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Public Affairs 3140: Nonprofit Management and Governance

This is a sample syllabus to provide general information about the course and it's requirements. Course requirements are subject to change. This syllabus does not contain all assignment or course detail and currently enrolled students should reference the syllabus provided by their instructor. For a specific syllabus, please email us a request.

Course Overview

3 Credit Hours
Modalities Available: In Person 

This course prepares students to manage nonprofit organizations with practical tools and theoretical knowledge. Critical nonprofit management topics are covered so that students understand organizational creation, strategic planning, performance evaluation, board governance, executive leadership, human resources, finance, marketing, and collaboration.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, through individual and collaborative learning activities, students should be able to: 

  • Discuss major concepts, theories, and tools related to nonprofit management.
  • Use these concepts, theories, and tools to create nonprofit managerial solutions.
  • Compare, defend, and critique nonprofit managerial solutions.
  • Develop customized expertise in a topic of nonprofit management.

Requirements and Expectations

  • Participation in in-person sessions, 20 points
  • Participation in online discussion boards, 12 points
  • Online quizzes, 12 points
  • Group case analysis memos, 32 points
  • Group case analysis presentation, 8 points
  • Peer evaluations, 6 points
  • Interview project, 10 points

Participation in in-person sessions:

  • You are expected to participate in every in-person session and share your ideas, questions, and/or comments in each session.
  • Your participation in each session should be substantive, relevant, and respectful. 
  • We will use TopHat, a remote response system, each session to record your participation. 

Participation in online discussion boards:

  • There will be 8 weeks (i.e., weeks 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, and 15) when you are required to log in to an online discussion board on Carmen and:
  • Post a written reply (200 to 300 words) or a video reply (90 to 135 seconds) to that week’s discussion prompt by midnight on Thursday. 
  • Comment in a written format (100 to 200 words) or a video format (45 to 90 seconds) on at least 1 post by a peer by midnight on Sunday.


  • Your posts should be to the point and informed by your knowledge and experience as well as the week’s learning materials. 
  • A good comment does more than affirm the original poster. It is fine to respond to others' posts with "I like what you said!" but move the conversation forward. You can ask questions, make suggestions, share resources, or offer relevant personal experiences. Framing your comment using a "yes, and" or "yes, but" approach can be a good way. "Yes, and" affirms and extends your peer's ideas. "Yes, but" questions or challenges your peer's ideas. In either case, be polite and supportive.

There will be 8 weeks (i.e., weeks 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, and 15) when you are required to take an online quiz on Carmen.

  • Each quiz will cover the week’s learning materials.
  • Each quiz will have about 5 questions.  
  • Each quiz must be completed within 10 minutes.
  • Your quiz attempt will be automatically submitted when the timer runs out or when the quiz closes.
  • The quizzes are open book.


  • Make sure to review a week’s materials before taking that week’s quiz. 
  • Complete each quiz in 1 sitting.

This class relies partly on case studies to provide insights into real-world managerial challenges experienced by nonprofits. The cases generally present
information on the organizations and the people involved, as well as a series of events that lead to some nonprofit managerial challenge(s). The challenge(s)
may or may not be clearly defined in a case. Similarly, the possible solution(s) also may or may not be clearly described in a case. For each case, however, I
will provide 2 or 3 major questions for students to address in their group case analysis memos.

Throughout the semester, each student will work in a small group to write group case analysis memos. Each student will be assigned to their group by the
instructor. The length of each group memo should be about 3 pages.

Each group memo will include:

  • An introduction that summarizes the background information.
  • Responses to the instructor’s questions.
  • A conclusion that explains what you learn from the case.

There will be 4 case studies.

You and your groupmates will work on the group case analysis memos together and receive the same grade for each memo. Your group members will need to collectively agree on how to apportion the work required to complete the memos.

Each group will present once and, for that presentation, will be randomly assigned to present their response to 1 question from 1 case study.

Your group can choose to present live at the case study session. Otherwise, your group can record your presentation before the case study session and play it at the session.

The presentation should include:

  • An introduction that summarizes the background information.
  • Your response to the question.
  • A conclusion that explains what you learn from the case.

You and your groupmates will work on the presentation together and receive the same grade for the presentation. Your group members will need to collectively agree on how to apportion the work required to complete the presentation.

You will submit a peer evaluation document at the end of the course, in which you will rate and comment on the contributions throughout the semester of each of your groupmates.

The purpose of this assignment is to provide students with an opportunity to gain additional real-world insights into a nonprofit managerial topic of choice.

Students come to this course with different backgrounds and interests. You should customize this project to your interests.

Your 2 options for this project are:

  • Conducting your own interview with a nonprofit practitioner. The interview should last about 30-60 minutes and focus on a topic covered in this class. 
  • Selecting a podcast episode featuring a nonprofit practitioner. The chosen episode should also be about 30-60 minutes and focus on a topic covered in this class.

This assignment will include 3 components:

  • Submit your interview project’s topic proposal as a written document via Carmen by the end of week 4.
    The length of the document should be about ½ page (single spaced, 1-inch margin, 12-point Times New Roman font).
    This document should explain your proposed topic and the interviewee/podcast episode you have in mind. 
    You will receive a maximum of 2 points for this proposal. 
  • Submit your interview project’s presentation slides (preferably using PowerPoint) via Carmen by the end of week 11.
    The presentation should be about 5 minutes long.
    The presentation should include a brief introduction of the interviewee, a summary of what you learned from the interview, and a reflection on how the interview confirmed, extended, and/or challenged what you learned in this course.
    You will receive a maximum of 3 points for your slides.
  • Present in class on week 12 or 13. 
    You will earn a maximum of 5 points for your presentation.

Weekly Schedule

  1. Introduction and Definitions
  2. Creating and Strategizing
  3. Evaluating
  4. Case Study
  5. Governing and Leading
  6. Case Study
  7. Staffing
  8. Financing
  9. Case Study
  10. Marketing, Advocating and Collaborating
  11. Case Study
  12. Interview Project Presentations
  13. Interview Project Presentations
  14. Concluding and Envisioning

Previous Instructors Have Included