By Todd Cohen
RALEIGH, N.C. — Starting next spring, undergraduates at N.C. State University will be able to graduate with a minor in nonprofit studies.
The Institute for Nonprofits at N.C. State coordinated development of the minor and will market it and recruit and advise students, says Barbara Metelsky, the institute’s director.
The minor, which requires at least six courses, has been designed for students who want to pursue nonprofit careers or volunteer for nonprofits, Metelsky says.
It includes newly created courses, as well as existing courses from a range of academic disciplines that focus on issues related to nonprofits or that have been expanded to include nonprofit perspectives.
Two three-credit courses that will be required for the minor have been piloted for the last year, including “Introduction to nonprofits,” a political science course, and “Nonprofit leadership and development,” a communication course.
Also new are “History of nonprofits, philanthropy and social change,” a history course, along with an “Internship in nonprofit studies” and a “Capstone seminar in nonprofit studies.”
The internship course will require at least 150 hours of work for a nonprofit, while the capstone course is one of several in the minor that will include a “threaded service-learning” component that focuses on five big challenges facing nonprofits.
Those include aligning nonprofits’ mission, methods and resources; balancing individual interests and the common good; earning the public trust; capitalizing on opportunities associated with diversity; and moving beyond charity to systemic change.
Metelsky is co-authoriing a paper on using threaded service-learning in a nonprofit studies minor, and will present it at a conference on nonprofit and philanthropic studies in March in Tempe, Ariz.
Plans for a nonprofit major are not in the works, Metelsky says, although several students in an interdisciplinary program in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at N.C. State have created interdisciplinary majors focusing on nonprofits.
The Institute for Nonprofits has developed additional graduate courses focused on nonprofits, although is not yet working on development of a master’s program.
A new graduate course in nonprofit marketing and public relations was added this semester, and a course in nonprofit theory and research will be offered this spring.
With that course in theory and research, the first doctoral-level course in nonprofit studies to be offered at N.C. State, the university will become the only university in the state offering nonprofit courses ranging from the undergraduate to doctoral levels, she says.
The school’s public-administration program already offers graduate courses in nonprofit management, fund development, grantwriting and financial management, as well as existing courses such as ethics that have been expanded to include nonprofit issues.
And the Institute for Nonprofits is considering new graduate courses such as nonprofit law and the history of nonprofits, and has recently awarded research grants to doctoral students.
“We’re slowly building some curriculum that may one day lead to a master’s,” Metelsky says.