Master of Nonprofit and Civic Leadership Curriculum

The Master of Nonprofit and Civic Leadership requires 30 hours of credit, typically taken in 10 courses. With the exception of the two capstone experience courses (MNCL 701 and 702), courses can be taken in any sequence by students officially admitted to the program. The required core courses account for 24 credit hours, and include some coursework shared with the MA in Communication program. Six additional credit hours that can be tailored to meet a student’s individual personal and professional goals will be selected in consultation with her/his advisor. Credit cannot be given for a course for which the student is not registered. Credit cannot be claimed more than once for the same course, with the exception of approved internship course credit.

Internships

A professional internship can give a student an enormous advantage in a job search. Students must have completed coursework appropriate for the internship experience and must be able to demonstrate potential academic and professional benefit from the internship plan.  In addition to completing the on-site internship, students will be asked to provide faculty supervisors with weekly reports and to write a reflection paper at the end of the experience. 


Required Courses (24 hours)

MNCL 601: Foundations of Nonprofit and Civic Leadership
3 credit hours

Nonprofits have always played a vital role in the health and wellbeing of our nation. The influence and size of the industry has gone through many phases, and has experienced dramatic growth over the past decade. Organizations now have higher levels of accountability and scrutiny. This course examines the history, traditions and values, and current issues facing the sector. Through a variety of readings, case studies, and guest speakers, students will gain knowledge of the sector’s evolution, purpose, strengths and challenges.

MNCL 602: Governance and Executive Leadership
3 credit hours

Nonprofit organizations have unique purposes and approaches, unlike much of the business world. This class will prepare students for effective staff and board leadership. Students will gain knowledge on board and volunteer motivation, recruitment and retention, and best practices for creating a diverse and committed organizational leadership team. Class will include techniques of inspiration, motivation, conflict resolution, and consensus building.

MNCL 603: Fundraising and Philanthropy
3 credit hours

Fundraising is an essential component of most tax-exempt organizations. Raising money for a cause is extremely competitive and can be quite challenging for organizations dependent on donations. Ever-changing laws and donor expectations require leaders to be well informed and creative in the area of fund development. This course examines fundraising and philanthropy history, trends, and techniques from the eyes of individuals, corporations, and foundations. Students will learn from case studies, readings, firsthand research and guest practitioners. Students will work directly with a local nonprofit to produce fundraising materials. 

MNCL 604: Financial Oversight for Nonprofit and Civic Organizations
3 credit hours

Most nonprofit organizations are small operations and don’t have the luxury of employing a CFO or a financial expert. For that reason, Executive Directors must have the knowledge to oversee the organization’s financial component. This course provides a foundation for accounting and effective financial management. Students will learn to manage an organization’s fiscal resources by focusing on policies, controls, statements, budgeting and reporting. Students will learn from hands-on exercises, real world case studies, and guest lecturers with industry experience.

COMM 604: Seminar in Communication Ethics
3 credit hours

This course provides an opportunity to explore the ethical dimensions of human communication with respect to interpersonal, public, and mass communication. It emphasizes normative ethics in communication studies with specific application to personal and professional venues.

MNCL 666: Social Advocacy
3 credit hours

Nonprofit and Civic organizations do great work, which results in great stories—lives changed, situations turned around, and communities restored. One of the keys to success for the organizations is the ability to share those stories in a clear and compelling way. When done well, the stories attract new donors and volunteers and strengthen the organizations. This course will explore the various aspects of messaging, including formation of a message platform, capturing powerful video and images, making public presentations, and working with the media.

MNCL 701: Social Impact Assessment
3 credit hours

Any person or group that is implementing a program to improve a situation should know how to measure outcomes - using evidence to assess effectiveness. Funders demand that organizations assess their work and report findings. Doing good is no longer good enough. It is more important to demonstrate what happened as a result of the activity. This class will enable students to determine appropriate metrics for impact assessment, then to collect and analyze appropriate data and, finally, to report their findings to various stakeholders.

MNCL 702: Leading Community Change
3 credit hours

Organizational leaders need an understanding of the history and importance of community change. Most communities are filled with residents who have diverse cultural beliefs – all which have an influence on how social issues are perceived and addressed. This course examines changes models that include activism, religion, labor, civil rights, and politics. The culminating experience for the course will be the implementation and assessment of a community/organization based project in collaboration with a community partner.

Elective Courses (6 hours)

COMM 607: Seminar in Organizational Communication
3 credit hours

This course provides an overview of the major theoretical perspectives and concepts that enhance our understanding of organizational communication processes. Readings and case studies address such topics as communication networks, superior-subordinate relations, organizational culture and socialization experiences.

COMM 639: Strategic Issues Management
3 credit hours

Examines the role of “strategic issues management” as a critical component of an organization’s public relations planning processes and practices. Readings will explore the challenges associated with institutional participation in public policy debates, the expectations for corporate responsibility, the complexities of public response to corporate messages and the strategies that can be emphasized for image restoration. An extensive use of case studies will allow students to shape institutional and special interest messages as well as participate in policy debates.

COMM 661: Entrepreneurial Communication
3 credit hours

This course examines the nexus of risk, opportunity and innovation metaphors, leadership behavior, and technology across numerous entrepreneurial experiences. Case studies provide extended application of how entrepreneurs sell and manage their work by way of communication praxes both in profit and social entrepreneurial venues.

COMM 682: Social Media Strategy
3 credit hours

This course provides an intensive hands-on experience through workshop and research silos of marketing, media management, information technology, entrepreneurship, and culture. It begins with a boot camp in several practical and well-used social media such as blogs, microblogs, networks, book-marking, wikis, and Web 3.0 content. Seated weekends will include full days in media usage, integration, and research, traditional and contemporary marketing campaigns with social media, cultural assessments of social media, and a review of the information architecture of various social media techniques. Students will gain knowledge in the unique environment of the social media realm including mashups, apps, games, viral behavior, podcasting, vlogging, streaming video sharing, variations on social bookmarking, cross pinging, SEO and page rank, social optimizing and more. The course provides students with specific, in-depth knowledge about the most used forms of social media, a review of the "cutting edge" of social media, as well as a vision for keeping up with this ever-evolving phenomenon. Students will understand Web 2.0 and look ahead to what Web 3.0 is already providing.

COMM 683: Advanced Social Media Strategy
3 credit hours

Students must have completed COMM 682 at least two years prior to enrolling in COMM 683. This course provides an intensive hands-on experience through workshop and research silos of marketing, media management, information technology, entrepreneurship, and culture. It begins with a boot camp in several practical and well-used social media such as blogs, microblogs, networks, book-marking, wikis, and Web 3.0 content. Seated weekends will include full days in media usage, integration, and research, traditional and contemporary marketing campaigns with social media, cultural assessments of social media, and a review of the information architecture of various social media techniques.

COMM 688: Grant Writing for Social Impact
3 credit hours

This course provides hands-on work related to numerous grant writing issues organizations face daily. Advanced Grant Writing offers an in- depth examination of contemporary grant research and construction praxis.

COMM 690: Special Topics
3 credit hours

Selected Topics are courses of an experimental nature that provide students a wide variety of study opportunities and experiences. Selected Topics offer both the department and the students the opportunity to explore areas of special interest in a structured classroom setting. Selected Topics courses (course numbers 290, 390, 490) will have variable titles and vary in credit from 1-3 semester hours. Selected Topic courses may not be taken as a Directed Study offering.

COMM 697 & 698: Internship
3 credit hours

These courses are acceptable as professional electives courses. Requires the approval of the program director.

MNCL 691: Research
1-3 credit hours

Students who wish to enroll in 691 Research for independent study must, with the assistance of the supervising teacher, prepare a written statement defining the purpose and procedures of study. This written statement must be approved by the student’s advisor and by the director of the graduate program.