It’s a new year and a new semester! An exciting part of my job is that the content I teach changes, depending on what is happening in society. This semester, I am teaching the gateway seminar course, Public Administration in Modern Society, for UNF’s MPA (masters of public administration) program. Last year’s class was interesting, especially with the new administration. So far, it looks as though this year’s course may be just as exciting, not only because of the many changes in departments and agencies at the federal level, but also some changes locally.
Another graduate course that I will be teaching is Nonprofit Financial Management. The new tax code, as well as continual changes in technology, will have a lot of impact on nonprofit organizations. This course is more conceptual than computational (it’s not nonprofit accounting), and the goal is for students to understand the financial information that is presented to them, and how to determine the organization’s long-term sustainability – both financially and programmatically (aka: balancing mission and money). [If this concept really interests you, one of the books the students read, and love, is Nonprofit Sustainability.]
Finally, I will also be teaching my one undergraduate class: Nonprofit Management. I really enjoy introducing undergraduate students to the nonprofit sector, and its role in a vibrant democracy. We cover management, but the class is so much more. Many students will start their careers working for nonprofits, and some will stay in the sector. My goal is for them to understand the scope of the sector, the general purpose (creating public value), and a passion for how these organizations form the foundation of the community we all call home. Even if they choose not to work in the sector, I encourage them to volunteer, donate, and be engaged in organizations that represent their values.
Local organizations are an excellent way for all of us to help shape the community we desire for the future. Let’s plan on being engaged this year to help shape our communities into what we envision. An overarching takeaway in my courses is that individuals have the greatest impact on their community through local government and nonprofits. How will you impact yours?