BMAL 620 Nonprofit Leadership and Board Governance

Governance in nonprofit organizations provides strategic leadership, sets direction and monitors performance.  This course examines the board and leadership’s relationship, how to effectively manage those relationships, and the roles and responsibilities of the directors.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.

Course Guide

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This course is part of the core elements of the Masters in NonProfit Management for several cognates.  Research bears out the nonprofit board’s leadership and governance while not always synonymous do have several symbiotic functions.  Understanding these issues near the beginning of the MNM program of study lays a foundation for the more advanced nonprofit courses.


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After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences; therefore, the student will participate in 5 module discussions.  Both parts of the discussion (thread and replies) must be submitted by the published deadlines in order for the student to earn credit for either part of the discussion. The student will write an initial thread of 300 words and two replies of 300 words each. 

Governance as Leadership Model Assignment

The student will write a 1,500-2,000 word paper describing the 3 conditions necessary for board members to achieve ‘flow.’ The three modes of the Governance as Leadership Model are all equal, yet distinct.  Understanding these distinctions and purposes are crucial.

Getting Started and Gaining Traction Assignment

The student will write a 1,500-2,000 word paper discussing why boards are not really designed to provide consequential governance. The student will also explain the differences of generative governance and describe the initial steps in optimizing performance.

Boardroom Critical Thinking Assignment

The student will write a 1,500-2,000 word paper describing how ‘getting on the balcony’ helps provide a consequential governance perspective. The student will differentiate between boardroom ‘lions’ and ‘humble hounds’ and compare and contrast at least 2 of the impediments to critical thinking.

High Performing Board Assignment

The student will write a 1,500-2,000 word paper differentiating Trower’s 4 types of teams and considering the conditions of high performing teams. If board members want their organization to be high performing, with staff and operators all pulling together, then the board members should lead the way and model behaviors they seek in others (by being ‘high performing’ themselves).

Creating Culture Assignment

The student will write a 1,500-2,000 word paper describing what makes up a nonprofit board’s culture. In more ways than one, a nonprofit board’s effectiveness is impacted by its culture (visible structures and processes; stated strategies, goals, and philosophies; and values and actions). Changing that culture can be challenging.  This assignment helps solidify these axioms and provides tools to support a governance-as-leadership-friendly culture.

Leadership Requirements Assignment

The student will write a 1,500-2,000 word paper describing what ‘Governance as Leadership’ requires of their adaptive leaders. The student will also differentiate seven leadership competencies and describe the leadership succession process.

Measuring and Sustaining Assignment

The student will write a 1,500-2,000 word paper discussing Trowler’s 5 methods for collecting data in measuring board performance and describing the six main challenges every nonprofit organization faces.

Based on the Measurable Learning Outcomes above, this course will have a cumulative 2-hour, 50-question Quiz to ensure we are meeting the Program Learning Outcomes.


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