Newman University is launching a new graduate-level program designed to help employees in nonprofit organizations become more effective at managing their institutions, serving their clients and achieving their mission.
The program, a Master of Business Administration with a Nonprofit Management concentration, will begin offering classes specifically for the nonprofit track in January 2016, although students may begin taking other courses required for the degree this fall.
Director of the MBA Program and Associate Professor of Marketing and Management Wendy Munday, Ed.D., who began creating the concentration three years ago, said the new track is designed to show students how business practices can be applied to nonprofit agencies to make them more efficient and productive.
“The goal of a nonprofit is no different than that of a for-profit institution,” Munday said. “The bottom line is simply different. With a nonprofit, they’re not trying to sell products to create a profit but are trying to serve people. They have employees, but they also have many volunteers who assist in carrying out the organization’s mission. This program will show how for-profit business practices and principles can be effective in a nonprofit environment.”
Munday said the program is the first of its kind in the region.
“I don’t know of anyone else offering a nonprofit track MBA in Wichita,” said Munday. “WSU has a graduate certificate program and there are some online courses, but not a full MBA program.”
The new nonprofit track will join the existing five concentrations offered in Newman’s MBA degree program – Finance, International Business, Leadership, Management, and Management Information Systems. All MBA concentrations include a number of required courses for the degree, and additional courses in the student’s preferred track. The nonprofit track will include three new courses: Nonprofit Management, Nonprofit Experience and Nonprofit Strategies.
Newman Professor of Business Vicki Bergkamp, ASC, is leading the curriculum development, will teach several of the new courses, and will assist in marketing the program. Bergkamp was chosen because she understands the nuances and particular needs of nonprofit institutions, through her work as a member of Newman’s founding order the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, and through her work with a number of nonprofit agencies in the area.
“Her passion and love for Nonprofit and leadership make her an ideal champion for this program. I wanted someone with passion for the topic,” Munday said. “She is recognized, respected and active in the community.”
Research shows support for nonprofit program
Munday said she had the idea for the new concentration because of her experience working with nonprofit organizations, and by what she observed. As nonprofits struggled to survive the economic downturn and the resulting drop in donations, many organizations turned to business consultants to find more effective ways to operate and to maximize their resources. In the process, it was discovered that nonprofits could adopt a business model and be extremely successful.
Munday worked with the Wichita Nonprofit Chamber of Service on a research study of its members. Among the key findings were that survey responders felt a master’s degree was necessary for advancement in their field, and the vast majority felt they had support from their organization to further their education. Respondents said the most beneficial skills to learn are leadership, management/organizational behavior, finance/budgeting, marketing/recruitment, and MIS. These skills are all addressed in the MBA program of study at Newman.
In addition, an overwhelming number of respondents said an MBA with an emphasis on nonprofit leadership would be preferable to just an MBA, a Master of Leadership, or a Master of Public Administration. These and other findings led Munday to conclude that a nonprofit management master’s degree program would be viable in this market.
The idea is also a perfect fit with the Newman University mission of empowering graduates to transform society and to serve the underserved, Munday said. By adopting a business model, organizations can utilize their resources more efficiently and effectively – which ultimately benefits the people or the area of interest the organization serves. Newman is also well-suited to help nonprofits succeed, she said.
“With Newman being a nonprofit institution and having faculty and staff who have experience working in nonprofits, we can incorporate the current best practices from the field into our program, to help nonprofit agencies better serve their people and achieve their mission. And that works perfectly with our mission.”
Munday added that the Newman MBA is one of the most affordable programs offered in the Wichita area, particularly when considering the time needed to complete the course of study. The program requires 32 credit hours and can be completed in as few as 18 months. To suit the needs of working adults, all courses are offered during the evening.
Munday emphasized the need for nonprofit institutions to learn the skills offered in the Newman program.
“With the economic downturn and the decrease in giving, nonprofits have to be more effective than ever at fundraising and managing resources,” she said. “Now is really the time.”
Interested students may begin enrolling immediately. Like all Newman MBA concentrations, the nonprofit track requires that students apply first to the MBA degree program. Fall classes begin Aug. 11, 2015.
To learn more or to sign up for the program, visit http://newmanu.edu/studynu/graduate/master-business-administration, or call 316-942-4291, ext. 2437.