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St. Scholastica launches graduate degree in nonprofit leadership

The new master's program will begin in the fall.

FILE: Tower Hall St. Scholastica
The College of St. Scholastica announced a new graduate degree in nonprofit leadership. The new master's program will launch in the fall.
Tyler Schank / File / Duluth News Tribune

DULUTH — The College of St. Scholastica announced a new graduate degree in nonprofit leadership. The program is for people who currently, or who aspire to be, engaged in nonprofit work.

The new master's program will launch in the fall.

The curriculum requires seven courses, three electives and a capstone experience project. Students will gain hands-on experience at a nonprofit with a community mentor.

Courses will focus on human resource, governance, fundraiser and finance skills. The class will be in an online synchronous format.

Former CHUM executive director, Lee Stuart, serves as the program's director.

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"The program focuses on the fundamentals and what it takes to be a leader," Stuart said.

Leaders are needed due to large generational turnover rates in Duluth nonprofit organizations, Stuart said.

"A lot of these nonprofits are so small they don't have a strong professional development background," Stuart said.

The program hopes to formalize skills through academia in addition to first-hand experience.

"People in their organization have the capacity for leadership, but don't have a path to it," Stuart said. "It'll be wonderful professional development for front-line workers."

Leann Littlewolf, co-executive director of the American Indian Community Housing Organization, said the program is an opportunity for people to develop leadership skills in an organized way.

"There hasn't been a formalized education opportunity for nonprofit leadership skills like this, so that is a benefit," Littlewolf said. "I think in the last, I don't know, several years that we've seen retirements and transitions within different longstanding nonprofit organizations. So there are opportunities for new leaders to come in. There's a lot of duties and responsibilities you need to fulfill as a leader."

Students will be required to engage in a practicum experience at a local nonprofit with a mentor and pursue a thesis-level project. Students already working for a nonprofit are encouraged to use their organization as their capstone.

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Stuart added that St. Scholastica is also trying to raise scholarship funds for nonprofit organizations and businesses. For more information on the program, visit css.edu .

Abigael Smith is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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