BYU students seeking to make a difference in the world no longer need to choose between pursuing a fulfilling career or a well-paid profession. Todd Manwaring, director and founder of the Ballard Center for Social Impact, shares that across the world, nonprofit organizations are merging with corporate businesses to maximize the long-term positive impact created through philanthropic efforts. This adjustment has created the need for updated instruction among academic institutions, and the Ballard Center combined with the Romney Institute of Public Service and Ethics, housed in the BYU Marriott School of Business, is rising to the challenge.
The nonprofit management minor now offered through the Ballard Center and Romney Institute has been updated to prepare students to be leaders in the social impact sphere. Prior to the recent update, the nonprofit management minor focused on teaching students about administrative roles within the nonprofit sector. Now, all BYU students enrolled in the minor can look forward to learning the skills necessary to create meaningful change in their careers through an increased focus on social impact.
Manwaring is excited to see the lasting impact the updated minor can make in students’ lives. “The development world is merging into several organizations, not just nonprofits,” he says. “The updated curriculum enables students to become leaders in social impact since this kind of instruction is ahead of its time.”
Laying the foundation of the minor is BYU Marriott assistant professor Dan Heist, who is teaching two new required courses—MSB 376: Social Impact: Leveraging Organizations and MSB 378: Evaluating Social Impact. This curriculum teaches the skills required to succeed in the changing sphere of social impact through advanced methods such as human-centered design and the social impact cycle.
Updates to the minor focus on teaching students how to create sustainable change in nonprofit, government, and corporate social responsibility sectors. “Our curriculum is staying ahead of what is happening in the industry since social impact is an emerging field,” says Heist. “BYU Marriott is at the forefront of that field.”
The updated minor also focuses on emerging social impact trends through two additional classes—MSB 375: Social Innovation: Do Good Better and MSB 377: Human-Centered Design Thinking for Social Impact. In these courses, students conduct a semester long research project on a social issue of their choosing. Students work to analyze and build upon solutions to social problems, becoming competitive leaders and changemakers in the evolving world of social impact.
While BYU Marriott administers the minor, all BYU students interested in solving social problems can enroll in the courses. “Updates to the minor help students from any major recognize that they can be an active part in creating solutions,” says Manwaring. “The minor currently serves students from more than 168 majors across campus, and each student’s unique skills and interests are crucial to solving unique problems. BYU Marriott aims to produce careful thinkers and active participants in social impact.”
Heist is confident these updates will empower students to discover their own stewardship of global social impact issues. “The Lord inspires individuals to do good in ways that only that individual can do,” he says. “Students will develop their own ideas and walk away from the minor with concrete plans and experiences to create inspired change.”