Indiana University Northwest

SPEA V522 Syllabus


Indiana University Northwest

(School of Public and Environmental Affairs-SPEA)




Human Resources Management in Nonprofits-V522

Instructor Name: Atta Ceesay, Ph.D.
Phone: 219-980-6541


See the **Course Guide/Schedule**for
session themes, readings, resources, and all assignment due dates.

Course Description

This course is designed to acquaint the student with human resources management (HRM) in the nonprofit sectors. The goal of this course is to provide students with an understanding of the various HRM activities such as recruitment, testing, selection, performance management, labor relations, volunteer management, compensation, and training, so that they can become more effective managers. The topics in this course will be discussed from their technical and value-oriented perspectives. Practical exercises will be used to stimulate personnel/HRM tasks.

Course Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the concepts, processes, procedures, techniques, etc., associated with nonprofit human-resources management.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the major challenges and issues that human resources managers are faced with.
  • Identify and evaluate human resources problems and issues undercutting or undermining nonprofit organizational effectiveness.

The learning outcomes outlined above will be accomplished by students completing: (i) a midterm exams where they will be tested on their understanding of the concepts, processes, procedures, and techniques associated with nonprofit human resources management; (ii) completion of several case memos and a group research project. Students will have the opportunity to identify or be presented with a problem that they can apply human resources thoughts and ideas to critically analyze and make recommendations to the problems that human resources managers are faced with.

Course Materials 

Required Text
Pynes, Joan E. Human Resources Management for Public and Nonprofit Organizations: A Strategic Approach, (2009) 3rd edition, Jossey-Bass, Inc.

Several articles will be posted on Oncourse on a weekly basis to supplement the textbooks. I will post the weekly articles on Oncourse.

Grading Information/Course Requirements 

Student performance will be measured through class participation, midterm examination, case study memos, and a group research paper. To do well in this course, you must devote a significant amount of time. Please keep in mind that the material presented in the course builds cumulatively. Do not fall behind, as it is nearly impossible to catch up once this happens. There will be no make-up exams and late assignments will not be accepted. Additionally, no bonus or extra credit will be given.


No incompletes are given without explicit medical or university certification that you are unable to complete the course. Incompletes cannot be used to avoid an unsatisfactory grade. Students who stop attending class without properly withdrawing from the class will receive a grade of F.  Automatic “Withdrawal” Deadline /e-drop– xxx (this allows you to withdrawal from class without the instructor approval.  If you miss this date, your instructor must approve your withdrawal)

If, after an exam or assignment is graded, you believe that additional credit is deserved, you may submit a written appeal for up to one week after the assignment is graded. Your appeal should be a typewritten page or less explaining specifically: which items deserve more credit and why. Please note that your argument must be based on the answer actually turned in. Do not give a new answer and expect more credit. Also, the argument “I meant to say……” does not work. Grades will be determined as shown in the following assignment chart.  Detailed descriptions of assignments are available below and from the assignment links in the chart. Due dates are detailed in the Course Schedule.

Participation/On-line Class Discussion

Due to the nature of online courses, active class discussion posting are extremely important. Discussion questions serve as a virtual mechanism for class participation. A question will be posted by the instructor on a weekly basis which the students are expected to share their understanding in relation to the course readings and professional experiences. Students have to reply to the class question and to comment on at least one classmate’s posting at a minimum. Questions will be posted at the beginning of every week (Mondays). Your first posting is expected to be submitted by Wednesday and students have until Saturday of that week to complete the rest of their responses.  If the first posting is not completed by Wednesday and any work posted after 12 noon on Saturday will not be accepted and no points will be given.

Case Study Memos (2)

The case memo exercise will provide an insight into real-world challenges faced by nonprofit organization. Cases will present students with background information on the objective of the activity, the people involved, and a series of events and human resources issues/challenges that confronts the responsible manager. Students are required to write written responses to the questions at the end of each assigned case or by completing the assigned exercise. The answers must be well written and based on the theories and practices of HRM discussed in class, and any personal opinion must be substantiated within the accepted guidelines of HRM. The memo exercise for this course must be two pages long, singled-spaced, and 12-point font. It must include a professional memo heading with to, from, subject, and date lines. Use complete sentences and paragraphs rather than bullet points.  Any work posted after 12 noon on Saturday that a reaction paper is due, will not be accepted and no points will be given.


Midterm Exams 

The midterm exam is based on key concepts presented throughout the semester thus far. The midterm exam will be open for a 3 hour time window …….meaning that once you open the exam window, you have three hours to complete it.

Course Research Project 

All students must participate in a group project. Each group will prepare a paper focusing on a specific human resources problem in a nonprofit organization. Specifically, the paper should:

  • Identify and evaluate a human resources issue or problem that is of challenge to nonprofit organizations
  • Apply human resources theories and practices in evaluating issues or problems and be able to recommend viable solutions

Each group must present a one-page proposal plus an annotated bibliography to the instructor by XX. The proposal at a minimum should contain: (1) a statement of the problem(s) to be addressed; and (2) the information sources to date. The final paper is due on XX. You may submit papers for revision until XX.  The project will be evaluated by both the instructor (points?) and learning community members (points?). See module tab for grading rubrics and other paper requirements.


of Grade


Class participation/Forums


Midterm examination


Case Memos


Class project







97-100                 = A+

93-96                    = A

90-92                    =A-

87-89                    = B+

83-86                    =B

80-83                    = B-

77-79                    = C+

73-76                    =C

70-72                    = C-

60-69                    = D

Less than 60      =F

FN = Failure for nonattendance
I = Incomplete
W = Withdrew


NOTE: The instructor will keep students apprised of assignment grades via the online class Grade book. Students are responsible for contacting the instructor if they do not receive any grade by 10 days after the assignment submission date.







IU/SPEA Academic Policies 

This course is governed by IU/SPEA academic policies in the following areas:

Academic Integrity Statement:

Academic integrity requires that “all academic work be wholly the product of an identified individual or individuals.” Academic misconducts includes: cheating, fabrication, facilitating academic dishonesty, denying others access to information or material, and plagiarism. Students are expected to conduct complete honesty in the completion of tests, assignments, and any other course work. Further details on academic integrity, see: (Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and conduct). If any student is found to be cheating or plagiarizing, a grade of “F” will be awarded for the assignment in question and possibly the course.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities:

Indiana University Northwest is committed to full and equitable access for all enrolled students. If you are a student with a disability and wish to request accommodations, please notify the instructor by the second week of class.  Instructors are asked to make reasonable accommodations upon request by the student or the University for such Disabilities.  It is the responsibility of the student to contact the University’s Disability Service Coordinator so that the case will be dealt with on a timely manner.


Sexual Harassment:

In accordance with university policy and state and federal laws, any and all forms of sexual harassment are prohibited from any classroom or university activity, including anything related to this course. Any student concerned with these issues should discuss the matter privately with the instructor or contact the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs.


Diversity and Learning Environment:

The Faculty and Staff in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs are committed to serving all enrolled students. The intention is to create an intellectually stimulating, safe, and respectful class atmosphere. In return it is expected that each of you will honor and respect the views of others.

Syllabus as a Contract:

This syllabus is a contract. You are responsible for reading this syllabus in its entirety. Continued enrollment in the class indicates that you understand and accept the terms contained herein. If you have any questions or concerns about any policies, assignments, grading criteria or any other aspect of the course, please meet with me to resolve those issues prior to the drop deadline.

Online Learning Community Conduct:

Schedule Changes:

The schedule of assignments and topics is subject to change. Advance notification of any change will be made in class.


Additional Information 


The home page of Oncourse has links, video tutorials and several tips and updates to help you navigate the website. IU has prepared a reference page containing links to information about a variety of resources to help you function successfully in your online Oncourse class.

Campus support office:

Student Support Services, HH 239, (219) 980-6798
Student Support Services