Leadership Practicum

Full-Time On-Campus Students

The Leadership Practicum is an integral part of the experiential learning for all full-time NPL students, which builds upon core competencies and principles of leadership developed in the classroom. It consists of:

  • a supervised mentoring and leadership development experience with either an executive director or senior level leader at a Philly-area nonprofit organization or foundation;
  • a partnership with the goal of learning about the organization and providing student support on various levels that can include strategic planning, succession planning, branding or marketing, development and philanthropy, or other targeted projects; and
  • a commitment of 180-225 hours of practicum time with the sponsoring organization during the academic year beginning in early October and ending in mid-April

Part-Time On-Campus Students

A modified Leadership Practicum is an option for part-time on-campus students as part of the experiential learning which builds upon core competencies and principles of leadership developed in the classroom. Part-time students’ current jobs within social impact and nonprofit organizations fulfill the requirement to support an organization on topics learned in the classroom including strategic planning, program development and evaluation, philanthropy, etc.

Part-time students have the opportunity to work with a mentor assigned in consultation with their advisor to bolster the mentorship portion of the practicum. This option facilitates:

  • a mentoring and leadership development experience with either an executive director or senior level leader at a Philly-area nonprofit organization or foundation;
  • a partnership with the goal of learning about the organization

Submatriculation On-Campus Students

The Leadership Practicum is an integral part of the experiential learning for all sub-matriculation NPL students, which builds upon core competencies and principles of leadership developed in the classroom. It consists of:

  • a supervised mentoring and leadership development experience with either an executive director or senior level leader at a nonprofit organization or foundation;
  • a partnership with the goal of learning about the organization and providing student support on various levels that can include strategic planning, succession planning, branding or marketing, development and philanthropy, or other targeted projects; and
  • a commitment of 180-225 hours of practicum time with the sponsoring organization during the summer between when they earn their undergraduate degree and the fall semester of their masters degree or during the academic year of their senior year as long as they have taken at least two NPL Core Courses prior to the practicum.

Hybrid Students (August 2018 - May 2019)

The Leadership Practicum fosters opportunities for hybrid NPL students to build upon core competencies and principles of leadership developed in the coursework. The practicum experience for hybrid students will be individually tailored to meet the needs of each student, with the assistance of the student’s academic advisor and in adherence with the following requirements:

  • A supervised mentoring and leadership development component with either an executive director or senior level leader at a nonprofit organization or foundation where the student currently works, or an organization found in consultation with their academic advisor;
  • A partnership with the goal of learning about the organization and providing student support on various levels for professional growth;
  • A commitment of 180-225 hours of practicum time with the sponsoring organization throughout the program’s duration.

If a student is not currently employed in the social impact sector, the student’s academic advisor will assist in identifying a partner for the student to complete the practicum requirement. Regardless of the sector in which the student is employed, there may be the need to identify an additional mentor for a student’s full-time job to fulfill the Leadership Practicum requirements.

Online Students (Starting August 2019)

The Leadership Practicum fosters opportunities for online NPL students to build upon core competencies and principles of leadership developed in the coursework. The practicum experience for online students will be individually tailored to meet the needs of each student, with the assistance of the student’s academic advisor and in adherence with the following requirements:

  • A supervised mentoring and leadership development component with either an executive director or senior level leader at a nonprofit organization or foundation where the student currently works, or an organization found in consultation with their academic advisor;
  • A partnership with the goal of learning about the organization and providing student support on various levels for professional growth;
  • A commitment of 180-225 hours of practicum time with the sponsoring organization throughout the program’s duration.

If a student is not currently employed in the social impact sector, the student’s academic advisor will assist in identifying a partner for the student to complete the practicum requirement. Regardless of the sector in which the student is employed, there may be the need to identify an additional mentor for a student’s full-time job to fulfill the Leadership Practicum requirements.

Goals for the Leadership Practicum

The Leadership Practicum enhances students’ understanding of leadership in nonprofits and social enterprises and fosters a commitment by local nonprofit leaders to cultivate the next generation of transformative leaders. Students witness leadership in action and benefit from individual mentoring and leadership development

Expectations

  • Mentors meet with students regularly.
  • Mentors provide advice, coaching, and encouragement.
  • Mentors lead through example and share their professional growth with students.
  • Mentors play a critical role in guiding the development of the leadership practicum.
  • Students act as participant observers in key processes in which leadership skills are demonstrated in real time.
  • Students gain the social and political skills necessary for successful leadership.
  • Students and mentors develop projects together that address needs within the organization.

The Leadership Practicum is a mutually rewarding partnership to engage and develop future nonprofit and social impact leaders. The practicum is an opportunity for organizations to have a graduate student assist in completing projects and allows students to apply principles taught in class to the workforce and put their own spin on teamwork, accountability, and finding solutions to ongoing problems.

If you are interested in hosting a practicum student, please contact Adam Roth-Saks, Administrative Director of the Nonprofit Leadership Program, at adamsaks@sp2.upenn.edu.