Board Governance is a two-course sequence that introduces students to the important role Board of Directors play in the community. Two students are matched with a non-profit organization where the students serve as apprentice board members. After observing and learning about board practices, the students will complete a project based on the needs of the organization.
Board Governance is a service-learning course developed in the Milgard School of Business to teach students through classroom interaction, mentoring, and internships about the boards of local non-profit organizations.
Successful business leaders are often asked to utilize their skills and abilities to better their community through service on a non-profit Board of Directors. Good governance practice is amplifying the impact of organizations in our community.
The Board Governance course starts in Winter Quarter (2 credits) and continues through Spring Quarter (5 credits).
Approximately 30 students engage on the boards of local non-profit organizations, and apply the principles of good governance that they will learn in the course. Two students will be paired with one non-profit organization. Organizations may still participate if they are only interested in having one student join them.
In Winter Quarter, students will focus on gaining familiarity with governance practices and observing the functions of the board. In Spring Quarter, students will develop and complete a project in-line with the needs of the board and the organization.
This project may take on many forms and is meant to increase the capacity of the organization while benefiting the students. The students might:
Create and present an operation manual
Develop a volunteer recruitment strategy including how to onboard, train and reward volunteers
Design a training to help board members read complex financials and understand the implications for an organization
Research a topic assigned by an organization that will help them advance their mission
Curate a series of resources for board development or orientation materials around diversity, equity and inclusion
In addition, students are expected to participate in volunteer activities, fundraising events, and other activities. The organization is expected to welcome the students, be responsive, and commit one hour from the Executive Director and one hour from the Board Chair for interviews.
United Way of Pierce County
Asia Pacific Cultural Center
NW Furniture Bank
Foundation for Tacoma Schools
Pierce County AIDS Foundation
Foss Waterway Seaport
Peace Community Center
What do community partners gain?
The non-profit organizations that partner with this course benefit from access to students as future volunteers, advocates, or permanent board members. The students at UW Tacoma tend to be younger and more diverse than the makeup of many boards and will bring a unique perspective to your organization.
UW Tacoma is listed in the Top 50 colleges with the Greatest Racial/Ethnic Diversity (Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac 2019) and is a First-Gen Forward Institution
Many students are veterans, first-generation college students, and non-traditional students
In Spring Quarter, the students in this course will also complete a project in conjunction with the needs of the organization. This project is very flexible and has taken many forms in the past.
What do students gain?
In addition to leadership and governance of a non-profit board, students will also gain a greater awareness of the needs of the broader community and challenges of serving them. Students appreciate the access to board members, many of whom are business leaders, who may serve as role models.
Employ skills that are vital to your future success
Develop a personal network of contacts
Draw on from working with board members
Build your resume
Investigate how different organizations are governed in the local community
Make a difference and contribute to our community
Expectations of organizations
We ask the organizations participating in this program to:
Be enthusiastic about the decision to participate and provide enough structure to ensure success for your organization and the student
Identify and support a board member to fill the role of liaison
Be willing to involve the student fully in board activities and discussions
Be open and transparent about the organization and the board
Be committed to ongoing involvement of young people as board members
Complete an evaluation of the engagement and the student project
Expectations of students
We ask students participating in this class to:
Attend board meetings regularly and communicate with the board liaison
Develop and complete a project in-line with the needs of the non-profit organization
Participate in additional opportunities, including volunteer and fundraising events
Be open and willing to learn about board operations
Adhere to the same expectations of other board members
Nonprofit partner statement of interest
November 25, 2020
by December 4, 2020
Winter Quarter T MGMT 465: Board Governance I begins
January 4, 2021
Notification of student match
January 15, 2021
Executive Director and Board Chair interviews
by February 26, 2021
Winter Quarter student evaluation due
March TBD, 2021
Spring Quarter T MGMT 466: Board Governance II begins
March 29, 2021
Student Project Complete
by May 28, 2021
Spring Quarter and overall evaluation due
June TBD, 2021
How do you make organization assignments?
We work carefully to match student interest with the organization’s mission, but also prioritize how the students’ schedules will match with the board meetings.
Will the students be available to do other volunteer work for our organization?
While the main assignment of this course is to attend board and/or committee meetings and observe how the governance of your organization works, it is also an expectation that the students will get involved in other ways if their schedule allows. The student will complete a project inline with the organizational and/or board needs.
Can the students join our board as regular board members?
During their coursework, students are not allowed to join the board of the organization they are assigned to. We have, however, had a few students who were invited to join the board after the class ended to serve as a permanent board member.
How much time will this take for the organization?
It will require the investment of some time to ensure the students have a positive learning experience and that your organization benefits from their work, as well as interview time with the Executive Director (1 hour) and the Board Chair (1 hour). Beyond that, we ask students to be respectful of your time. If you communicate with them as you do your board, they will get a good chance to observe, and it won't be much additional work for you.
I’m a student. How do I register for this course?
Registration for TMGMT 465 (Winter) will open during Fall quarter, and requires an add code to register. Contact the Center for Leadership and Social Responsibility at email@example.com to receive the code.