56
Yeah, they will wear your everyone's moving towards the same direction. Yeah. And you everyone
understands what the goal is. All right.
So one of the things that's really tough, I think about learning outcomes, is that a lot of people have had really bad experiences with them. And what I mean by that is, is they they were either, you know, hammered over the head with learning outcomes that they needed to use, that didn't really feel authentic or real, or applicable to what they're doing. Or they're part of a system in which they had learning outcomes. They did assessment, but they weren't necessarily connected. Or the assessment came way after, you know, months later in some cases. And so they didn't, weren't able to use it in their practice, etc. And so, when we talk about learning outcomes in higher in academia in general, but certainly in higher ed, I think a lot of people kind of start to glaze over and run in the other direction. Yeah, you say to those folks, like, you know, with your experience and seeing the real reward from using them, and the real likability of using them, what would you say to those folks that maybe have been burned in the past, with their back in the room, and
Jacen Greene 31:07
I would say, make, make them your own. I mean, if you're an instructor, you can create course level learning outcomes, hopefully, you're not being told exactly what does have to be, you know, often you're going to have institution level learning outcomes. I think, every institution I see, that's pretty much the same learning outcomes. There's a critical thinking, when there's a problem solving one, there's a, you know, there's like a community service and engagement or leadership one. And the thing is, is that, you're probably going to be required to live with those learning outcomes at institution level or the degree level. But for the course level, or for a certificate or a smaller program, you can really make them your own. So we map our learning outcomes against them institution level ones, like, you know, it's like, okay, we're teaching critical thinking or teaching in this way, that is really useful for social entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs. So we can say, yeah, you know, we're checking that box, we're going to do it in our own way, based on what the community has told us. They want to learn what they need to know, to be successful. And I think that's helpful, you know, being sort of the master of your own destiny, creating learning outcomes yourself, engaging with your important stakeholders to do so. And doing that, of course, or program level and making certain that you're not ignoring institution level or degree level learning outcomes, that you're referring back to them. But you know, not letting yourself be constrained by them. Hmm. Yeah. And just taking it taking it into your own hands and saying, rather than just being subject to this process, I'm going to own this process. And I'm going to do it myself for my, my program or my course.
Jerrid Kalakay 32:43
Yeah. And that by doing that, I'd imagine a much more empowering experience, where you take them and you're making them your own.
You know, but it also takes a lot of work.
Right? It does. This was not an overnight thing. Yeah, I'd imagine.
Jacen Greene 33:00
I think it's worth it. I think it's it's one of those cases where you can't really, you know, there are no shortcuts to developing learning outcomes in that way. And it is a lot of work. And it's hard, but I think it pays dividends. And it pays off, not just in creating that clarity for the program, or the course. You know, it makes it easier to design a course, I think it helps your students understand what you're teaching. And I think it really helps around engagement and stakeholder engagement. You know, when somebody is brought in, you ask them as a CEO, or a social entrepreneur, or an alumni or even a current student, and he say, what should we be teaching our students, they really feel respected and valued. And they, I think, tend to remain engaged and committed, if they've they've been talked to and brought into the process and that level?
Jerrid Kalakay 33:51
Yeah, well, absolutely,
absolutely. Well, and then and then you, you get the best of all the worlds, right, because the social entrepreneurship and change, change making education in generals a very difficult thing to do. And it requires transits one area interdisciplinary. I mean, there's so many lines that it has to cross. And so by bringing all those stakeholders to the table, and asking them in a collaborative way, you start to break down some of those barriers that we tend to put up in higher ed, and in the world in general, right,
Jacen Greene 34:26
definitely. And I think you then begin to build out a more inclusive process from the very start, you know, making certain that you are building out a program from the very beginning with a diverse group, a diverse group of stakeholders, and I mean, diverse through every axis of diversity, you know, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, national origin, and immigrant refugee status. And what's interesting is that when you do that, you also have a pool of people you can go to, and you can say, hey, I want to make certain that the speakers and the reading and the videos and the cases, my courses are reflective of the student body, you know, and they can provide examples mean, we've done several major revisions of the certificate, looking at different aspects of accessibility and representation and inclusion. And often is going out to the community and saying, you know, I have a bunch of white guys who are doing guest interviews, because that's just, you know, that's who I am. And that's my sort of, it's an aspect of my privilege, but who can I bring in who's going to be as good or better on this topic, and might represent, you know, a different experience or a different identity?
Jerrid Kalakay 35:45
You know, that representation, right, that, that matters so much? You know, there's there's a reason why a lot of our fortune 500 companies, leadership looks the same. Yeah, you know, and it has a lot less to do with skills, and a lot less to do a lot less to do with credibility, or degrees or anything, a lot more to do with, with opportunities they were given. And, and, and be always being the ones that serve on those panels, and, and so forth, right.
Jacen Greene 36:17
And one thing that I've really found this, this really interesting, as we've replaced content, replace speakers, improve the certificate made changes based on student feedback, is that, you know, I think one of the points of resistance I hear or misconceptions I hear is the Oh, you're doing this for this group, or this audience. Every time we have ever made a change for greater representation, or accessibility, or inclusion has benefited every single student.
You know, I had
changed some of my video lectures so that they were closed caption, and ideas that help students were hard of hearing. But then all the students are English language learners said, Hey, this is great, I can now understand a lot more fall on my clothes. Same thing with other students, they're like, Oh, you know, the sound was a little bad in that part. But now I understand what you're actually saying. And that part of the lecture helped everybody. You know, I brought in some examples of sort of encore social entrepreneurs. Because we have some older adults coming through our programs, I thought that would be great in terms of representation. What happens is that I have younger students, I mean, 19 year old saying, this is amazing, you know, I saw this woman in Oakland, in her 60s, starting a social enterprise. And I realized that I can do this at any stage in my life, I can wait until it's the right time for me. And that anybody can do it. You don't have to be at a certain point in your career at a certain point in your life. You know, again, it benefits everybody. And I think there isn't a single change we've made in terms of representation or accessibility, that hasn't helped every single student, regardless of whether or not they identify with, with that group.
Jerrid Kalakay 38:00
Yeah, Watson, that's incredible. Because I mean, we live in a world that's, that is quite diverse, right. And, you know, it's our goal to prepare students to thrive in diverse environments, not just simply to survive in them, but to really thrive in them. And if the only time that they ever are able to learn about diversity or see proper representation, or learn from others perspectives, is when they leave us that we've done a tremendous disservice everyone.
Jacen Greene 38:30
Yeah. And it's interesting. I mean, obviously, I think I as an instructor, and a director for the programs, I've benefited enormously from these as well. You know, learning from my students listen to their feedback, making changes. Just one example. So like, my preferred pronouns are he him he is. So I've put that on my email signature, have started introducing myself that way, and all my courses, and I've asked students to do the same. And it's really great to conversation, the students had way to get some things King, you know, students who prefer their them feel more welcome. And included in the course, which right off the bat means they're probably going to do better academically. But what I realized is that when I started putting in my email signature, I stopped getting Miss gendered because of the unusual spelling, my first name people been calling me Miss Jason green a lot. And now, as always, Mr. So I am immediately referred to by my my preferred gender identity right off the bat by making that change. So it's an interesting example, again, of any step you make towards greater representation or inclusion accessibility. Yeah, absolutely.
Jerrid Kalakay 39:38
So so the chapter that you wrote for, or with a show for you, in the new learning outcomes publication will be coming out soon. That's going to go out to the entire network, it'll be available. And hopefully, you know, many everybody, everybody in the world will start using it. For what do you what was your thought process? And kind of what do you hope to get? or What impact do you hope to have with your involvement in that, in that, that publication and what you hope to see that publication do for the field?
Jacen Greene 40:14
Yeah, and I hope it can help people understand how they can co create learning outcomes. with stakeholders and with the community. I hope it helps them understand that they can use learning outcomes to drive the entire process, of course creation, and then also build in a feedback loop, where they use it through assessment, and not even, you know, really heavy duty accreditation level assessment. But it can be very informal, it can be a survey can be student interviews, that level of assessment and feedback to update learning outcomes or update the course. And that, I think, you know, we need to, we need to have more inclusive processes of designing learning outcomes of designing courses of design curriculum. Just as we need more inclusive courses, we need more that behavior ourselves as educators in our programs in our courses and our degrees and our institutions. And we need to, you know, use these same tools for greater inclusion, representation, accessibility at every level, not just talk about them. To our students. Absolutely, absolutely. Well, Jason,
Jerrid Kalakay 41:20
this has been absolutely wonderful in in closing, is there anything you'd like to share with the audience, either about your story about PSU or about the upcoming publication on from a show to you?
Jacen Greene 41:33
Yeah, I mean, I just want to, again, share that that quote from Fagan Harris, I love so much is that those with the experience of a social issue are often best position to address it, but maybe farther from the resources and support they need to do so. I think I think sometimes universities don't look at people experiencing issue as a first people, they should be working with the solve that issue. And yet they are as a friend and colleague of mine says, they're the experts in it. We may be the professionals. We're training at tools and techniques. So we had resources, but you know, people who've been through these issues who are experiencing these issues, they are the experts. And you really need both. You need people who have that lived experience at the table. I think you need people who have access to resources and tools and skills, who are working with them collaborative collaboratively, and you can't just do it with purely one or the other.
Jerrid Kalakay 42:30
Today we've been speaking with Jason green director of impact entrepreneurs at Portland State University.
Till next time, be nice and change some stuff