Nonprofit studies – Master’s degree eyed

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — N.C. State University aims to boost its graduate curriculum in nonprofit management, including creation of a certificate program, specialization within the existing master’s degree in public administration and possibly a new master’s degree in nonprofit organizations.

With $45,000 in planning funds donated by a handful of foundations, the school’s public administration program has been studying expansion of its existing handful of courses in nonprofit management.

Over the next year, those courses will be strengthened with the addition of new courses in fund development and financial management, says Liz O’Sullivan, director of the school’s public administration program.

She says the school plans to create a graduate certificate program in nonprofit management. Duke University, by comparison, offers a continuing education program in nonprofit management.

As part of the planning effort, Jean Davis, an adjunct faculty member in the master’s program in public administration, has reviewed nonprofit degree and certificate programs at other universities. Her research will form the basis for exploring a new master’s degree and other support for the nonprofit sector.

A new degree would have to be reviewed by the general administration of the University of North Carolina system.

“The barriers between the nonprofit and public sector are evaporating, so it’s really important that people be knowledgeable about how work is done in both sectors,” says O’Sullivan.

Another goal, she says, is “to improve the management skills of people working in the nonprofit sector, which is increasingly pressured to be accountable for their programs and their financial management.”

Funds for the planning effort were contributed by the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, North Carolina Community Foundation, Goodnight Family Foundation, and two funds of the Triangle Community Foundation — the Josephus Daniels Charitable Fund and the James F. Goodmon Family Fund.

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