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Oklahoma State University

Spears School to offer graduate certificates in Nonprofit Management, Sustainable Business

Friday, April 26, 2013

TreeFor more than 100 years the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University has been at the forefront in offering classes and degrees that are applicable to the business world. In keeping with that standard, the Spears School will begin offering this fall new graduate certificate programs in nonprofit management and sustainable business.

Graduate students will be able to earn certificates in either program in as little as one year. Classes will be offered through the Watson Graduate School of Management on the Stillwater and Tulsa campuses and also will be available online through the Spears School’s distance learning program.

“Each of these new programs is consistent with the Spears School’s mission to provide high-quality, engaging and accessible business education that is relevant and innovative targeted to improve the lives of people in Oklahoma, the nation and the world,” said Larry Crosby, dean of the Spears School. “We believe each of these programs will help students transform their organizations and make a difference in the world.”

The Nonprofit Management and Sustainable Business programs are offered through the Department of Management. The Spears School’s Scott Johnson, associate professor of management, and James Pappas, associate professor and doctoral program coordinator in the Department of Management, are the directors of the new programs.

Spears School officials say the new graduate certificates are driven by the demand of both employers and graduate-level students who are seeking to learn strategies that help companies pursue financial profitability in ways that benefit society and minimize harm to the natural environment.

“The Spears School recognizes that as the business environment changes the school must strive to meet new demands that are valued by the business community and our student body,” said Pappas. “We are building comprehensive, interconnected programs for graduate students and business professionals to be better equipped to meet the needs of the current labor market.”

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers concerning the new graduate certificate programs:

What type of students do you expect to enroll in these graduate certificate programs?

There are three groups of students that we anticipate will be interested in this program. The first group is current MBA students who will be able to add the certificate to their degree program by working the required courses in as their MBA elective classes. The second group is students in other master’s degree programs such as International Studies, Engineering or Human Sciences. The final group is professionals who are not seeking a degree at this time but would like to increase their skills for their current job.

What benefit will students receive from earning a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management?

The nonprofit sector makes up 10 percent of the United States economy. Students who complete the nonprofit management certificate can prepare themselves for employment or promotion within a nonprofit. We also expect that many of our business graduates will serve on the boards of local nonprofits and their ability to do this will be enhanced by the skills they develop in the Nonprofit Management courses.

What’s the benefit of a graduate certificate in Sustainable Business?

There are many reasons that businesses are showing increased concerned for sustainability: customers are concerned about the waste and pollution caused by the products they purchase, regulators are concerned about the long-term impact of production practices and energy use, and  businesses are concerned with creating a positive reputation and reducing costs. The graduate certificate in Sustainable Business will expose students to management practices that can address all of these concerns.

How long will it take to complete the graduate certificate program?

Both certificates require four courses each (two required courses and two additional courses that are selected from a list of related subjects). The required courses will be taught every year so it will be possible to complete either certificate in one year but we expect that many students will spread the coursework over four semesters.

Why is the creation of these graduate certificate programs important at this time?

We believe that the business environment has changed dramatically over the last 10 to 15 years and programs we try to offer reflect trends in the community. Our new programs are unique to the business school and are connected to customer demands as both employers and students are looking for more focus on sustainability and nonprofit management at an increasing rate. Both certificates are consistent with the Spears School of Business vision statement emphasis on business ethics and engagement with all stakeholders.

Where is more information available?

Please go to the website:

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