changemaker attributes at northampton for graduate employability (the Change project)

Our Changemaker in the Curriculum initiative is a series of ongoing projects looking at ways to make our Changemaker narrative a meaningful, lived narrative for our student body. Building on our EmbedCM and CEESI projects, we are pleased to announce the start of the next phase of embedding Changemaker across the disciplines. Changemaker Attributes at Northampton for Graduate Employability (ChANGE) will explore how we develop key skills, behaviours and capabilities in our students and how we define our graduates through the development of a graduate attribute statement and a framework for the development of graduate attributes.


Start by watching this short video about our 2013/2014 approach to Education for Social Innovation and Social Impact.


education for social innovation and social impact: 

A summary of our work so far...

How do we conceptualise Changemaker?

As an AshokaU Changemaker Campus, we are encouraged to understand and embrace our own definition(s) of what it means to be a Changemaker.

In April 2014, we carried out a phenomenographic study with academic staff to discover our different understandings of Changemaker. Five qualitatively different 'ways of knowing' Changemaker were found:

  1. Changemaker as institutional strategy
  2. Changemaker as employability
  3. Changemaker as critical thinking, problem solving and perspective shifting
  4. Changemaker as social betterment
  5. Changemaker as personal transformation

We theorised an 'outcome space' to look like:

Fig 1. University teachers' conceptions of Changemaker (n=30)

Read paper 1 here (Alden Rivers, Nie and Armellini, 2015)


Discover what others are doing!


Download our 2013/2014 case studies publication (click image).



Watch these short videos to find out how our staff are engaging with Changemaker in the curriculum.

Changemaker in Business

Changemaker in Photography

Changemaker in Psychology

Download a copy of the final CEESI project report (click image) or find out more here.


The CEESI project was supported by the HEA's Strategic Enhancement Programme.


Changemaker in Education

Changemaker in the Police


What skills, attributes and behaviours are associated with Changemaker?

Understanding the different ways we conceptualise Changemaker gives us a foundation from which to consider what skills, behaviours and attributes we relate to social innovation and social impact. A second study (read paper 2 here: Alden Rivers, Armellini and Nie, in press) led us to propose Table 1.

Table 1. Attributes for Social Innovation and Social Impact (click here for full pdf)

We are excited to pilot these 14 attributes in our curriculum development and new programme design over the next academic year. Please feel free to refer to Table 1 in creating aims, objectives and learning outcomes for your own programmes. We will be disseminating further guidance, including a developmental skills framework for Education for Social Innovation and Social Impact in the next few months.


References and contact

Alden Rivers, B., et al. (forthcoming) 'Social innovation education: Towards a framework for learning design', Higher Education Skills and Work Based Learning.

Alden Rivers, B., Armellini, A. and Nie, M. (in press) 'Embedding social innovation and social impact across the disciplines: Identifying 'Changemaker' attributes', Higher Education Skills and Work Based Learning.

Alden Rivers, B., Nie, M. and Armellini, A. (2015)  'University teachers' conceptions of Changemaker: A starting point for embedding social innovation in learning and teaching', Education + Training.

Alden Rivers, B., Hazenberg, R. and Bajwa-Patel, M. (2015) ‘Barriers and enablers of youth as drivers of social change: university students’ perspectives’, Paper presented at the Journal of Youth Studies Conference, Denmark, 30 March-1 April, 2015.

Videography by David Christian Green

Cover artwork by James Smith

For more information on this project: Rachel.Maxwell@northampton.ac.uk

Copyright Institute of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, University of Northampton