Graduate Programs in Organizational Leadership Launched

June 18, 2009

Wheelock College is proud to announce the launch of graduate-level leadership programs targeted at mid-career, non-profit and higher-education professionals.

Nonprofit organizations and higher education institutions are among the largest employers in Massachusetts, employing 14 percent of the total workforce. But several recent studies predict a shortage of qualified leadership in the coming years. Consider:

  • Over the next decade, 50 percent of current nonprofit leaders will retire and their organizations are not engaged in succession planning. Higher education will also see a generational shift in leadership.
  • Fifty-seven percent of non-profit executives polled in a Birdsell and Muzzio study reported no professional development activities in their agencies.
  • A 2007 study by the Young Nonprofit Professional Network found that only 45 percent of respondents expected their next job to be in the non-profit sector. Offering a clear career path into leadership roles could help non-profits retain talented individuals who might otherwise join the corporate world.

"There is a crisis on the horizon as the current generation of non-profit and higher education leaders moves closer to retirement," Wheelock President Jackie Jenkins-Scott said. "Wheelock has long demonstrated a commitment to developing world-class practitioners, leaders and advocates in a variety of fields. We see the process of training a new generation of leaders as a natural extension of our mission."

Wheelock's Organizational Leadership program aims to groom a diverse group of students for leadership roles in non-profits, NGOs and higher education institutions. A combination of required courses and advanced electives will prepare students to lead organizations in an increasingly global environment and equip them with the skills necessary to build effective multicultural organizations.

Participants will be able to choose from two options: a master's of science in organizational leadership that will take four semesters to complete, or a certificate in organizational leadership that provides an easy and fast way for new managers and supervisors to get strong fundamentals of leadership and can be completed in just two semesters. Students can also elect specializations in either non-profit or higher education.

With an evening class schedule, the programs are conducive for working professionals. A two-semester applied research group project will be the capstone of the master's program, challenging students to come up with innovative and entrepreneurial solutions to real-world dilemmas in Boston-area non-profits.

The new programs will fill an underserved need in New England. While other management and leadership programs in the Boston area are designed for executive level managers seeking to improve or build upon their skills, Wheelock's program focuses on training and education for emerging leaders in non-profits and higher education. In addition, the Certificate in Leadership for Social Workers is the only program of its type in the area—providing social workers with perspectives and skills that might otherwise remain absent in a pool of organizational leaders whose education is solely management-based.

"Good leaders are always good managers, but good managers aren't always good leaders," said Irwin Nesoff, an Associate Professor of Social Work at Wheelock and Director of the new Organizational Leadership Program. "We want to ensure that the next generation of people running non-profits, NGOs and higher education institutions are equipped with the skills to both run the organization day to day and the vision to move it forward in these fast-changing times."

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