As a faculty member, I’m often asked by students, “Why is competence so important to professional development and advancement?”
My answer is that competence is multifaceted. It includes the skills and abilities one has developed, the degree to which a person is effective in their transactions with their environment, and how successfully he/she performs in that environment.
Competence motivation is concerned with mastery, with goals often associated with positive motivational and learning outcomes (e.g., persistence, increased effort, positive effects, and attributions of success). At Norwich, we understand these connections. That’s why we go to such lengths to ensure our classroom/learning environments are meaningful and personally relevant, and that they provide our students with autonomy of choices in their subject matter focus, and a voice in classroom decisions as appropriate.
In short, we understand the importance of professional competence, we know what is included (and why), what to encourage our learners to explore, and finally, we want competency development and acquisition to be determined and prioritized by our graduate students. They alone know their strengths (existing competencies), and what new Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (competencies) they need to achieve their professional goals and objectives.
The direct correlation that exists between one’s management and leadership competencies, and professional advancement and career success drives our seminar development. Throughout course design and planning we identify and aggregate from a variety of national sources and authorities the competencies (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities/Attitudes) that have been determined to be the most valuable to management practitioners in achieving positive outcomes, e.g., effectiveness, efficiency, transformational organization. These are not only included in the list of outcomes for each weekly study focus, they are used as the basis for better determining the readings from texts and online sources.
National Sources for Performance Boosting Competencies of Nonprofit, Charitable-Philanthropic Management
Management knowledge areas and topics for all courses in the Nonprofit Management concentration in Norwich University’s Master of Public Administration program have been identified by national organizations and/or panels as important competencies needed by professionals in the growing field of nonprofit, charitable-philanthropic management.
The curriculum incorporates as appropriate those competencies and guidelines recommended for graduate study in nonprofit leadership by:
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (“Curricular Guidelines for Graduate Study in Nonprofit Leadership, the Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy” (2007).
- Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (competencies identified as required for the Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential.)
- Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration (CCVA)
- Network for Social Work Management (Human Services Management Competencies)
- Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI)
- Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Program Criteria
- Charitable-Philanthropic Organization Self-Renewing Management (C-POSRM) Model (Knowledge, Skills and Abilities validated and ranked by the Charitable-Philanthropic Organization Self-Renewing Management (C-POSRM) Model study) (Connors, 2013).
The net result of incorporating the study and inculcation of these nationally recognized management competencies is to help prepare and position learners for several potential professional certifications, e.g., CNP, HS-BCP, CVA, PHR/SPHR, and CPHQ. The Norwich Nonprofit Management concentration presents and provides learners with a constellation of courses, each of which has been designed to reflect national management competency standards.