Course Descriptions – On Campus Program

Fall Courses

Leaders of organizations must often make difficult decisions that pit the rights of one set of stakeholders against another. Having multiple stakeholders or bottom-lines brings with it challenges when conflicts arise, with the perennial question of whose rights/benefits prevail?  What trade-offs need to be made between multiple bottom lines? Does the mission of the organization prevail over the privileges of employees/clients? To what extent can large donors influence the mission of the organization? What is an appropriate social return on investment? This course will introduce the factors that influence moral conduct, the ethical issues that arise when pursuing social goals, and discuss the best ways to promote ethical conduct within such organizations. The course will use specific case studies, real and hypothetical, to analyze a variety of ethical issues that arise [including finance, governance, accountability, fundraising, labor (paid and unpaid), client groups, and service provision] among the multiple stakeholders and balancing multiple bottom-lines. This course is offered in the fall semester and will conclude by discussing ways that organizations can prevent and correct misconduct, develop a spirit of ethical behavior, and institutionalize ethical values in the organization’s culture.

Fall 2018:
Thursdays, 4:00pm – 7:00pm

This course is about “doing good and doing well.” It is designed to introduce you to the fundamental issues in accountability and governance and the administration and management in nonprofit organizations. Through research and analysis, you will understand multiple structures of accountability and the various stakeholders in nonprofits, understand the duties and dynamics of boards of directors in conjunction with other mechanisms of governance (e.g. chief executive officers, advisory boards, etc.), and develop an understanding of management techniques and leadership skills for enhancing the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations. You will be asked to think about the challenges of running nonprofit organizations in a comparative context, with cases drawn from both the U.S. and abroad.

The emphasis of this course is on acquiring operational skills. The course is designed for those who may have had years of experience managing other people and programs in the nonprofit sector but who want to develop a more systematic mastery of this challenge, as well as students from other sectors who aspire to a nonprofit leadership role.

Fall 2018:
Tuesdays, 11:30am – 2:30pm

Economic analysis and financial accounting are like languages: fluency comes with practice. In-class review of case studies (including, on occasion, in-person discussions with the representatives of diverse agencies and organizations featured in the case studies) will enable students to test and develop their capacity for applying conceptual tools and analytical methods to sometimes messy and always complicated, real-life situations.

The course objective is to develop theoretical understanding, critical judgment, and practical skills for sensitive and effective engagement with financial and economic matters of significance. Students will learn:

  • Different ways of thinking about the economic foundations of social policy,
  • The basic terminology, tools, and methods for analyzing the financial statements of a wide range of organizations, and
  • Accounting procedures for evaluating business, government, and organizational operations, policies, and practices.

This course is at once macro and micro in its orientation. It provides a conceptual basis—derived from mainstream and alternative perspectives—for thinking about the economic dimensions of human development and social policy, and it introduces a set of core competencies for leadership and financial management of organizations, including conventional enterprises, consulting firms, research institutions, governmental agencies, philanthropies, cooperatives and employee owned enterprises, community development corporations, community development financial institutions, local currencies, community land trusts, resource trusts, and other third-sector organizations. The course is open to students across the University. All graduate students who take this course must register under NPLD 790. All undergraduate students must register under NPLD 590.

Fall 2018:
Tuesdays, 5:30pm – 8:30pm

This experiential, highly interactive seminar is for those eager to serve in managerial/leadership positions of human systems that create/maintain the organizational and fiscal viability of public, non-profit or private enterprises, including their partnerships. Candidates in all Penn graduate programs are welcome, whether one’s ambition is to generate sustainable livelihoods, renewable energy, wealth, clean water, viable environments, robotics, or quality services in fields such as education, health care, AI, or criminal justice. Course participants are members of decision-making groups that run a computer-based, data-driven, future-creating, socio-economic simulation while synchronously studying the intra- and inter-group dynamics inherent in all leadership actions.

The educational methodology of NPLD 791 is based on discovery-learning processes about the critical inter-dependencies among several phenomena, such as:

  • strategy formulation-execution and organizational practices that unleash latent possibilities
  • wealth creation and the dynamics of competition/collaboration within and among groups
  • robust economic metrics and intra/inter-group decision-making sophistication
  • leadership of market-financial-political ecosystems and quality group-based followership
  • the efficacy of work-based activities and system conflict management capabilities
  • building new forms of private, public, non-profit ventures and developing human capital

This course combines intellectual and experiential learning about the business of organizing and an organization’s businesses. It is based on cutting-edge sociological, economic, psychological, managerial and anthropological thinking about wealth-creation/circulation, the power of combining left-brain and right-brain reasoning, the harnessing of energies trapped by classic organizational conflicts and accessing the abundance located in contexts of seeming scarcity.

The faculty

  • provides the intellectual architecture for this learning adventure
  • builds and manages the structures for all the experiential events
  • facilitates the discovery processes of participants
  • links the lessons of scholarship to challenges experienced in every-day work-places
  • offers group and system-wide feedback about the universal lessons located in the unique dynamics, co-manufactured by course participants in their simulated world

Participants must be present for every minute of the course and be fully involved in all activities. To apply for a permit to take this course, contact Adam Roth-Saks via email at adamsaks@sp2.upenn.edu.

Fall 2018:
Wednesday, October 31st, 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Friday, November 2nd, 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Saturday, November 3rd, 9:00am – 10:00pm
Sunday, November 4th, 9:00am – 6:00pm
Friday, November 9th, 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Saturday, November 10th, 9:00am – 10:00pm
Sunday, November 11th, 9:00am – 6:00pm
Wednesday, November 14th, 6:00pm – 10:00pm

This fall semester course will review the everyday tools that nonprofit managers and development officers need to raise funds from individuals and other sources of private philanthropy. Last year, Americans gave approximately $300 million to charitable organizations and 83% of it was from individual giving. The fundraising profession has created a body of knowledge in the past twenty years that can guide effective fundraising programs so that charitable organizations can support their mission. The class sessions will review the theory and practical techniques that development professionals use everyday in large and small organizations, including annual giving, major gifts, planned giving, cultivation of donors, making your case for support, the Seven Faces of Philanthropy, special events, and prospect research. There will also be discussions of philanthropic trends and current giving patterns. For those who are interested in nonprofit leadership and positions of influence, these will be critical tools to understand.

Fall 2018:
Thursdays, 1:30pm – 4:00pm

This half credit course will provide the tools and framework for helping to understand the role that marketing and brand building can play in the non-profit sector. As such, we will create a shared understanding of the key concepts that help define branding and the classic elements of marketing that will serve as a foundation for discussion and analysis throughout the semester. We will identify the fundamental differences that non-profit organizations face in building their brands and how those challenges differ from traditional/for profit brand building. We will identify tools and frameworks that brands/organizations can use to help design and implement marketing strategy. We will utilize current and relevant case studies that help demonstrate the core concepts of this course.

Fall 2018:
Mondays: September 17th, October 1st, October 15th, October 29th, November 12th, and November 26th, 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Half credit

Effective governance relies upon consistent and ethical board leadership, yet nonprofit organizations that exemplify truly model governance are few and far between. This half credit course introduces students to broad frameworks of governance, but will focus most deeply on the human dimensions of board leadership.  In particular, we will examine real examples and cases of moral and ethical dilemmas faced by nonprofit boards and executive leaders, and the nuanced practices required to achieve effective board governance. This will involve a careful look at several real cases, as well as guest lectures from 3-4 different nonprofit board and CEO leaders.  The invited leaders will use their own experiences to guide students through some of the most challenging ethical and managerial situations that can be encountered, with the goal of providing a practical grounding for students who expect to contribute to nonprofit leadership in their careers – either as executive staff or as board members.

Fall 2018:
Mondays: September 10th, September 24th, October 8th, October 22nd, November 5th, and November 19th, 5:00pm – 8:00pm
Half credit

The first part of the course will offer a broad perspective on development, aid, and the role of NGOs. The latter half of the course will focus on issues in NGO management: problem analysis, solution design, fundraising, staffing (expatriate and local), monitoring and evaluation (including randomized controlled trials). The course is aimed at students with none to moderate experience in international development, but students with extensive work experience with NGOs or development work are encouraged to join.

Fall 2018:
Wednesdays, 10:00am – 12:50pm

Studying the behavior of groups and the actions/inactions of people within groups provides a doorway to deeper understanding of our selves, our families, our friends, our colleagues, our organizations, and our communities. This half credit course is designed for Penn Graduate students eager to generate constructive group processes when chairing a committee, managing a work group, teaching in a classroom, conducting a support/therapy group or facilitating strategy formulation. It is easy to look back and see what went right or wrong in a group or when observing what others are doing. But tuning into and gaining a comprehensive grasp of these processes when they are happening and learning how to take constructive actions in the here and now when it can have a meaningful impact requires a high level of cognitive capability combined with a special form of relational artistry. This weekend course is an amalgam of experiential activities and energizing ways to internalize the rich concepts developed during a hundred years of research. Participants are required to be fully present and fully engaged for the whole weekend, read the equivalent of a book’s worth of material, and write an 8-page (double spaced) paper.

Fall 2018:
Option 1:
Friday, September 14th, 6:00pm – 11:00pm
Saturday, September 15th, 9:00am – 11:00pm
Sunday, September 16th, 9:00am – 6:00pm

Option 2:
Friday, September 21st, 6:00pm – 11:00pm
Saturday, September 22nd, 9:00am – 11:00pm
Sunday, September 23rd, 9:00am – 6:00pm

Half credit

The twofold purpose of social impact measurement is to assess and improve the impact of nonprofit programs and to offer actionable information for ongoing improvement. Social impact measurement is an essential learning opportunity for grantmaker and grantee. However, developing an evaluation plan, instruments, and process that is culturally responsive with an equity lens and also aligned with nonprofit’s capacity is critical.

This course will offer an overview of leading social impact measurement methodologies and tools and field exercise experience. During the field exercise, student teams will develop an evaluation plan and associated instruments for a local nonprofit using one or more of the methodologies. Teams will present their evaluation plans and offer recommendations for implementation. Lectures will be complemented by class time devoted to field exercise team meetings and off-site field work.

Fall 2018:
Mondays, 9:00am – 11:30am

This intensely experiential course, offered in the fall semester, is designed for those providing group and institutional leadership at any level of a human enterprise, managing work groups, serving on special task forces, chairing committees, teaching in classrooms, conducting support groups, facilitating groups in clinical settings, etc. Students will focus on two topics:

  1. An in-depth understanding of group dynamics while they are in action
  2. The organizational relationships between groups with power, groups that experience themselves as powerless, and those caught in the middle

With group and inter-group relations, it is easy to see what went right or wrong in hindsight, or when observing from a distance, but tuning into these dynamics when caught up in them and taking constructive actions when it can have a meaningful impact requires complex cognitive and emotional processing and the use of multiple logics simultaneously. This educational format also explores the mysteries of counter-intuitive principles, such as “to grow, cut back,” and “to strengthen self, augment other,” are examined.  The experiential events that are at the center of this leaning occur over two weekends in the fall semester (Friday evening through to Sunday evening).

Fall 2018:
Option 1:
Friday, September 14th, 6:00pm – 11:00pm
Saturday, September 15th, 9:00am – 11:00pm
Sunday, September 16th, 9:00am – 6:00pm

Option 2:
Friday, September 21st, 6:00pm – 11:00pm
Saturday, September 22nd, 9:00am – 11:00pm
Sunday, September 23rd, 9:00am – 6:00pm

Please contact Adam Roth-Saks for more information about registering for this course.

Spring Courses

Can you imagine a world without the vitality and diversity of the nonprofit sector? What would it be like? Everything from health care to education, from serving the disadvantaged to protecting and restoring the environment, nonprofit organizations seem to have become an inseparable part of every aspect of our lives. So often they are taken for granted that we seldom pause and reflect on the roles and functions of these vital organizations in our community. This course will introduce you to the various roles that voluntary, philanthropic and nonprofit organizations play in American society. It will cover the theory, size, scope and functions of the sector from multiple disciplinary perspectives including historical, political, economic, and social views. The course also has a “hidden agenda.” Take this class to see and discover what this agenda is!

This experiential, highly interactive seminar is for those eager to serve in managerial/leadership positions of human systems that create/maintain the organizational and fiscal viability of public, non-profit or private enterprises, including their partnerships. Candidates in all Penn graduate programs are welcome, whether one’s ambition is to generate sustainable livelihoods, renewable energy, wealth, clean water, viable environments, robotics, or quality services in fields such as education, health care, AI, or criminal justice. Course participants are members of decision-making groups that run a computer-based, data-driven, future-creating, socio-economic simulation while synchronously studying the intra- and inter-group dynamics inherent in all leadership actions.

The educational methodology of NPLD 791 is based on discovery-learning processes about the critical inter-dependencies among several phenomena, such as:

  • strategy formulation-execution and organizational practices that unleash latent possibilities
  • wealth creation and the dynamics of competition/collaboration within and among groups
  • robust economic metrics and intra/inter-group decision-making sophistication
  • leadership of market-financial-political ecosystems and quality group-based followership
  • the efficacy of work-based activities and system conflict management capabilities
  • building new forms of private, public, non-profit ventures and developing human capital

This course combines intellectual and experiential learning about the business of organizing and an organization’s businesses. It is based on cutting-edge sociological, economic, psychological, managerial and anthropological thinking about wealth-creation/circulation, the power of combining left-brain and right-brain reasoning, the harnessing of energies trapped by classic organizational conflicts and accessing the abundance located in contexts of seeming scarcity.

The faculty

  • provides the intellectual architecture for this learning adventure
  • builds and manages the structures for all the experiential events
  • facilitates the discovery processes of participants
  • links the lessons of scholarship to challenges experienced in every-day work-places
  • offers group and system-wide feedback about the universal lessons located in the unique dynamics, co-manufactured by course participants in their simulated world

Participants must be present for every minute of the course and be fully involved in all activities. To apply for a permit to take this course, contact Adam Roth-Saks via email at adamsaks@sp2.upenn.edu.

Spring 2018:
Wednesdays, February 7th, February 14th, and March 14th, 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Fridays, February 16th & February 23th, 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Saturdays, February 17th & February 24th, 9:00am – 10:00pm
Sundays, February 18th & February 25th, 9:00am – 6:00pm

This interdisciplinary course is taught in the spring semester. Social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative vision seeking to accomplish important public purposes through the creative and aggressive mobilization of people and resources. Using academic theory and research on social entrepreneurship as a framework, student innovators learn to design, develop, and lead social change organizations of their own invention. Students turn their passion for changing the world into concrete plans for launching a venture. Over the course of the semester, we will cover a broad array of topics associated with social innovation and entrepreneurship, including defining the problem/opportunity, refining the mission/vision, developing market research and industry analysis, defining a financial and operating structure, assessing results and progress, and scaling an enterprise. This course is neutral on sector. Graduate students in any of Penn’s graduate and professional schools who want to create social value through either nonprofit or for-profit ventures are invited to take the class and develop their ideas. The class will expose students to the process of getting an organization – regardless of sector – off the ground and running.

While this is a class on innovation and entrepreneurship, students do not need to be committed to starting a venture upon graduation. The skills and tools contained in the course have wide applicability in the workplace.  Being able to develop a coherent venture plan is great training for anyone who wants to work in government, philanthropy, or the business sector funding or managing existing organizations. The course attempts to convey a picture of what a well-considered and well-executed venture plan looks like with the goal of developing in students an appreciation for clear thinking in the pursuit of the creation of public value.

Students will work throughout the term on a plan for an organization that they devise, with assignments spread out throughout the term. Elements of a venture plan will be drafted through multiple class assignments, and students present formally and informally several times throughout the semester,receiving feedback from faculty, peers, social entrepreneurs and invited guests. At the end of the term, students will assemble all the pieces they have worked on in the class, revise and hone these elements, and then put them into a coherent venture plan for their organization. This class is ideal preparation for the Dell Social Innovation Challenge (www.dellchallenge.org), which the instructor founded and which awards funds to launch new student social ventures. Entry into the Challenge is not required.

Spring 2018:
Tuesdays, 5:00pm – 8:00pm

This is a class focused on understanding how innovation plays a central role in public problem solving. We will explore how social entrepreneurs develop their ideas, define intended impact, market their solutions, understand competition, and collaborate with other actors. At the end of the course, students will have mastered a set of conceptual tools that will allow them to be effective problem solvers in diverse settings throughout their careers. The course has five core objectives:

  1. To introduce students to the concepts and practices of social entrepreneurship
  2. To introduce students to the components of a successful social enterprise
  3. To equip students with the tools to be able to accurately identify and assess innovation and impact in social enterprises
  4. To train students to view the world from a perspective of social innovation
  5. To encourage and empower students to develop their own innovative solutions to different social problems around the world

This spring semester course is mostly geared for undergraduate juniors, seniors, and other graduate and professional students not enrolled in the NPL Program as an introductory course to social innovation.

Spring 2018:
Wednesdays, 1:00pm – 3:30pm

This half credit course will provide a basic understanding of the law that applies to nonprofit organizations, with an emphasis on the law affecting 501(c)(3) public charities. It will focus on ways to obtain and maintain federal tax exempt status, including issues of private inurement and private benefit, limits on advocacy, lobbying and electioneering, unrelated business income tax, and excess benefits taxes. It will show how legal structure and governance procedures affect the answer to the question “Whose Organization Is It?” Students will review bylaws of multiple organizations to see how differences in structure reflect the great diversity of nonprofits and why “one size does not fit all” within the sector. They will learn how to avoid bad legal drafting that can create problems for dysfunctional organizations.

The course will explain fiduciary duty of officers and directors, explore the extent of potential personal liability, and review necessary insurance and indemnification. It will review Form 990 publicly available tax returns of multiple nonprofits to see why a tax return may be a nonprofit’s most important public relations document. It will also review the basics of charitable giving through a mock meeting of university development officers, outline the concepts of planned giving, and discuss the requirements for charitable solicitation registration at the state level. It will explain the legal requirements for maintaining endowments and discuss a series of ethical issues that can face nonprofit executives and their lawyers.

Students will receive one year of free access to Don Kramer’s Nonprofit Issues® website, and will emerge with a better understanding of the key legal issues facing the nonprofit sector that regularly make the news.

Spring 2018:
Wednesdays: January 24th, January 31st, February 28th, March 21st, April 4th, and April 11th, 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Half Credit

Americans gave more than $350 billion to nonprofit organizations last year, the highest total ever recorded.  Now, more than ever, it is crucial that nonprofit leaders master the art and science of raising philanthropic capital.  Participants in this innovative class will:

  • acquire an understanding of the nonprofit funding landscape;
  • learn proven and creative strategies to secure investments;
  • gain the experience of giving and motivating charitable commitments; and
  • receive peer evaluation and professional consulting feedback.

This experiential and interactive learning half credit course will provide students an opportunity to evaluate a nonprofit organization endeavoring to attract voluntary support, and coach students to think through and develop the ideas, skills, and tools required to participate personally in today’s philanthropic market.

Spring 2018:
Fridays: February 9th, March 16th, and April 13th, 9:00am – 3:00pm
Half Credit

The half credit course will offer a broad and pragmatic perspective on social impact at the Bottom of the Pyramid. The early part of the course will focus on general characteristics, challenges, and opportunities of resource-poor settings and high-uncertainty environments. The bulk of the course will focus on tools and frameworks designed to operationalize such Social Impact initiatives. The course is aimed at students with no to moderate experience in entrepreneurship/international development. Students with extensive work experience in for-profits, nonprofits, NGOs, or development work are most welcome.

Spring 2018:
Friday/Saturday/Sunday, April 6/7/8, 9:00am – 5:00pm

This half credit class will provide students with the ability to use the financial tools of cash flow, budgeting, and forecasting models to assist in strategic thinking as it relates to a nonprofit organization. In addition the class will provide tools that can be used to follow implementation of such strategies including: personal cash flow; basic financial statements; supplemental schedules; and cash flow, budgeting, and forecasting.

Spring 2018:
Fridays: January 12th, January 19th, January 26th, and February 2nd, 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Mondays: January 22nd, January 29th, and February 5th, 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Half Credit

NPLD 585 is a 5-day, off-site, intensive service-learning course in social innovation.  Students will learn how innovation and entrepreneurship play a central role in public problem solving. The course will explore how social entrepreneurs co-develop new ideas with key stakeholders, articulate problems and solutions, define intended impact, understand competition, and collaborate with other actors. At the end of the course, students will have mastered a set of conceptual tools and strategies that will allow them to be effective problem solvers in diverse settings throughout their careers. The course has five core objectives:

  1. To introduce students to the concepts and practices of social entrepreneurship;
  2. To introduce students to the components of a successful social enterprise;
  3. To train students to view the world from a perspective of social innovation;
  4. To encourage and empower students to develop their own innovative solutions to different social problems around the world.
  5. To introduce students to real social issues and social innovations in a real-world setting.

More information.

Spring 2018:
May 15th – May 21st

This course is designed for interdisciplinary students interested in cultivating flourishing organizations, engaged stakeholders, and inspiring leaders across sectors and especially within nonprofits.  Over the past several years, the field of Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) has proliferated, yielding a compelling body of knowledge on how and when people thrive at work.  This course focuses on both the theoretical and practical insights that can be gained from cutting-edge POS research and applied to help practitioners enrich people’s experiences at work and beyond.  Special attention is placed on how this wisdom applies not only across sectors but also specifically to the nonprofit organizational context.

The course is built upon a foundation of experiential learning, such that students can expect to experiment and apply course concepts in their own lives throughout the semester.  In other words, students will start with themselves as the first site of learning and development.  The experiential community is enhanced further with team projects where students assess and consult with local nonprofit organizations.  These team projects culminate in students presenting to their actual nonprofit organizations their recommendations for enhanced strategy and practices.

In particular, the learning objectives of the course provide students with:

  1. Techniques and real-world experience in using positive leadership concepts to enrich one’s own career, relationships, and life;
  2. Ability to identify opportunities to use positive leadership practices in the workplace to enhance stakeholder engagement, individual and organizational performance, and collective impact;
  3. Tools for applying positive leadership concepts in nonprofits, as well as all other organizational domains (e.g., business, government, coaching, the family, etc.);
  4. Research and consulting experience with a local non-profit organization.

Spring 2018:
Saturday, January 27th and Sunday, January 28th (9:00am – 4:00pm on both days)
Saturday, February 10th and Sunday, February 11th (9:00am – 4:00pm on both days)
Saturday, March 17th and Sunday, March 18th (9:00am – 4:00pm on both days)
Saturday, April 21st and Sunday, April 22nd (9:00am – 4:00pm on both days)

Practitioners, leaders and researchers need to engage with the latest cutting-edge research findings in their field. In this class you will develop an understanding of the quantitative methods that underpin social impact research, in an applied lab-based context. Theoretically, we will focus on developing your working statistical knowledge, and practically we will develop your data analysis skills by introducing you to a range of approaches for analyzing and handling large-scale secondary quantitative data that capture social impact. The substantive focus of the course will be on individual-level participation in the Non-profit Sector in activities such as volunteering and charitable giving.

This applied course covers the fundamental elements and approaches to handling and analyzing quantitative survey data. The emphasis is on developing an adequate understanding of basic theoretical statistical principles, descriptive and exploratory methods of analysis, graphical representation, operational procedures and interpretation of statistical results using STATA. The course will cover a wide range of statistical techniques from basic descriptive statistics to more advanced multivariate statistical techniques, such as OLS regression and logistic regression. You will also be introduced to a number of important topics, including theory testing and development; philosophy of science and research judgement; and replication in social impact research.

This course is an introduction to applied social impact research and is designed for those who want to engage with quantitative social impact research, but also those who wish to make their own original research contributions. No prior statistical knowledge or programming skills are required to enroll in the course.

Spring 2018:
Tuesdays: January 30th, February 6th, April 10th, and April 17th, 10:00am – 12:30pm
Tuesdays: January 30th, February 6th, February 13th*, and February 20th* (lab section)  *online session
Thursdays: February 1st, February 8th, April 12th, and April 19th, 10:00am – 12:30pm
Thursdays: February 1st, February 8th, February 15th, February 22nd, April 12th, and April 19th, 1:30pm – 4:00pm (lab section)

Studying the behavior of groups and the actions/inactions of people within groups provides a doorway to deeper understanding of our selves, our families, our friends, our colleagues, our organizations, and our communities. This half credit course is designed for Penn Graduate students eager to generate constructive group processes when chairing a committee, managing a work group, teaching in a classroom, conducting a support/therapy group or facilitating strategy formulation. It is easy to look back and see what went right or wrong in a group or when observing what others are doing. But tuning into and gaining a comprehensive grasp of these processes when they are happening and learning how to take constructive actions in the here and now when it can have a meaningful impact requires a high level of cognitive capability combined with a special form of relational artistry. This weekend course is an amalgam of experiential activities and energizing ways to internalize the rich concepts developed during a hundred years of research. Participants are required to be fully present and fully engaged for the whole weekend, read the equivalent of a book’s worth of material, and write an 8-page (double spaced) paper.

Spring 2018:
Section 1:
Friday, January 19th, 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Saturday, January 20th, 9:00am – 10:00pm
Sunday, January 21st, 9:00am – 6:00pm
Half Credit

OR

Friday, February 2nd, 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Saturday, February 3rd, 9:00am – 10:00pm
Sunday, February 4th, 9:00am – 6:00pm
Half Credit

This spring semester course will focus on how urban communities are shaped by the nonprofit sector and the billions of philanthropic dollars that fuel their work.  By bridging theory and practice, the class explores what dynamics are at play to deliver vital services or programs in health care, education, the arts, community development, and other issues.  The course will also focus on these important questions:

  • Whose responsibility is the public good? How is that responsibility shared by the public, private, and nonprofit sectors?
  • Given the responsibility for the public good, which individuals and groups make the decisions about how to serve the public good?

Students will consider these questions in an interdisciplinary context that will bring a historical and philosophical perspective to the examination of the values and institutions that characterize contemporary philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. All NPL students who take this course must register under NPLD 797.

Spring 2018:
Thursdays, 5:30pm – 8:30pm

Summer Courses

Thinking like a designer can transform the way people and organizations develop products, services, processes, and strategy. This approach, called design thinking, brings together what is desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable. It also allows people who aren’t trained as designers to use creative tools to address a vast range of challenges. Design thinking is a deeply human process that taps into abilities we all have but get overlooked by more conventional problem-solving practices. It relies on our ability to be intuitive, to recognize patterns, to construct ideas that are emotionally meaningful as well as functional, and to express ourselves through means beyond words or symbols. Design thinking is something you can learn only by doing, so we’ll get out into the world and tackle a design challenge of our own together. We’ll learn how to research by researching, learn how to prototype by prototyping and learn how to communicate our ideas by pitching to a group of experts. At the end of the class you should feel confident in your abilities to apply design thinking to any challenge you’re facing and to come up with new ideas and solutions as a result.

Summer 2018:
June 1st, 2nd, 7th, & 8th: 9:00am – 5:00pm
June 9th: 9:00am – 3:00pm

Design and Incorporation of High Impact Not-For-Profits is designed for those who have a practitioner’s interest in the design, governance, leadership, and management of high impact not-for-profit organizations.  This course is taught through learning best practice theory, applying this theory to a simulation experience, and providing students the opportunity to apply their new knowledge and experience in an interview with a current not-for-profit leader. Students, through the combination of theory and practice, are provided with the essential competencies and tools to design and incorporate a not-for-profit, conduct in-depth analysis of a not-for-profit’s effectiveness including, but not limited to, governance, leadership, social impact, financial sustainability, and systems and policy influence.

Through the mock simulation process of designing, incorporating, and governing students will leave with a “best practice” not-for-profit manual that includes articles of incorporation, bylaws, governance deliverables, strategic business plan, organizational scorecard, 3-5 year budget, development plan and public policy strategy.

The knowledge and tools, gained through readings and the mock simulation experience, will be applied, in the form of a thorough analysis, to the governance, leadership, strategic and/or business model, financial sustainability, social impact, marketing and communication, and public policy influence of an existing organization.

Summer 2018:
Tuesdays & Thursdays, May 21st – June 21st: 5:00pm – 9:00pm

Part of being a working professional in social impact is assessing the effectiveness of intervention models. This is true whether you work in service delivery, consulting, evaluation or philanthropy. This course offers students a unique, experience-based opportunity to assess an organization’s work from afar, then on the ground in Malawi. The expectation is that several assumptions established in the beginning of the course will hold through to the end. Importantly, others will not. Students will understand how we build a knowledge base about an organization’s work, what assertions we come to, and then how we test those assumptions. This process represents a vital skill set including research, perspective-taking, and direct engagement with the communities served and the people doing the work. The course will provide students with a practical framework for analyzing social impact interventions through three important and complementary lenses: sector practice, environmental factors and organizational implementation. Students will use the immersive travel experience in Malawi to engage directly with a service organization to apply the framework. They will also use data collected about these organizations through the Lipman Family Prize selection process, a University of Pennsylvania-based social impact prize, combined with their own research, both primary and secondary, to better understand the organizations, staff, and forces influencing the intervention. Students will use ethnographic tools to collect and analyze primary data regarding staff attitudes and perceptions at these organizations. Students will present their findings to the organizational leadership while still in country. The course will include significant team-based project work.

The deadline to apply is April 20th.

Summer 2018:
In Philadelphia:
Thursday, May 24th: 10:00am – 1:00pm
Friday, June 1st: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Friday, June 8th: 10:00am – 2:00pm
In Malawi:
June 12th – 20th

Past Courses

Over the past decade, researchers have identified some of the key skills that people need to succeed in their work and in their lives. These are skills that anyone can develop with practice. In this class, the instructor will teach three of the key skills: resilience (the ability to thrive in difficult times), creativity (the ability to come up with innovative solutions to problems), and productivity (the ability to make the best use of your time and find life balance). During the first session, you will learn the key skills. Over the course of the summer, students will practice these skills to see and document significant improvement in important areas of their daily lives. Finally, at the end of June, we will evaluate our progress and talk about how to sustain these gains in our personal and professional lives. This course is not a traditional lecture course. While we will review the best scientific research on the skills for effective change makers, the main part of the course is devoted to practicing these skills. In other words, this is a highly experiential, interactive, and dynamic course!

Great leaders are storytellers. They are able to engage and entertain their communities, and tell a compelling narrative about how the world works. They use language powerfully and communicate in ways that uplift and inspire others. In this class, we will explore the power of telling great stories, and learn how to do it most effectively when promoting your campaigns to make the world a better place. We will also look at the skills of framing language in ways that will win over an audience. Finally, we will look at other key skills of effective communication, including the best strategies for persuasion, negotiation, and conflict resolution.