The Jacobs Institute Changemaker Challenge. We believe teens and teachers can build a better world.

What if you could build a better world? The Jacobs Institute for Innovation in Education at the University of San Diego is calling for middle- and high-school educators to join us in our effort to make a local and global impact. Through the Jacobs Institute Changemaker Challenge in Spring 2020, educators and teenagers will develop an innovator’s mindset and the skills to create solutions to local or global problems.

Build Solutions Aligned to the Global Goals

UN 17 Global Goals

Using Pactful, students are introduced to the innovator’s mindset, the 17 United Nations Global Goals, and design thinking. Students form teams to identify a local or global problem that feels relevant to them and then work through three phases of a design thinking curriculum to develop solutions.

What is the Jacobs Institute Changemaker Challenge?

The Jacobs Institute for Innovation in Education in the School of Leadership and Education Sciences at the University of San Diego

In Spring 2020, we will host the Jacobs Institute Changemaker Challenge. This worldwide event will support educators and teenagers in developing social good solutions. The event will culminate in a pitch competition with awards supporting top ideas.


Kids jumping up and down in excitement

The intrinsic reward of making a difference in the world is a great incentive; however, we wanted to make it extra rewarding by providing a tangible award!

  • 1st place winners will receive $500 for the student team and $500 for their teacher
  • 2nd–5th place winners will receive $250 for the student teams and $250 for their teacher
  • “Storyteller” Awards – $25 prizes for sharing project and team progress on social media with hashtag #jichangemakers

All prize awards will be provided in Visa gift cards.


Table with multiple people and laptops open
  • A middle- or high-school educator must sign up and coordinate the event with student teams. Non-profits and other educational organizations serving teens can also apply. If you are a student, please ask your teacher to sign up so you can participate.
  • Every student must be at least 13 years old and in middle or high school.
  • Educators and students must use a Google Account—preferably G Suite for Education—to authenticate and document progress in the Pactful app.
  • Because our goal is to increase access to innovation culture with underrepresented populations, we strongly encourage diversity of race and gender in student teams.
  • Participation is limited to 40 educators and their students. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through January 15, 2020.


  • January 15, 2020: Deadline for educators to submit their application to participate.  Participation is limited to 40 educators. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through January 15.
  • January 16, 2020:  Virtual launch event and training (recording and slides) for educators from 4–5:30 PM PST. During this training, we will discuss the overall event and introduce Pactful, the UN Global Goals, and the first of the three design thinking phases (Understand).
  • January 17, 2020–April 30, 2020: Educators work with their students using the Pactful app through the three stages of design thinking and a classroom pitch event. Educators will be invited to virtual webinars from 4–5 PM PST to support their ongoing efforts. Webinars will be recorded and archived for later viewing if you are unable to attend.
  • May 22, 2020 (previously May 1st): Deadline for educators to submit recorded Pitches for 1–3 teams (no more than 5 minutes) for consideration in the final event and prizes.
    • Important: For more details, check our our post in the Pactful Community.
    • Please do not submit personally identifiable information (PII) about students.
    • The Jacobs Institute will evaluate the submissions using the same Pitch Rubric that is the final “Do” activity in the Pitch phase of the app.
    • Submissions will close at 11:59 PM Pacific Time on May 22.
  • By June 3, 2020 (previously May 16): Winners announced!

Extra Credit

Educators in the challenge are eligible to apply for up to 3 graduate extension credits, if needed, for employment purposes. The University of San Diego extension charges a standard rate of $75 per credit. These credits can also be applied to the new Educational Innovation Certificate, a 12-credit program designed to support professionals seeking to advance to the next level in their careers. For more information on the certificate program, please contact Karly Wilson or call 619-260-4510.


You can help build a better world by donating to support our work. We are thankful for all contributions, no matter how small. You can make a difference!