Integrating Changemaking into your Courses

We have been approached by two local social innovators with an idea for how St. Thomas students can help support their collaboration. It’s a hands-on way for students to explore real-world social issues related to a wide range of academic disciplines and to make a social impact at the same time. 

 undertold stories icon, plus sign icon, and world savvy icon

The Social Innovators

Fred de Sam Lazaro, Executive Director of the Under-Told Stories Project and a correspondent for the PBS NewsHour. The Under-Told Stories project produces short documentaries that focus on social challenges and innovators around the world. Fred is also housed at St Thomas.
Dana Mortenson, a Minneapolis-based Ashoka Fellow and co-founder and CEO of World Savvy. World Savvy is a "national education nonprofit that works with educators, schools, and districts to integrate the highest quality of global competence teaching and learning into K-12 classrooms, so all young people can be prepared to engage, succeed, and meet the challenges of 21st century citizenship." Last May, St. Thomas hosted World Savvy’s annual festival that brought 400+ youth social innovators to campus and will do so again in 2018.

The Idea

Convert content from Fred's archived Undertold Stories into case studies that can be used by teachers and students in Dana’s World Savvy Classrooms.

The Case Study Themes

Some of the themes that World Savvy is interested in building case studies around this year are:

  • Water
  • Human Migration
  • Food Security
  • Dissent in Democracy
  • Climate Change
  • Changing world of work/economic forces
  • our identity shapes and is impacted by social, economic and political forces

The Approach

Here are just a couple of ideas about how faculty might integrate this learning opportunity into their courses. As a novel way to explore a theme related to their discipline, faculty could create whole-class or small-group assignments where the group produces a single case study (i.e., each student produces one part of a case study on the same theme using a variety of segments from Under-Told Stories). Or in lieu of a traditional research paper, faculty could have students individually produce a case study on a single theme/Under-Told Story episode. In either case, faculty should feel free to require annotations or additional commentary beyond that shown in the sample case studies. Know, too, that a great deal of raw footage from each Under-Told Stories segment can be made available with enough advance notice (e.g., uncut interviews and other footage that didn’t make it into the final segment).


If you are interested, please contact Adam Kay ( or Cynthia Sarver ( in the Social Innovation Collaboratory. We would be happy to answer any questions or connect you with our contacts at World Savvy or Under-Told Stories to help you get started designing a project appropriate for your course.