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Human Services (HSRV) 363

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Governance (Revision 1)

HSRV 363

Revision 1 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version

Delivery Mode: Individualized study. Online-enhanced

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None. This is a senior course and as such students are expected to have advanced analytical and writing skills.

Precluded course: HSRV 363 is a cross-listed course—a course listed under 2 different disciplines—GOVN 380. (HSRV 363 cannot be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for GOVN 380)

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Human Services Studies home page

HSRV 363 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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Human Services 363: Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Governance is a senior-level, three-credit course that provides an overview of the nonprofit and voluntary sector. The goal of the course is to develop a deeper understanding of the nature of governance, leadership and management in the nonprofit sector in an increasingly complex environment. The course provides students with knowledge of the major conceptual and theoretical perspectives on the voluntary sector, and encourages them to apply what they are learning in a very practical way to understanding and dealing with challenges currently faced by voluntary sector leaders and managers.

The nonprofit or “third” sector is undergoing considerable change and facing an array of new challenges. The offloading of services from governments has created new demands for service delivery, often involving more complex programs and users with special needs. A more competitive funding environment is leading voluntary organizations to experiment with more innovative types of fundraising and to get involve in commercial activities. Pressures for greater accountability and evaluation of effectiveness are requiring new skills and approaches. Relationships with governments are being intentionally redesigned and new means are being sought for voluntary organizations to be involved in policy development. While the primary focus is on the nonprofit and voluntary sector in Canada, at the national, provincial and local levels, examples and experience from the international context will be incorporated as appropriate.

Although HSRV 363 is aimed at students in the BPA Law and Governance major, it should be of interest to students seeking an Arts or general interest course.


The course consists of the following eight units.

Unit 1: Overview of the Voluntary Sector: Frameworks and Concepts

Unit 2: The Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector in an International Context

Unit 3: Social Capital and Volunteerism

Unit 4: Service Delivery in a Restructured Welfare State

Unit 5: Engagement in Policy Development

Unit 6: Governance, Leadership, and Accountability

Unit 7: Financing, Fundraising, and Philanthropy

Unit 8: Managing in a Complex Environment: The Road Ahead


To receive credit for HSRV 363, you must complete all of the assignments, achieve a minimum mark of 50 percent on both midterm and final examinations, and obtain a course composite grade of at least “D” (50 percent). The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Take-home Midterm Research essay Final exam Total
25% 35% 40% 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Peter Frumkin. On Being Nonprofit: A Conceptual and Policy Primer. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002.

Other Materials

The course materials include student manual, study guide, reading file, with online enhancements.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the HSRV 363 challenge registration, you must complete all required components, and achieve an overall grade of at least “D” (50 percent).

Written Assignment 1 Exam Total
25% 75% 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, February 13, 2012.


Last updated by SAS  07/07/2014 16:42:09