News / Halifax

'A better world for all:' Halifax university launches nonprofit leadership program

Mount Saint Vincent University to offer new program starting next fall through the Bachelor of Business Administration faculty.

Dr. Scott MacMillan, left, and Business and Tourism Department Chair Dr. Peter Mombourquette of Mount Saint Vincent University are launching a nonprofit leadership program next fall.

Contributed

Dr. Scott MacMillan, left, and Business and Tourism Department Chair Dr. Peter Mombourquette of Mount Saint Vincent University are launching a nonprofit leadership program next fall.

A Halifax university is launching a new program around nonprofit leadership so grads are better equipped to enter a growing sector that is a “major player in the well-being of Canada.”

Applications are now being accepted for Mount Saint Vincent University’s new nonprofit leadership program launching next fall, which offers a major, minor, or concentration within the Mount’s existing Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree.

Program coordinator Dr. Scott MacMillan jokingly calls himself an “accidental business professor” of seven years at MSVU after a 20-year career at the YMCA, but his heart has always remained in the charitable sector. MacMillan said he saw a need for professional nonprofit education in Atlantic Canada, especially since Dalhousie University recently stopped offering similar training.

“Students I was dealing with, I do a lot of career advising, were looking for meaningful work, looking for ‘Hey I want to make a difference,’” MacMillan said in an interview, adding that more and more business students are also ending up in nonprofit positions, even for a short time.

“There’s an avenue here that we could meet a need, and it fits in with the mission of the Mount - building a better community, a better world for all,” he said.

Although a typical business program teaches many of the same skills needed in the nonprofit sector, MacMillan said it’s important to specifically focus on “unique” topics like dealing with volunteers, building partnerships, fundraising, community involvement, and zeroing in on how financial management and marketing are handled differently.

“You’re trying to balance mission with financial viability,” MacMillan said.

While MacMillan said all students are urged to become involved with nonprofits and their community in at least a volunteer or short term capacity, those focused on making a career in the field would enter at a time when nonprofits have ballooned. In Canada there are currently 170,000 employing more than 2 million people (10.5 per cent of the labour force), with 6,000 in N.S. alone.

The new program is still taking shape, MacMillan said, so it remains to be seen how many students are interested, but he hopes to bring in nonprofit leaders (like MSVU alum and United Way Halifax CEO Sarah Napier) as part-time instructors, and have a combination of class, online, and co-op work in the program.

A “standalone” certificate in nonprofit leadership is also available to students or those currently working in the field, MacMillan said. Since the program is multi-faceted, students outside the business faculty can also take part to supplement their skills while working on their arts degrees.

“The demand … I think it’s there,” MacMillan said.

“(With) the future of our country, our society, the nonprofit sector is a major player in the well-being of Canada and the future economic situation.”

More on Metronews.ca