ELI courses help students clarify and develop their social values, their identities as change makers, and their sense of self-efficacy. Courses are taught with a distinctive approach to leadership development that combines a results-oriented philosophy with high-touch teaching methods and coaching.

Courses facilitate the learning process by keeping students accountable for the success of the class and for the realization of the course outcomes. Students are not told how to succeed as social entrepreneurs, but given the tools – the knowledge, skills, and other competencies – to learn through action. ELI courses are centered on leadership development, rather than leadership studies. Students quickly realize that the success of the course and their own projects depends upon the initiative they take to build strong collaborative relationships with their peers and with community partners.

When students take responsibility for the quality of their projects and for course outcomes, it improves their self-confidence, enhances their awareness of their civic engagement and “changemaker” capacities, and encourages their own personal development as they discover and capitalize on their motivation to improve community well-being.

“Taking the “Moral Courage and Leadership” class fundamentally changed my academic experience at Duke, and allowed me to view education from a whole new perspective. It was the most unique, hands-on opportunity I have had in classes at Duke. I was allowed the freedom to experiment with different methods of actually bringing projects to life in the real world. I learned more from my failures and personal struggles in the class than I could have ever learned if I was simply told how to succeed. Even though it was by far the hardest and most work intensive class project I’ve been involved in, the experiences and lessons I’ve garnered are truly invaluable. It offered me the chance not just to read about others’ successes, but to create my own.”

ELI courses in the past three years include:

  • PPS 265.01 – Enterprising Leadership: Provides students with relevant insights, knowledge, analytical competence, and skills important to exercising ethical, enterprising leadership in organizations and informal groups.
  • PPS 271s – Social Entrepreneurship in Action: Teams of students define a promising idea and develop a compelling plan that addresses a real problem or opportunity in the Duke or Durham communities, with the objectives of creating meaningful learning experiences for themselves and something of enduring value for the community. This course is by permission only.
  • PPS 195 – Moral Leadership & Courage: Explores the many developmental facets of students’ moral courage, an outcome of the college experience, and focuses on this topic at individual, organizational, and institutional levels.
  • PPS 190s – Leadership & Civic Engagement: Explores ways students can exercise innovative, resourceful leadership to address important civic issues within and beyond Duke University. This is a Freshman Focus course.