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DCE Magazine

  • Angela Seaworth

Instructor Q&A: Angela Seaworth

Nonprofit Management

Fall 2021

“I enjoy teaching students about the best practices and research in our field that will allow them to be effective in their careers or even as board members for organizations.”

Q. Why did you decide to become an instructor?

A. I realize how few people consider a career in the nonprofit sector. I am so grateful to the mentor who introduced me to the nonprofit sector and asked if I had ever considered a career in the academy or a nonprofit, that I decided to dedicate part of my career to helping promote careers in the nonprofit sector. Our field is still relatively new, having only been in the academy for about 30 years, so I want to help students connect the dots between what they are good at and passionate about to find rewarding careers that make a difference in the world. I enjoy teaching students about the best practices and research in our field that will allow them to be effective in their careers or even as board members for organizations.

Q. What’s your favorite lesson to teach and why?

A. My favorite subject to teach is strategy for nonprofit management, and my favorite lesson from that is helping students understand that the process of strategic planning is as valuable as the resulting plan. I like taking a topic that many people dread and showing students that it is a creative process that gives them a chance to involve, and connect with, their stakeholders. Also, I like them to see how dependent the process is on leadership and communication because that gives them permission to think differently about strategic planning. My goal is for them to understand that planning is more dynamic and relevant than they imagine.

Q. What’s unique about your teaching style?

A. My teaching style is grounded in practice. Although I deeply value theory and research, I know most nonprofit executives and board members have limited resources, and time is one of those. I want students to see the relevancy of the topic and how powerful it can be for their organizations. So, I design courses where the students dedicate most of their time to assignments and projects that can be applied at their organizations. Rather than just learn about the theories and process of strategic planning, I like students to leave with questions they can explore at their organizations and an outline that they can use to facilitate planning at their organizations long after the course.

Q. What do you find most rewarding about being an instructor?

A. The most rewarding part of teaching is when I see the students applying the material they are learning. So, I look for both the “ah-ha” moments when it is clear they understand a concept and when they share how they tried to apply concepts in the real world. I love knowing that students feel like they can have a direct impact on their organizations.

Q. What advice would you give to anyone interested in pursuing a career in nonprofit management?

A. For anyone interested in pursuing a career in nonprofit management, welcome! The work our sector does is critical to communities, and we need more talented people entering our sector. My advice is to take time to learn about the nuances of nonprofit work — like volunteer boards and fundraising — and then to choose the subsector you are passionate about for your work. Start there and investigate the types of careers available. You can find a way to do what you love and make a difference in the world.

Learn more about the Nonprofit Management Specialized Studies Program.