Multi-Award Winning CSI/UNSW Social Entrepreneurship Teaching Team

Ben Pecotich

Two years ago I was invited to join the Centre for Social Impact (CSI)/UNSW Business School as a Social Entrepreneur-in-Residence on the Social Entrepreneurship Practicum (COMM5030) – a capstone project in a Master of Commerce.

The course helps the students learn through doing by working on a real project with a social enterprise client.

Multi-Award Winning Teaching Team!

It’s official, we’re a multi-award winning teaching team! Last month we received the UNSW Vice-Chancellor Award for Teaching Excellence in the Programs that Enhance Learning (Postgraduate Coursework Teaching) category – at a socially distanced award ceremony.

In August 2020 we also received the UNSW Business School’s Marcus Cohen Award for Teaching Excellence.

I love being part of this awesome teaching team that has grown rapidly over the past couple of years. I first got involved in 2017 when the course ran for the first time and Dynamic4 was one of the social enterprise clients for a team of three students. I was asked to participate by Lucas Olmos who I knew through the B Corp community. At the time he was running the course solo with amazing support from Associate Professor Leanne Piggott, CSI UNSW’s Education Co-Director.

The course quickly got a great reputation and demand grew. This led to Heather Bailey being brought into the team, who brought great insights and ideas for the program… and then Lucas and Leanne invited me into the team a few months later to lead the second stream that needed to be opened to meet demand.

In 2019 Sandy Killick & Sandeep Kirpalani joined the team and we opened a third stream – a total cohort of over 90 students in Term 3 last year. Tom Ray (who was also a client for a couple of terms) & Kate Percival joined the team during Summer School – and throughout 2020 the team has grown with the addition of Kam Ozonaran & Darcy Small. We’re also a team who really enjoys each other’s company!

As a team we have deep social enterprise, NFP, and business experience – and also a lot of founder, coaching, adult learning, and facilitation experience. We’re not a team of academics. We all know our theory but the key value we bring is how to practically apply the theory. The program is a UNSW approved Work Integrated Learning (WIL) course which “engages students in authentic, purposeful, partnered, supervised and assessed work learning experiences that integrate the theory of academic learning with its application in practice as part of a program of study.”

I didn’t go to university and don’t have a degree, but I’ve always been committed to lifelong learning and I’m learning every day. Sometimes it feels slightly surreal to be teaching at a Masters level at an internationally renowned university. I’m glad my real-world experience and coaching is valued.

How It Works

Like all the “teaching” I do and the programs I’ve designed and delivered over many years, the Social Entrepreneurship Practicum is a project-based experiential learning program. It’s all about learning through doing. This is a capstone course for the Master of Commerce (MCom) Global Sustainability & Social Enterprise specialisation and an elective for some other MCom streams. For most of the students this is different to anything they’ve done in their education and for many is the final thing they do before graduating with their Masters. Most of the students have done their Masters straight after their undergrad degree, so they’ve spent several years as passive consumers of content without actually applying it. Our course can be bit of a shock.

We use a flipped classroom format where the students are expected to be leaders of their own learning, with coaching and support from the teaching team. The core theory is covered by online modules each week before class and the classes with around 30 students are workshops where we coach teams of 3-5 students as they work on a real project with a social enterprise client.

Through this experience they learn and apply practical human-centred design & innovation, critical thinking, collaboration, and project management skills… and most importantly systems thinking, theory of change, impact models, and measuring success in outcomes for people and the planet, not just profit.

There are also business readiness sessions covering practical topics and Heather brings in great guest speakers to share their experience.

The course is also key to UNSW’s commitment to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education (UNPRME). “PRME engages business and management schools to ensure they provide future leaders with the skills needed to balance economic and sustainability goals, while drawing attention to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and aligning academic institutions with the work of the UN Global Compact”.

Why I Do It

The Social Entrepreneurship Practicum and working with CSI/UNSW Business School clearly aligns with Dynamic4’s purpose, theory of change, and the impact we work to contribute to.

Organisations and leaders solve problems that matter in more empathic and innovative ways that deliver real value and measures success in outcomes for people, our planet, and profit/our economy… and

People have increasing quality of life and are happier. Our planet (land, water, air, nature) is cleaner and healthier.

Dynamic4 Vision & Impact

A couple of key things we do to work toward those impacts are:

  • Coach and advise social enterprise founders, leaders, and designers
  • Design and deliver project-based experiential leadership and innovation programs


During the last workshop of each term, I let the students know I’m counting on all of them to help me deliver on this vision and impact. As they go through their careers and eventually become leaders, I encourage them to reflect back on this experience and to make decisions that are more empathic and measure success not just in profit – but outcomes for people and our planet.

I’m looking forward to my third year as Social Entrepreneur-in-Residence…