Student Spotlight: Alex Lewis

February 9, 2018 on 3:20 pm | In Student Spotlight | No Comments

Why Non-Profit Management?

When I first came to UW-Whitewater as a freshman, like most of my peers, my degree was undeclared.  I knew I had an interest in people, specifically how they internalize their environment, justify their worldview, and how this influences their relationships to others.  I had a desire to understand people with backgrounds unlike my own.  I started in psychology, dabbled in sociology and theology, and eventually fell into the business school.  Now I am in my final year pursuing a major in general management.

Management offers job versatility across all industries, and yet, I am still unsure which direction this education will carry me. I was ecstatic when the course Foundations of Nonprofit & Nongovernmental Organizations became an option for my senior electives.  To understand people, their needs, goals, and their own purpose of life is important to me.  I want to help those individuals that otherwise might not have been given a chance to be heard, and I, in the meantime, will make the personal connections and experiences I would not find anywhere else.

The scope of the non-profit sector is vast, but wielding my education as my weapon, I hope to find my place in it.

Nonprofit@UWW: The Genesis Story

January 29, 2018 on 12:31 pm | In UWW Program | No Comments

The College of Business and Economics (CoBE) at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater began laying the groundwork for a nonprofit and nongovernmental program in its Department of Management in 2014.  Our first faculty member, Carol A. Brunt, Ph.D. was hired in 2015 to initiate program development.  Dr. Brunt has professional experience in international development and environmental NGOs, especially on the African continent.

Within that first year, she developed an introductory graduate course, “Social Transformation and NPO/NGO Management,” and began recruitment for a second faculty member. Ruth Hansen, MJ joined the College in Fall 2016.  Ms. Hansen (soon to be Dr. Ruth – she anticipates her Ph.D. this summer) has professional experience as a fundraiser in the US.  We also developed an undergraduate introductory course, “Foundations of Nonprofit and Nongovernmental Organizations.”

Both courses provide students with foundational knowledge of the NPO sector. Initial student feedback has been enthusiastic, and with the introduction of an undergraduate emphasis in Nonprofit Management as one of the options for the General Management major, nonprofit education has officially joined UW-W’s Management curriculum.

Our program team also includes Megan Matthews, MFA.  Ms. Matthews has a professional background in fundraising and in arts management.  Together, we are focusing on well-founded program development, including curriculum design, course instruction, student inquiries, community partnerships, and interdisciplinary projects.  Next up: developing an undergraduate major in Nonprofit Management, guided by the NACC curriculum recommendations.  Building on current strengths, we will start by focusing on HR management, leadership, grants management and fundraising.

The research agenda of our program team focuses on aspects of nonprofit management, using multiple research methodologies.  Dr. Brunt examines strategic human resource management (SHRM); career development and adult learning theory; and social unionism in the nonprofit sector.  Ms. Hansen researches fundraising, focusing on individual fundraiser agency, communication, and socially marginalized client groups; donor behavior; and policy and regulation of nonprofits.

Our diverse interests, experiences, and multidisciplinary approaches lead us to eagerly anticipate collaborative, dynamic programming within our fledgling Nonprofit Management program.  This past year, CoBE sponsored its first Nonprofit Week on campus, featuring a research presentation by Doug Ihrke and Crystal Mederies Ellis of the Helen Bader Institute (HBI) at UW-Milwaukee, and a panel presentation on Careers in the Nonprofit and Public Sector. In February, we’ll be presenting in HBI’s Colloquium Series at UW-Milwaukee.

Both Dr. Brunt and Ms. Hansen moved to Wisconsin recently, and are enthusiastically getting to know the nonprofit community in southeast Wisconsin.  This includes site visits with local organizations, as well as engaging with local chapters of associations serving nonprofit professionals.  Ms. Matthews is a Wisconsin native, and is active in integrating arts in communities across the state.

Follow us on Twitter at @Ruth_K_Hansen and our blog at Nonprofit@UWW.

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