Record-setting YNL program adds major

Haley Russell
Assistant News Editor

Since 1986, the University has offered a youth and nonprofit leadership minor, and with the new semester the College of Health Sciences and Human Services will be offering a major in the program.
With 670 students last year, it set a national record for YNL development.
The radical growth is due to the implementation of service learning on campus according to Roger Weis, professor of YNL.
“I think the main reason that it’s grown so steadily is because of service learning,” he said.
This phenomenon that plays a role in every university, the way in which a course is structured, Weis said.
The material covered is generally outside of the classroom, where students work in trios at local non-profit organizations including the YMCA, a Calloway County program the YNL department has established and sustained.
“Students don’t want to just come into class and listen to boring lectures and take tests, they want to do things and make a difference in people’s lives,” Weis said.
Not only does the program offer out-of-classroom projects, it offers service-oriented classes in all departments on campus.
President Randy Dunn said the department’s growth is due to the planning and the faculty.
“We’ve had success at this University with YNL for a number of reasons,” he said. “One of which has been the great foresight on the part of previous people involved with the program … great faculty members we’ve had teaching the program and the support from the local non-profit agencies.”
The program will continue to foster growth as the staff cultivate, Weis said.
“It’s just a natural growth,” he said. “Students like it better. They like going outside of the classroom and doing things.”
The need for YNL degrees are becoming more prevalent and will continue to do so, Dunn said.
“There is a huge need in the coming years for non-profit executive leadership,” he said. “The labor force needs the non-profit sector, if you look at it, over the next generation are just staggering.”
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