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The University of Utah MPA Program’s Relationships with Nonprofit Organizations J. Steven Ott, University of Utah Christopher A. Simon, University of Utah.

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Presentation on theme: "The University of Utah MPA Program’s Relationships with Nonprofit Organizations J. Steven Ott, University of Utah Christopher A. Simon, University of Utah."— Presentation transcript:

1 The University of Utah MPA Program’s Relationships with Nonprofit Organizations J. Steven Ott, University of Utah Christopher A. Simon, University of Utah Melissa Y. Hall, University of Utah 1

2 Teaching and Learning Research Community Engagement Curricular CE Scholarship of Engagement Research CE 2

3 3 “Dimensions” of Higher Education that Underlie All Varieties of “Curricular CE” Liberal Education Professional Education Civic Engagement 3

4 The University of Utah MPA Program Has Operationalized these 3 Dimensions in Its Curricular CE Liberal Education e.g., Participating in Building Civil Society Professional Education e.g., Preparing for Public Service Careers; Developing Personal Frames of Professional Public Service Ethics Civic Engagement e.g., Forming Social Capital Through Nonprofit Organizations as “Manifestations of Community” 4

5 Our Paper, “The University of Utah MPA Program’s Relationships with Nonprofit Organizations” presents theory and literature about how different forms of Curricular CE contribute to –  Liberal Education  Professional Education  Civic Engagement Please see the NASPAA Conference wiki for a draft. 5

6 For This Panel Today Practicalities How our MPA program has developed and maintained deep and close relationships with individuals and organizations in the nonprofit sector to the advantage of our students, our graduates, our faculty and, we believe, to many nonprofit organizations and our community(s). 6

7 As you already know– but may hope otherwise – There is no single or one-time way to build and maintain relationships with nonprofits. It requires responsible long-term commitment, involvement, and active community service by the MPA faculty and staff. 7

8 5 Primary “Structured” Means for On-going Relationship Building and Maintenance 1)MPA Program Concentration in Nonprofit Organizations 2)The UofU “Nonprofit Academy for Excellence” 3)The Utah Nonprofits Association (UNA) 4)Utah Nonprofit “Chatters” 5)Distinguished Practitioner/Lecturer “In Residence” 8

9 (1) The University of Utah MPA Program Concentration in Nonprofit Organizations The MPA program’s relationships with the nonprofit sector started when the “Nonprofit Concentration” was launched in Two regular MPA faculty members and several MPA graduates with extensive experience led the initiative. - We quickly began inviting selected leaders from across Utah’s nonprofit sector to serve as guest speakers and, in a few cases, as instructors. - The program’s visibility, credibility, and networks of relationships snowballed rapidly. - The resulting relationships have created gratifying opportunities for MPA students and faculty. 9

10 (2) The UofU “Nonprofit Academy for Excellence” – short courses The UofU’s Division of Continuing Education offers a non- credit certificate program for leaders and managers of nonprofit organizations. Several MPA faculty and staff regularly teach in the Nonprofit Academy and build on-going relationships that open opportunities with nonprofit managers/employees for community-based research as well as for internships and S/L. 10

11 (3) The Utah Nonprofits Association (UNA) A statewide “umbrella membership association” for 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. An array of services and benefits to its member organizations, including training, insurance packages, and access to human resource consultants at greatly reduced prices. UNA was housed with the MPA program and contracted for support services for years until it outgrew the space. MPA faculty and Nonprofit Academy staff have served in leadership roles on the UNA Board of Trustees for about two decades. At UNA’s 20 th Anniversary celebration last fall the on-stage President, Past-President, Vice-President, and two other major speakers were MPA graduates. I was a speaker. Access to a rich variety of nonprofit connections that have created endless opportunities for students. 11

12 (4) Utah Nonprofit “Chatters” The UofU MPA Program and Nonprofit Academy created and co-sponsor an ongoing series of “Utah Nonprofit Chatters” – with the Utah Non Profits Association and the Community Foundation of Utah. The Chatters are informal discussion-format meetings that provide nonprofit organization leaders with information about and personal connections with faculty and staff at Utah’s universities who teach and conduct research on the nonprofit sector and nonprofit organization management – and thus are potential resources for their organizations. The Chatters also discuss and assess education and training needs for employees, board members and volunteers. 12

13 (5) Distinguished Practitioner/Lecturer “In Residence” In 2011, a soft-funded Distinguished Practitioner/Lecturer in Residence. Recruited the founding Director of the Community Foundation of Utah, a dynamic leader in nonprofit development, governance, advocacy and social entrepreneurship. She is teaching three applied MPA courses this year. Working individually with selected students on Major Research Papers on topics in her areas of strength. 13

14 Our Distinguished Practitioner/Lecturer in Residence has helped the MPA program establish more visibility, credibility, and even deeper ties with nonprofit organizations across the state and across the sub-sectors. Opened doors for students and faculty beyond all expectations. She has inspired and energized MPA students with hands-on learning in and out of the classroom. 14

15 These 5 structured relationship-building and maintaining strategies have opened countless doors for MPA students to experience rich Liberal Education Professional Education Civic Engagement Particularly through Service Learning (S/L) and Internships 15

16 Service Learning (S/L) - Most instructors of courses about nonprofit organizations have found S/L to be an effective approach to learning and use it by choice. - A required course on the nonprofit sector and organizations is officially designated as a S/L course. Everyone who teaches PADMN 6550 is required to utilize S/L. But the approaches to S/L – the models – vary widely. 16

17 Team Projects or Tasks Arranged by the Host Organization and the Instructor The “traditional” S/L model The instructor works with a nonprofit organization manager to identify projects that will benefit the organization and provide appropriate learning opportunities for the students. Examples An applied policy research analysis, Representation and reporting on bills during a legislative session, An organizational analysis that proposes structural or operational changes. 17

18 Team Projects and Tasks Typically, The team presents interim reports to the instructor and class, and Formal reports to the organization’s leadership at the end of the semester. The host organization oversees the teams and projects, and reports periodically to the instructor. Completes evaluations. Organized team projects are thus excellent means for providing opportunities for civic engagement and professional education. 18

19 Individualized “Immersion” in a Nonprofit Organization Less structured. Often a richer approach to civic engagement, liberal education and professional education. Students have “psychological ownership” of their placement. Students find, select, and volunteer with an organization of their choosing. Declare their placements to the instructor. The instructor helps with placements only for the few who have difficulty finding their own. Occasionally, the host organization does not know the student is using the organization for learning. 19

20 Individualized Model Students submit weekly journals that directly relate events or observations they have experienced or talked about with supervisors or peers at their placement to concepts and theories specifically from that week’s assigned reading. The journals – and the analysis required to write them – provide rich material for classroom discussions about – Praxis – not theory alone, and Comparative PA -- between government and nonprofits and/or between different types of nonprofits 20

21 Examples - Individualized “Immersion” Model – from One Class in Fall 2010 Bountiful Community Food Co-op Splore (Outdoor adventures for children and youth with disabilities) Disability Law Center Utah Legal Services Guadalupe School (Adult education, primarily for immigrants and refugees) Make-A-Wish Foundation Utah Nonprofits Association First Step House (Substance abuse) Rocky Mountain Care/Hospice and Community Faith in Action The Road Home (Homeless Shelter) Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Utah Health Policy Project Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund International Rescue Committee Salt Lake Community Action Program Davis Arts Center Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation American Red Cross of Greater Salt Lake Utah Coalition of La Raza Wasatch Mountain Amateur Hockey Association Girl Scouts of Utah Montessori Community Foundation Choice Humanitarian (International service trips, similar to Peace Corps but shorter) Humane Society of Utah March of Dimes of Utah 21

22 Internships Required of MPA students if no employment in public or nonprofit organizations. One-semester full-time or two-semesters half- time. Must be paid. Three credits. 22

23 Internship Placements – Recent Examples Artspace (Renovates warehouses, builds low-cost residences and studios, and provides selected social services for artists) Utah Symphony & Opera Utah Food Bank American Red Cross Make-A-Wish Foundation of Utah Girl Scouts of Utah First Step House (Substance abuse) Friends of the Great Salt Lake Utah Animal Adoption Center LDS Church, Office of Public Affairs Utah Commission on Volunteers University of Utah Office of Central Development 23

24 Examples of Resulting Recent Permanent Positions Artspace, Inc. Utah Symphony & Opera Utah Food Bank Make-A-Wish Foundation First Step House (Substance abuse) LDS Church, Office of Public Affairs 24

25 Implications of the Relationships for Liberal Education Nonprofit organizations are essential elements of “civil society” – they are part of the fabric of civil society, and civil society is an essential component of liberal education. Professional Education Permanent jobs; direct experience with, for example, developing\ personal frames of public service ethics.  Civic Engagement 25


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