Thursday, June 20, 2024

LSUS re-establishes partnership with nonprofit leadership alliance amid program growth 

by BIZ Magazine

As a sociology student at LSUS in the early 2000s, Stacey Hargis wanted to connect with other students who shared her interest in nonprofit work.

Hargis found that connection in American Humanics, a student organization and certificate program for students of any discipline that were passionate about serving their communities through nonprofit leadership.

Interest among the LSUS student body waned in the organization, which changed its name to the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, leading LSUS to drop the partnership in 2020 when COVID-19 impacted colleges everywhere.

But with the explosive growth of the master’s in nonprofit administration along with the addition of a bachelor’s degree in nonprofit administration, LSUS has re-established its partnership with the Nonprofit Alliance.

“As a former student and Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP), one of my favorite parts about having the NLA program on our campus was the ability to gather with like-minded students,” said Hargis, who is the manager of operations at LSUS’s Institute in Nonprofit Administration and Research (INAR) and a program coordinator in the master’s program. “The comradery of a group who is passionate about the community and going into nonprofit sector work helped guide me toward a successful career.

“As a campus advisor for the CNP program at LSUS, I’ve been able to share my passion and success in the program with a new generation of students.”

The partnership allows students in any degree program to pursue the nationally recognized CNP credential at a discounted rate ($100) because LSUS is a campus partner.

“Students complete nonprofit competencies through classroom learning, voluntary services, an internship and a nonprofit conference,” said Hargis, who said more than 300 LSUS students have been certified and more than 500 students have been part of the organization since its LSUS beginning in 1995. “The American Humanics Management Institute has greatly impacted our students through its conferences and education.”

The credential can supplement a student in the nonprofit administration program or serve as a companion education to a student in another field who is interested in nonprofit work.

Jeff Brasher’s experience working toward a CNP credential influenced him to enroll in LSUS’s master’s program.

“I had counterparts in Missouri and former colleagues that were discussing nonprofit certifications, so I enrolled and completed the CNP this past June,” said Brasher, who works with the Boy Scouts of America as the scout executive of the Norwela Council in Shreveport. “That morphed into me being offered a spot on INAR’s board, and I thought if I was going to go out advocate for LSUS, I should be a student as well.

“The CNP has helped with the practical day-to-day things, and the knowledge I’ve learned in the master’s program has helped me in areas like board governance and finance.”

Brasher’s combined experience in the CNP and LSUS’ masters program has improved administrative skills that he’s sharpened for more than three decades with the Boy Scouts.

“Somebody might say, ‘Well I want to work with the Boy Scouts because I love kids and camping,’ and that’s great, but that’s not what this job is about,” said Brasher, who obtained the rank of Eagle Scout in his youth. “You have to love the job as much as you love the organization.

“It’s a labor of love, and you’ve got to want to work in the nonprofit sector.”

Preparing students for work in the nonprofit sector falls on the shoulders of Dr. Heather Carpenter, INAR’s executive director.

Carpenter has overseen a master’s program that’s added nearly 50 students in the past year (220 total) and added an undergraduate program this past fall.

“We’re excited to re-establish this partnership with the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance since our new bachelor’s degree recently launched,” Carpenter said. “As CNP alumni, I experienced the value of the CNP program, and I know our undergraduates and our graduate students will benefit from it as well.”

LSUS joins a network of 23 universities across the nation to partner with NLA.

“At the (NLA), our primary commitment revolves around strengthening the nonprofit sector,” said Dr. Dorothy Norris-Tirrell, NLA president. “Our partnership with LSUS fuels this journey, where together, we’re nurturing leaders who can drive social change and create a better future for all.”

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