M.A. in Nonprofit Organizations
Institute for Nonprofit Organizations
Dual Degree Programs
The internship experience is designed to provide supervised opportunities for graduate students in the MNPO program to develop skills in specific areas that have been found to characterize effective leaders in nonprofit organizations. These include the applications of theory and research in the nonprofit field to practical issues of planning, implementation, support, and assessment of community programs in nonprofit organizations. The internship allows students to apply skills of formulating goals and mobilizing concerted actions, negotiating and guiding group activities, applying critical thinking skills and knowledge to organizational matters, communicating effectively with diverse audiences, and producing reports, documents, and other products of importance to the organization.
These skills are developed and applied in the context of a variety of tasks of program design, management of staff and volunteers, communications with internal and external constituencies, program evaluation, resource development and allocation, organizational change, and other practical tasks. The internship also provides access to issues and subjects for student projects that can extend knowledge and refine practice effectiveness in this field. Students may register for 3 semester hours of MNPO 7055 in each of their final two semesters in the program, for a total of 6 credit hours.
The student is expected to make use of internship projects to develop, strengthen, and demonstrate competencies in the following areas:
A. Goal and Action Abilities
B. Interpersonal Abilities
C. Analytic reasoning abilities
Each student selects internship sites in consultation with the faculty supervisor. The same site may be used both semesters or different sites may be selected, depending on the student's learning needs and goals. The first semester's tasks should provide an introduction to organizational work, culture, operations, and a range of planning and management experiences, while focusing on one or two major projects. Evidence of learning and improvements in each of the competencies set forth above must be included, along with products or reports from the major projects. The second semester must focus on one or more major projects and demonstrate further strengthening of those competencies. A written report and a public presentation summarizing the student's learning on a major project are required at the conclusion of the second internship. In addition to these reports, the student is expected to keep a journal of experiences and learning during each of the semesters, which is for that person's own reflections, not to be handed in.
In order to qualify for receiving interns, the organization must be willing to provide office space for the student; access to staff, programs, and records; an administrative supervisor or mentor; and opportunities for the student to carry out sustained work on issues related to some aspect of the management of the organization's programs. No clerical tasks will be accepted. The organization must provide an on-site supervisor who will assist the student in identifying and planning projects of importance to the organization, developing plans of action and resources, deliverable products to be completed, time-lines, and criteria for assessing the quality of the products. This person will also send the faculty supervisor a brief letter at the end of the semester providing evaluative comments about the student's work.
At the outset of each semester, the student will develop a learning contract that identifies specific projects to be carried out, steps to be taken, and work products to be delivered that will demonstrate gains in each of the skills included in the course objectives. The contract may be designed in the form of a matrix, with specific projects or activities linked to particular skills to be emphasized by each. Specific deliverable products or reports must be identified in the contract and then submitted to the faculty supervisor and organizational supervisor by the conclusion of each semester. The contract will be reviewed and negotiated with the faculty overseeing the internship and the on-site supervisor before implementation. Routine clerical tasks will not be accepted. The student, the supervisor, and the faculty overseer will meet as needed to develop, monitor, and assess student progress on projects identified in the student's learning contract. The on-site organizational supervisor will send a brief letter of evaluation about the student's work to the faculty supervisor at the end of the semester. The student is expected to spend approximately 20 hours per week on these field projects over the course of the semester and to produce reports or other evidence of successful development of skills and completion of projects in the learning contract for that semester.
Other possible projects could include:
Boyatzis, R.E. The Competent Manager: A Model for Effective Performance. New York: John Wiley, 1992.
Edwards, R.L., Yankey, J.A., & Altpeter, M.A. Skills for Effective Management of Nonprofit Organizations(second edition). Washington, D.C.: N.A.S.W. Press, 2006.
Herman, R.D. & Heimovics, R.D. Executive Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1991.
Schein, E.H. Organizational Culture and Leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1992.
Schon, D.A. The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. New York: Basic Books, 1993.
This course is graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis by the supervising faculty. Input will be expected from the student and from the on-site supervisor at the internship site.