Non-profit management

The need for a new major

Xavier University is a private, Jesuit college in the Midwest. These descriptors imply several things.

“Private” means that the government doesn’t have tight control over where Xavier spends its money. “University” implies tuition funds, room and board funds, private investor capital and alumni donations. Jesuit rings of one thing: a tradition of service, emphasizing the idea of being “for and with others.”

If these descriptors are true, one would think that Xavier academics would have a heavy focus on service and that the university would have the money to fund this focus.

In many respects, this is true. The university is involved in many service initiatives, has instilled a language of bettering the community within the goals of the institution and its academic focus is holistic in nature.
All of this presents the question: Why do we not have a non-profit management major at the Williams College of Business?

We have an entrepreneurial studies major and a management major. At a university with more than 6,000 students with over 15 religious affiliations represented, an in-house Jesuit residence and several positions on campus that require management but don’t take in a profit — including the university administration — one would think that at least one student would be interested in this major.

Besides the university itself, students interested in business are missing out on the opportunity to manage many businesses that they may not even think of as being “non-profit.” There are obvious organizations, such as the Red Cross, GoodWill or Habitat for Humanity, but some businesses like the YMCA are less obviously non-profit. The YMCA is an organization that affected many people when they were younger, and any student at Xavier who would want to pursue managerial work there as an adult may not be well qualified because we don’t have the major to develop the necessary knowledge and skills.

Maxwell Bruns is a first-year Honors Bacehlor of Arts major from Cincinnati.
Maxwell Bruns is a first-year Honors Bacehlor of Arts major from Cincinnati.

Even with the emphasis on career counseling and the surplus of resources provided to business majors through the career development office and the College of Business itself, students who are interested in non-profit careers have no opportunity to be trained in this type of management. Non-profit management necessitates specialized knowledge, such as non-profit tax codes and state regulations that are required in order to maintain a non-profit status.
These skills would be attainable for students within the major, and the possibility of this type of study would be right in conjunction with our university’s mission: “Driven by our commitment to the common good and to the education of the whole person, the Xavier community challenges and supports students as they cultivate lives of reflection, compassion and informed action.”

When the Williams College of Business reevaluates its policies, it should seriously consider the inclusion of this major. While sports management, corporate finance or small-business entrepreneurship are attractive and viable for many business students, non-profits need well-educated, dedicated people in management positions.

Non-profit management, a relatively new concept for many universities, should be a token of our business school because of the need by all charitable organizations to have people behind the scenes making sure they run efficiently.