Nonprofit Leadership Studies Prepares to Move to Helzberg SchoolMarch 16, 2015

Rockhurst University’s nonprofit leadership studies will have a new home next academic year — in Conway Hall.

On July 1, the program devoted to preparing students for leadership positions at nonprofit organizations will move from the School of Graduate and Professional Studies to the Helzberg School of Management. While not resulting in any changes to the current curriculum, the move is expected to provide additional opportunities for both programs.

Jennifer Rinella, Ed.D., assistant professor of nonprofit leadership studies, said the change comes in response to the evolving nature of nonprofit management.

“Nonprofit leadership and business leadership are still distinct in many ways, but they’re growing more connected,” she said. “In recent years, we’ve seen ideas like social entrepreneurship emerge that apply to both fields.”

Cheryl McConnell, dean of the Helzberg School of Management, said the two programs have long enjoyed some crossover, with many of the business students choosing majors or minors in nonprofit leadership, and vice-versa.

“It’s a natural home,” McConnell said. “We are not simply a school of business, we are a school of management, which includes managing all types of organizations.”

Even those students who choose not to pursue nonprofit leadership as a career but who might one day serve on boards or committees for a community or civic service organization would benefit from knowledge of how a nonprofit works, Rinella said.

But more than simply accommodating the changing character of nonprofit leadership, Rinella said she anticipates the move to push the programs forward in new ways.

“I think that the synergy that can happen by collaborating with faculty members in the Helzberg School will be really good for students and for the program,” Rinella said.

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