Master of Nonprofit and Civic Leadership Course Descriptions
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.