CWRU to expand programs for leaders committed to positive social impact

Three decades ago the Mandel Foundation and Case Western Reserve University established a program for nonprofit leaders that set the standard for excellence in an emerging discipline.

Today, the two organizations announced initiatives designed to expand and elevate opportunities for those committed to positive social impact in an era of rapid technological change and increasing globalization.

“The need for leaders who possess the talent and commitment required to change the world has never been greater,” said Morton L. Mandel, chairman and CEO of the Mandel Foundation. “We are pleased to collaborate with Case Western Reserve University as it enhances academic offerings for people dedicated to making a meaningful difference for others.”

After an expert panel review and ongoing conversations among university and foundation leaders, the two organizations adopted an approach to leadership education that reflects changes within the nonprofit field as well as broader opportunities within the private and public sectors.

“In the early 1980s, Mort’s vision and generosity allowed Case Western Reserve to offer cutting-edge programs that inspired campuses nationwide to emulate our offerings,” university President Barbara R. Snyder said. “Now we intend to provide a model that responds to the changes in the field and the world since the initiative began.”

With the significant advice and engagement of Morton L. Mandel and Foundation President Jehuda Reinharz, the university will launch academic tracks for nonprofit leaders within its existing Master of Business Administration and Executive Master of Business Administration programs at the Weatherhead School of Management. It also is creating a new certificate program in social service management and leadership at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.

“Over the past decade, universities around the world have seen dramatic increases in the proportion of people eager to contribute through nonprofit organizations, social entrepreneurship and government,” Snyder said. “This approach encourages students to acquire the skills required to influence practice, policy and even economic incentives in a manner that benefits others.”

Morton L. Mandel has been at the center of these academic trends since at least the 1970s. He first conceived of a center for nonprofit education and research after learning about the work of Yale University’s Program on Nonprofit Organizations, founded in 1978 by law school professor John Simon. Case Western Reserve’s center began under the leadership of Professor Richard E. Chait, who later became a renowned faculty member at Harvard University, and Professor Dennis Young, now the director of the Nonprofit Studies Program at Georgia State University. The university’s education and research programs in nonprofit leadership attracted widespread interest; when the center’s building opened in 2007, the national Nonprofit Academic Centers Council made Case Western Reserve its home.

In recent years the realm of positive social impact has witnessed growing attention among students pursuing degrees in business, public policy and more. Case Western Reserve adopted its changes after a comprehensive assessment of existing programs on campus and trends nationwide. Distinguished University Professor Richard E. Boyatzis, interim executive director of the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations, coordinated several of the faculty discussions that were part of the yearlong process, and also consulted with external experts within higher education and the nonprofit sector.

Ronn Richard, president and chief executive officer of the Cleveland Foundation, was among those consulted during the review.

“I applaud Case Western Reserve’s leaders for meeting the needs not only of their students but of the communities they aim to serve,” Richard said. “These changes will help the university develop the leaders of tomorrow in the nonprofit sector.”

Boyatzis acted as a strong advocate for current and future students interested in nonprofit leadership, and his efforts helped guide the university administration’s consideration of ways to enhance offerings in this area. At the same time, Boyatzis also led successful efforts to secure more than $1 million in additional grant funding to support training programs for nonprofit leaders.

“Professor Boyatzis has provided extraordinary leadership over the last year,” Snyder said. “His boundless energy, brilliant insight and deep commitment to these programs have served our campus in ways we can only begin to appreciate today. His true legacy will be evident for decades to come.”

As a faculty member with a primary appointment at the Weatherhead School of Management since 1987, Boyatzis has seen the evolution of students’ interests and aspirations first hand.

“I am inspired by the opportunities these initiatives will create for students and faculty alike,” Boyatzis said. “Our university long has been at the forefront of nonprofit management education and research, and these new programs will allow us to enhance our leadership in this realm.”

Faculty members at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences also are exploring ways to include more formal management education within its master’s degree program offerings.

University officials communicated regularly with representatives of the Mandel Foundation during the development of the new academic models, and foundation leaders have endorsed the approach. Snyder expressed gratitude to Mandel, Reinharz and all of the foundation staff for their engagement and support.

“We are grateful to the foundation, and Mort Mandel in particular, for the time, thought and attention devoted to our consideration of how best to prepare future leaders dedicated to changing the world for the better,” Snyder said. “We share the foundation’s belief in the influence even a single individual can have on others, and look forward to seeing the ways that future graduates benefit from these changes.”

The Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences (MSASS) will locate several of its academic programs in the building that now houses the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations. This newfound space will enable the school to house multiple programs now dispersed throughout the nearby area in a single common area on campus. This consolidation should provide significant synergies among researchers and staff and, in turn, catalyze innovations in research, education and public policy. MSASS academic centers already provide significant assistance to government and nonprofit organizations through such programs as NEO CANDO, a free public data system with comprehensive social and economic information about the 17 counties within Northeast Ohio.

In recognition of this transition in use, the foundation and university have agreed to rename the building (located at at 11402 Bellflower Road) as the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Community Studies Center.

“We see these developments as a tremendous opportunity to make an even greater difference in the lives of people within the greater Cleveland community and beyond,” said Mandel School Dean Grover “Cleve” Gilmore. “We already are among the top 10 schools of social work in the nation, and this new program will provide unique preparation for those eager for the extraordinary challenges and rewards of leadership in social service institutions.”

The Weatherhead School of Management has seen substantial increases in the proportion of its students interested in leadership roles once thought unusual for those earning business degrees. Throughout its roughly two-decade history, the Doctorate of Management (DM) program has seen roughly half of its enrollment drawn from the nonprofit and governmental sectors. Faculty members are committed to continuing this practice with the DM program and look forward to providing academic opportunities tailored for business students interested in nonprofit management.

“This is a transformative time in business education nationwide,” Weatherhead School Dean Mohan Reddy said. “These additions keep Case Western Reserve on the leading edge and contribute to our mission of providing the highest-quality management education to all of our students.”

As part of the improvements in nonprofit leadership, the university also recently:

  • Secured inclusion of the Nonprofit Management and Leadership Journal in Thomson Reuters’ Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI). Because of the stature of the SSCI and significance of its citation metrics, publication in the journal now becomes much more attractive to top scholars in the field;
  • Created a free, online practitioner newsletter, Leading Nonprofit Organizations, scheduled to launch later this year; and
  • Expanded executive education offerings for nonprofit leaders through the Weatherhead School of Management.