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DSU to offer Certified Nonprofit
Professional credential

By Chase Hansen

Joining a community of more than 40 campuses nationwide, Dixie State University will begin offering the Certified Nonprofit Professional credential endorsed by the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance during the Fall 2019 semester.

“Our traditional and community resident-students will have access to tremendous career preparation and resources,” said DSU Instructor of Sociology Bob Oxley, who has been tasked by President Richard "Biff" Williams, Provost Michael Lacourse, and Dean Richard Featherstone to spearhead the organization and implementation of the CNP program on the Dixie State campus.

DSU’s partnership with the alliance fills a regional workforce need, as it is just the fifth school in the Western U.S. to offer the credential. The program will be available to all DSU students, faculty, and staff as well as all residents of Beaver, Garfield, Iron, Kane, and Washington counties.

Founded in 1948, the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance is the largest network in the world working to build a pipeline of talented and prepared professionals. Specifically, the Certified Nonprofit Professional credential, a unique leadership development program, is designed to reduce the learning curve of nonprofit professionals and allow them to immediately impact their organization and communities. To earn the CNP credential, students must participate in classes, complete a minimum of 300 internship hours at a nonprofit organization, attend at a national career conference, and participate in leadership and service activities that support classroom learning.

Those who hold a CNP credential have up to a 95 percent job placement rate and are seven times more likely to reach a high-level director position, according to the alliance. Additionally, hiring managers report that the credential reduces the new-hire learning curve by as much as two years.

The CNP credential will enhance any degree from finance, communication, and politics to science, education, and the arts, as the nonprofit industry permeates every industry. For example, organizations like the Ladies Professional Golf Association, AARP, NPR, The Smithsonian Institute, and Doctors without Borders are all nonprofits. In fact, Dixie State University itself is a nonprofit. Moreover, the nonprofit industry is responsible for more than 10 percent of the U.S. economic engine. In Utah alone, there has been a 25 percent increase in the number of nonprofits over the last decade, with nearly 8,000 nonprofit organizations employing some 63,000 professionals.

Trends in society have also found that millennials are shifting away from the big corporation path.

“The good news is millennials are really a voluntary type people, who are more sensitized to other people. They’d rather get paid to do something for other people; they feel more comfortable serving in some way," Oxley explained. "The whole generation is swinging that way.”

The CNP credential and a degree from Dixie State combined with graduates' desire to do meaningful work will create “the whole package for nonprofit employers,” Oxley continued. “I honestly believe that this will be one of the biggest stepping-stone opportunities that [students and professionals] are ever going to have. I really, honestly believe that.”

As part of receiving the alliance’s endorsement, schools must incorporate into its curriculum 10 core competencies such as proficiency in strategic communication, finance and management, ethics and diversity, and forward thinking. The three-year contract between DSU and became effective on July 1, marking the beginning of the process of organizing committees, gaining approval for curriculum proposals, and selecting a permanent CNP-certified director — all in strides to offer students what the alliance describes as the opportunity to be “certified to change the world.”

More information will be forthcoming as progress continues. For more information concerning the CNP credential and partnership with the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, contact Bob Oxley at