Part-time Nonprofit and NGO Leadership Program on the Way
March 2, 2009, The Daily Pennsylvanian — Graduate student Van Evans worked at a nonprofit with homeless children in Latin America for 12 years before he decided to hone his leadership skills and get some insight into the nonprofit sector by enrolling in Penn's master's program in nonprofit and nongovernmental organization leadership.
For students who want to change the world, learning how to lead may be the stepping stone. And now, busy students in today's tight economy who don't have to devote a full year of their time to acquiring that skill can do so much more flexibly.
Starting this fall, Penn's School of Social Policy and Practice, in conjunction with Wharton and the School of Arts and Sciences, will offer a part-time version of its leadership program.
"There is a predicted shortage of nonprofit leaders that is likely to occur in the next 20 years, so this is a proactive attempt to … get people the education they need to be those leaders," said University President Amy Gutmann.
Kenwyn Smith, faculty director for the program, said initial desire to create the program grew from a sense that "in the post [Sept. 11] era, the world was going to be very different."
Wharton senior Trang To, who heads Penn's Social Impact Consulting Group, described that difference as "a movement toward social impact at Penn and at Wharton, especially in our generation."
The full-time, one-year version of the program has been offered since 2004. The part-time version is expected to last an average of two years and will follow the same basic mold.
According to Smith, the part-time option is meant to provide greater access to a wider array of people, including those who want to maintain their jobs in the current market.
Gutmann added that the more flexible option would also "open our doors to people in the Philadelphia area."