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Denise Crossan

Lang Visiting Professor

Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility

Peace & Conflict Studies


  2. Phone: (610) 957-6165
  3. Lang Center 117

Dr. Denise Crossan was appointed as the Eugene Lang Visiting Professor for Issues of Social Change in September 2015, and will continue to serve in this role until end of Spring Semester 2021.  She has worked with the Lang Center to create the new Social Innovation Lab that aims to “create a Swarthmore Community of Social Innovators who apply knowledge to needs” Social Innovation Lab @ The Lang Center  Dr. Crossan teaches social innovation, social entrepreneurship, Design Thinking methodology and project & strategic management.   Prior to joining Swarthmore College,  Dr. Crossan was an Assistant Professor in Social Entrepreneurship in Trinity College Dublin's Trinity Business School.   As an academic and practitioner, Dr. Crossan’s experience spans working directly with grass root community organizations building their own social enterprise solutions in post-conflict context, to working with multiple stakeholders to investigate, develop and advise on practice and policy issues associated with fostering social innovation and social entrepreneurship in numerous context, nationally and internationally.  

From Fall Semester 2019, Professor Crossan will deliver a new 2 Semester Engaged Scholarship course entitled, "PEAC060A&B: Social Innovation for Peace".  Swarthmore Students will collaborate with international peace and conflict Social Entrepreneur partners in Colombia, Northern Ireland, and Japan to co-design and deliver a reciprocal learning social innovation project that works toward addressing the legacy of conflict in their respective communities. 

The learning goals for the course are to:

  • Gain a deep inter-disciplinary insight into the post-conflict context; examining the historical, social, economic, political and cultural dynamics of post-conflict communities,
  • Understand post-conflict community relations; stakeholders, players, influencers and leaders for peace.
  • Explore peace processes and programs from a policy and infrastructure perspective and its effect on building community responses.
  • Understand and explore the role of social innovation and social entrepreneurship as a process for building peace in post-conflict communities
  • Gain insight and experience in project planning; using Design Thinking methodologies and project management to co-design, develop, and deliver social innovation prototypes in an international context.

At the beginning of the course in Fall Semester, students will be matched with a social entrepreneur partner in-country, and through classes, case study analysis, and peer learning discussion, will begin to identify,  develop, and prototype solutions to critical post-conflict related issues. During winter break and over summer, students will spend time in-country working directly with their current community partners to test their solution prototypes.

The "Social Innovation for Peace" Program is delivered in partnership with the Peace & Conflict Studies program,  the Social Innovation Lab at the Lang Center, and sponsored by the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.