North Park University to Offer Undergraduate Major in Nonprofit Management

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North Park University will become the only college or university in Chicago offering nonprofit management degree programs for undergraduates.

Nonprofit management bachelor's degrees to be offered beginning in fall 2013

CHICAGO (March 11, 2013) – This fall, North Park University undergraduate students can pursue a new academic program leading to either a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree in nonprofit management. The new degrees replace the current academic concentration in nonprofit management offered by the University's School of Business and Nonprofit Management (SBNM), said Dr. Wesley E. Lindahl, the school's dean.

When the major is initiated, the University will be the only higher education institution in the Chicago area offering a nonprofit major for undergraduates. "The change was mainly driven by student feedback, but also driven by our school's strategic plan to be a fully engaged educational institution in the nonprofit area," Lindahl said. Students currently interested in nonprofit management are business and economics majors, and take extra courses in the nonprofit area.

A nonprofit management major, with expanded coursework, enables the University to take advantage of a growing area of interest for incoming students, and is expected to bring about 15 new students per year to North Park, Lindahl explained. Undergraduate students can also declare a minor in nonprofit management.

Students majoring in nonprofit management will learn about fundraising, building relationships with donors, working with boards, managing volunteers, understanding nonprofit budgets and accounting, and marketing in nonprofit organizations, Lindahl said. They will also take classes in sociology, and develop leadership and management skills.

Evan Woods, a sophomore from Overland Park, Kan., is excited about the new nonprofit management major, and plans to switch from his current business major. "This goes back to the reason why I came to North Park. The (University's) mission is 'preparing students for lives of significance and service.'  With nonprofits, the theme is the same." Woods is an intern with a Chicago-based nonprofit, By the Hand Club for Kids, where he works in development.

"I'm working directly with something for a cause and for a purpose," he said. "It's not just to make money. It's to help the neighborhoods in Chicago, and to help kids." Woods has worked with the University's Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management, and is also a member of the University's Nonprofit Leadership Club. He hopes to make a career in nonprofit management working in "green" business initiatives.

The new bachelor of science degree program requires 52 semester hours in nonprofit management courses, said Christa Beall Diefenbach, a member of SBNM's teaching faculty and Axelson Center associate director. Bachelor of science students will also complete requirements for the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance certificate, she said.

"Every student who graduates with this certificate will be a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP), which makes students more competitive when they start their career searches," Diefenbach said. Bachelor of science students will also participate in the University's Nonprofit Leadership Club and attend one Alliance Management Institute, an annual nonprofit management educational symposium, she said. Students who opt for the new bachelor of arts program will take 40 semester hours in nonprofit management and other relevant courses, and could combine the program with another major.

Like the nonprofit sector in general, a growing field in the nonprofit arena is "social entrepreneurship," which employs innovative approaches to address the world’s most pressing social and environmental issues. "This is a hot field right now in the nonprofit sector. Organizations are looking for alternative, sustainable revenue streams. We're going to be offering a class that will focus on just that," Diefenbach said.

Among the new undergraduate degree programs, the University also offers programs leading to a professional certificate in nonprofit management, and a master's degree in nonprofit administration.

Use @npunews to follow North Park University News on Twitter. For further information or resources, contact John Brooks, Director of Media Relations and News, via email or at (773) 244-5522. Learn more about North Park University.

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