UO to Offer Master's Degree in Nonprofit Management

Article excerpt

Byline: Lauren Fox The Register-Guard

Renee Irvin, a professor in the Department of Planning, Public Policy and Management at the University of Oregon, kept hearing students say "it'd sure be nice" if the UO offered a full master's program in nonprofit agency management. So Irvin teamed up with fellow professor Laura Leete and made it happen.

The UO will join a handful of universities nationwide offering such a degree when the program launches in the fall. It will be the first of its kind offered at a public university on the West Coast, and the first in Oregon.

The two-year professional degree will give students the chance to develop financial, revenue development and management skills specifically for the nonprofit sector. The inaugural class will be made up of fewer than 10 students who haven't been selected yet.

"I'm excited to see what kinds of intrepid individuals want to be part of a program in its first year," Irvin said. "I don't doubt they'll be the same kind of adventuresome souls you need at a nonprofit."

Irvin predicts the program will prove popular. After all, an existing nonprofit certificate program, which requires graduate students to take 32 credits related to the nonprofit sector, has been attracting a growing number of participants since it began 10 years ago. So far, 250 students from various graduate programs have obtained the certification and an additional 60 students are pursuing it.

It was that program's success and visibility that led to increasing requests that the department offer a full master's degree on the topic. The department began a two-year planning process to create the degree, culminating this spring with approval from the Oregon University System and the state Board of Higher Education for the master of nonprofit management.

Irvin said her vision was simple: Create a no-nonsense program that reaches beyond textbooks and instead stretches deep into the community through internships and other outreach. …