The next generation of nonprofit leaders are being grown right here on The Bluff. While all UP students are here to get a degree; some want something more: a real-world experience that will help them become a leader following graduation. The Franz Center for Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Innovation aims to assist UP students in becoming scholarly future leaders.
Dave Houglum, newly-appointed director for leadership, hopes to cater to students’ futures. His goals for the program are to create a partnership between the Franz and Moreau Centers, expand the leadership capacity of faculty and staff and add new courses and programs.
Within the Franz Leadership Program, students can choose from two routes: the Faith-Based Leadership Program and the Leader Certificate Program.
The faith-based program provides an intersection between faith and its leaders. Students apply for the program at the beginning of their sophomore year, and are selected that spring after submitting a cover letter, resume and doing an interview. Program staff then connect students with different non-profit organizations, and students select their top three choices before being paired with a mentor. Internships are coordinated for the summer between students’ junior and senior years. The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust provides $3,500 stipends for students completing these internships.
For students in the faith-based program, there is one $250 fee for an additional one-credit, faith-based leadership class, LDR 391.
“It’s a fantastic program, and the students really seem to be getting a lot out of it,” Houglum said. “They get the opportunity to work with a senior-level executive who mentors them throughout the summer so the student has access to ask them all these different questions.”
Senior Colton Smith worked in the Faith-Based Leadership Program. After applying his sophomore year, he was selected along with six other students. After moving into the program junior year, Smith began practicing with case studies that would be given during the internship.
Smith worked for M.J. Murdock, a nonprofit that gives money to other nonprofit programs throughout the northwest and across the country. The grants aim to “strengthen the region’s educational, spiritual and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways.”
Smith was drawn to the program early on due to his curiosity about nonprofit organizations.
“I wanted to do the internship mainly because I was interested in nonprofit work,” Smith said. “And I believed if I worked there for 10 weeks, I would have a better understanding about whether or not I wanted to fully commit to that when I graduate.”
Within M.J. Murdock, Smith worked with three other interns from different parts of the country. During a typical day, the group would read spiritual stories and Bible verses and talk about the different projects they were working on.
The hope for the program is that working for a nonprofit will give greater experience to the students who utilize the Franz Leadership Program. In the business world, the executives working at a nonprofit do the same amount and type of work as for-profit businesses.
“I would recommend the program to students that love to volunteer, that love to be involved in the community and would like to see the community of Portland be strengthened,” Smith said.
While Smith doesn’t expect to work for M.J. Murdock again, he hopes to work for nonprofits in the future as a board leadership member.
“I definitely would say it was worth it. It’s one of the best experiences I’ve had through the University of Portland,” Smith said. “It taught me a lot and was one of the more difficult experiences as well.”
Like Smith, senior marketing and theology double major Kelsey Connolly applied and was selected for the competitive Faith Based Leadership Program. The program first caught her attention when former director, Pete Rooks, talked to her BUS 302 class. Connolly interviewed with three different companies and received an internship with Catholic Charities of Oregon.
Over the course of eight weeks, she worked a typical 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. day. Her internship consisted first of learning about the differences between nonprofit and for-profit organizations. She then worked in the Human Resources Department working in developing and marketing.
After the experience, Connolly is certain she wants to go into the nonprofit side of business, and hopes to continue her work with Catholic Charities. She also learned how to transfer the skills she had developed during her internship into her schedule this semester.
The program and her internship experience have helped shape Connolly’s possible career path.
“It takes a lot of stress off finding another internship,” Connolly said.
For the Leadership Certificate Program, there is no application process, but students must take two additional classes, LDR 225 and LDR 325 which are $250 and $750, respectively. However, financial aid is available for both programs. While students in the Leadership Certificate Program do not obtain a stipend, they do receive a certificate that shows up on their transcript and can be put on a resume.
LDR 225 gives students a chance to learn about leadership and about themselves. The class focuses on students’ discovery of who they want to become. LDR 325 gives participants a chance to work one-on-one with a “coach,” a UP faculty or staff member to mentor them.
Houglum also stressed that students do not need to be in a position of power or authority to make a difference.
“We help the students lead into their strengths so they can have the biggest impact wherever they are,”
–Story from the Beacon by Molly Vincent