Learning in Action: Effective Nonprofit Management Students Present Strategic Plan

As our students and alumni know, Villanova’s MPA professors are dedicated to providing students with applicable knowledge in the program’s coursework.  One of the four goals of our mission is to “Emphasize the importance of practical experience.”

The Leaders’ Lounge is excited to introduce a new series of articles that we’re calling Learning in Action. Over the next few months this semester, we’ll be bringing you stories of students outside the classroom, implementing their skills in a real-life environment.

To start things off, here’s an example of Effective Nonprofit Management students putting their coursework into action in the workplace:

ACE Dinner Attendees

Students Stephanie Myers, Bernadette Smith, Justin Evert, and Lany Villalobos, and Dr. Catherine Wilson with the ACE Steering Committee at Maggiano’s Little Italy.

As a final project for MPA 8600: Effective Nonprofit Management this past fall, four students developed a strategic plan for Advancing Civics Education (ACE), an initiative of the Philadelphia Bar Association. The students worked closely with ACE Steering Committee members, engaging in weekly conference calls to research and develop an appropriate strategic plan. At the end of the project, the students presented their plan in class, with several members of the Steering Committee in attendance. The students were then invited to present their findings to the full ACE Steering Committee and three Philadelphia judges – Judge Ramy Djerassi, Judge John Younge, and Judge Genece Brinkley – at a dinner at Maggiano’s Little Italy.

Effective Nonprofit Management was Stephanie Myers’s first course in the program. “We worked for several months on this project, sometimes becoming frustrated, but never giving up,” Stephanie said. “In the end, we learned that a well-crafted strategic plan was the key to ACE’s success moving forward.” In addition, Stephanie found that the project allowed the students to establish valuable professional connections, broadening their networks. “Professionalism and perseverance will go a long way in public administration,” she said, “and might even get you a dinner with some of Philadelphia’s best attorneys!”

Have an example of learning in action that you’d like to share with The Leaders’ Lounge? Email Shanna Lodge to have your story included in this series.