3 Things to Know about Norwich's MPA Nonprofit Management Concentration

by Tracy D. Connors, PhD on 8/4/15 10:40 AM

test-npm-imageQ: What's different about Norwich's Nonproft Management Concentration?

Norwich University's Master of Public Administration program launched the Nonprofit Management Concentration this past spring, and offers students a series of five elective courses to choose from in this field. The concentration organizes course offerings around management competencies that have been ranked by practitioner executives as most valuable and contributory to achieving improved organizational performance results in all three major management domains, i.e., Effectiveness, Efficiency and Transformational Organizational Environment. Course goals and objectives emphasize the acquisition of these competencies (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities/Attitudes).

The offerings represent a significant shift and improvement over the dominant model for curriculum development in this field. For many years, higher education offerings in this area focused on courses designed to include and reflect knowledge aggregated in general management areas shared by all not for-profits: e.g., fundraising, volunteer administration, governance, legal and regulatory.

Meanwhile, pressures on nonprofits to improve social ROI, effectiveness, efficiency, accountability, and transparency have resulted in a growing need for management and practitioner professional development that focuses not simply on Knowledge acquisition, but on the acquisition of those Competencies most needed to bring about those organizational results and outcomes.

The Norwich model incorporates management actions and activities identified by professional executives as improving effectiveness, efficiency, and the transformational organizational environment necessary to achieve enhanced performance. The new courses are grounded in the latest management practice and theory (e.g., a self-renewing management model), and incorporate as educational objectives materials and experience that confer those essential KSA’s needed by today's professional managers of charitable, philanthropic organizations.

Q: How does the Norwich NPM Model help contribute to organizational sustainability and performance excellence?

Norwich's nonprofit management concentration focuses on helping students acquire management competencies contributing to organizational sustainability and performance excellence – Effectiveness, Efficiency, Transformational Organization – in the face of ever-evolving, changing operating environments.

These skills are essential for helping organizations successfully adapt and evolve. The reality facing most C-P/NP organizations requires they stay “new,” as in avoiding becoming irrelevant, out of touch, or unaware, or failing to meet client/customer needs and expectations.

Self-Renewing organizations in particular have learned that they must operate at high levels of competence in both the Condition (Mission/Effectiveness) and Time (Environment/Efficiency) dimensions. In addition, they must create and sustain the enabling organizational environment needed to motivate, empower, and support the people on whom the services and customer satisfaction--results--depend.

Management actions and activities most valuable to NPO/C-PO Executives are those that are most effective in helping them reach sustained, superior performance and results—survival and even, “thrival,” –achieving and sustaining improved organizational performance in the face of changing, complex, competitive, and uncertain operating environments.  

Addressing these areas is inherent in the Charitable-Philanthropic Organization Self-Renewing Management Model (Connors, 2013), which is a key element of Norwich’s NPM curriculum.

Q: What courses are in the nonprofit management concentration?

Students in the nonprofit management concentration will complete Leading the Nonprofit Management course followed by choosing one additional course:

  • Leading the Nonprofit Organization – Topics covered include strategic planning, fundraising, stakeholder engagement, governance, marketing, and performance management.
  • Nonprofit Administration – Focuses heavily on competencies and KSA’s needed by senior managers heavily engaged in planning, deployment, and evaluation of systems, services, and programs in nonprofit organizations.
  • Transformational Organizational Culture, Human Resource Development and Management in Nonprofit Organizations - Emphasizes workforce focus for nonprofit organization professional and volunteer staff management, nonprofit law, ethics, and risk management, leadership and governance excellence in nonprofit organizations.
  • Resource Development - Focuses heavily on competencies and KSA’s needed by senior managers with major responsibilities in such areas as: financial management, accounting, and economics, fundraising, grant writing, mission-focused information technology and knowledge managemet for nonprofit organizations
  • Nonprofit Healthcare Management – Focuses heavily on competencies and KSA’s needed by senior health care managers with major responsibilities in managing a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that is focused on health care delivery, system delivery and evaluation.

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This post was written by Tracy D. Connors, PhD

Dr. Connors has served as a lead and core faculty member for the Norwich University Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree program since 2013. His doctoral studies focused on human services management, with a specialization in Management of Nonprofit Agencies. In 2014, Norwich University launched the nonprofit management concentration in the MPA program to which was driven by Dr. Connors Self-Renewing Management Model he introduced in 1997. The concentration provides the academic foundation for the university's four graduate certificates in nonprofit management. He has published eight major handbooks for nonprofit organization management since 1980, and published the second edition of the Volunteer Management Handbook in 2011. He served as editor for Leading at the Strategic Level by James W. Browning, a book about the new strategic leadership published by National Defense University in 2012. Captain Connors' distinguished U.S. Navy service (Airman Recruit to Captain), included 32 years of duty on ships (Surface Warfare Officer qualifications), units, flag staffs, and senior officer responsibilities in public affairs and project management on the staff of the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations.