Nonprofit Leadership Studies

The information on this page is under redevelopment and will be updated in the near future.

The Nonprofit Leadership Studies Program at Murray State University is committed to building a coordinated response to growing educational, research, and service needs of organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life in communities around the world. The program offers a broad-based approach to the development of the future leaders of the nonprofit sector through undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as leadership, networking, funding, and promotion of quality practice. Through its educational programs, as well as membership in the leading national organization for scholars and practitioners, the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA), the NLS Program has positioned itself at the cutting edge of curriculum development, scholarship, and career networking nationally.

The Nonprofit Leadership Studies academic and professional programs prepare the future leaders of the nonprofit sector, which is at a crucial phase of its development. The nonprofit sector is one of the most dynamic, culturally diverse, and fastest growing industries in the United States. It is highly diverse sector, addressing issues and needs related to health services, education, social and legal services, civic and environmental advocacy, international relations and development, arts and culture, faith-based, and youth and human services. As of 2012, over 1.6 million nonprofit organizations were registered with the Internal Revenue System. With about 1 nonprofit organization for every 175 Americans, the nonprofit sector is an important part of our economy. In 2012, it contributed approximately $887.3 billion to the US economy, representing 5.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). According to national data, the nonprofit sector employed 13.7 million individuals in 2010, which equals to 10% of the country's workforce. Between 2000 and 2010, nonprofit sector employment grew by approximately 18 percent, thus growing faster than overall U.S. economy and outpacing both the public and the business sectors. The growth of the U.S. nonprofit sector provides great opportunities for the students of the NLS academic programs.

The NLS program is responding to this increased need for professionalization and leadership in the nonprofit sector. Through the NLS programs students will obtain knowledge and skills in the areas of program development, marketing and public relations, financial resource development and management, cultural competency and diversity, volunteer and human resource management, as well as a broad understanding of the roles and functions of nonprofit organizations and philanthropic institutions in a modern democracy. The Program integrates teaching, research, and service to develop the skills, provide the experiences, and nurture the spirit and passion required of effective leadership. The curriculum continues to expand beyond the foundation in nonprofit leadership and management, now including philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, policy and advocacy, and an integrated commitment to the application of service learning methodology.

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