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Notre Dame nonprofit offerings expand, get new name

by Carol Elliott

November 24, 2009

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For more than 50 years, the University of Notre Dame has served the nonprofit industry by developing exemplary leaders through a specialized graduate business degree, the Master of Nonprofit Administration. Now the University is adding executive education to the nonprofit service mix offered by the Mendoza College of Business.

The expanded unit will be known as Nonprofit Professional Development. It comprises two arms of nonprofit education – the non-degree Nonprofit Executive Programs (NEP) and the Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA) degree.

“During the past three years, we have grown dramatically by complementing graduate education with a variety of nonprofit executive educational initiatives,” said Thomas J. Harvey, the Luke McGuinness Director of Professional Development. “The growth and diversity of the program led to the need for a new name that better reflects the current range of activities.”

The Notre Dame MNA, established in 1954, enrolls about 30 students annually and will continue to be the premier nonprofit program at the Mendoza College of Business, Harvey said. The MNA is designed to allow business professionals to complete the degree without leaving their jobs. It requires 42 credit hours taken during summer sessions on campus and through e-learning courses offered on-line during the fall and spring semesters.

More recently, the Notre Dame program has experienced an increased demand for executive programs, as nonprofit organizations face an increasingly complex service environment.

“Leadership in the sector is changing,” Harvey said. “For example, the human service part of the nonprofit world historically recruited leaders who were educated in such program specialties as social work or psychology. Now there is a very definite trend toward awarding the top executive positions to individuals with business expertise and experience. Notre Dame’s expansion of its nonprofit curriculum is therefore timely and progressive.”

The NEPs include annual certificate education for national associations such as the Volunteers of America, the National Human Services Assembly, and Catholic Charities USA. In addition, due in part to a $10 million foundation grant, the program provides other tailored educational offerings for both national and local communities. One of the national efforts, “Leaders in Transition,” is held annually on the Notre Dame campus. It provides career training for returning Peace Corps and other service volunteers as they transition to other employment.

“Nonprofit Professional Development reflects the central mission of Notre Dame, that is, service to the human community,” Harvey said. “The degree and non-degree programs serve the same ongoing mission to educate exemplary leaders serving in nonprofit organizations.”

For information about Nonprofit Executive Programs, contact the director, Marc Hardy, at 574-631-1087 or mhardy@nd.edu. Or to learn more about the Master of Nonprofit degree, contact the program manager, Kimberly Brennan, at 574-631-3639 or kbrenna1@nd.edu, or go online to http://business.nd.edu/mna/