New campus director seeks to advance UALR’s Nonprofit Leadership Studies program

Nichola Driver, campus director of the Nonprofit Leadership Studies Program photographed on October 14, 2016.

Nichola Driver, campus director of the Nonprofit Leadership Studies program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, has used her previous work experience to shape her role as an educator and leader at UALR.

The Nonprofit Leadership Studies program is the only one of its kind in the state of Arkansas. It is a competency-based minor and national certificate program designed to prepare and certify students to work for nonprofit organizations after completing a bachelor’s degree.

Driver, who has held multiple nonprofit and agency positions, is well equipped to handle the role as the program’s director. Her service learning approach and her dedication to make a difference in the community are just a few reasons why she decided to tackle this position.

“I’m a lifetime learner,” Driver said. “I wanted to return to academia for the dynamic environment that it provides. As campus director of the Nonprofit Leadership Studies, I get to combine my interests, working with students and preparing them to work in agencies.”

Driver, an Arkansas native, received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Central Arkansas, a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and doctorate in sociology from the University of North Texas.

While attending the University of North Texas, Driver was awarded the Thesis and Dissertation Fellowship for her study on “Dimensions of Acculturation and Sexual Health Among U.S. Hispanic Youth.”

This prestigious award, received by very few students for achieved candidacy in the final year of thesis or dissertation, allowed Driver to focus solely on her studies. With a new found freedom, she and her husband were able to move back to Arkansas to be closer to family.

Not long after settling in, Driver was back to work. She became an instructor and student coordinator of the Nonprofit Leadership Studies program at UALR, and a few months later progressed to visiting assistant professor and campus director of the Nonprofit Leadership Studies program.

“This program is so important because we are training leaders for the future,” Driver said. “I’m so proud of the work that the students have already been able to accomplish.”

The program requires students to take three mandatory courses, five hours of electives, complete an internship, participate in leadership and service-learning opportunities, and attend a conference.

“There are so many components to this program, but that’s what makes it so rich,” Driver said. “These students are learning outside of the classroom. They’re doing instead of just observing.”

Driver says that she hopes to spread the word about the program all over central Arkansas. She is seeking to revamp the program’s community advisory board, which consists of nonprofit professionals who are interested in and seek to partner with the program to benefit their organizations as well as the students.

To promote the program on campus, Driver will host informational sessions and table events so that students are aware of what the program has to offer.

For information about the Nonprofit Leadership Studies program, contact Driver at 501.683.7028 or nddriver@ualr.edu
or visit the
website.

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