Boys Town-Bellevue University Partnership Paying Dividends for Students
By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
Boys Town, celebrating its 100th anniversary, is committed to changing the way America cares for children, families, and communities. Bellevue University, wrapping up the celebration of its own 50th anniversary, is assisting in that mission through a partnership that has produced over 150 graduates in its 15-year plus history.
“We believe this program is essential to not only enhance the expertise and knowledge of our youth care employees, but to help build future leaders of Boys Town,” said Jim Gross, Associate Vice President of National Community Support Services for Boys Town.
While Boys Town employees can choose from a multitude of career relevant degrees, the Master of Science in Human Services Administration is a program offered exclusively for Boys Town employees. The degree provides a strong foundation of management skills, ethical framework, research evaluation perspective, and communication and leadership theory.
“This program was created as a collaborative effort with Boys Town. The program courses were strategically selected, to provide the most benefit to students in gaining the needed skills to advance into management roles within the Boys Town organization,” said Gail Ortegren, the director for the Human Services Administration program at the University. “There are also clear connections between the curriculum and the organizations strategic plan.”
Thomas Shaw, a Data Analyst for Boys Town, earned his MSHSA in 2016.
“I enrolled in the first cohort because I wanted to expand my leadership and organizational knowledge,” Shaw said. “I was exposed to so many different ideas on topics such as leadership theory, conflict resolution, and program evaluation. Boys Town and Bellevue University did a great job of putting together a degree program that provides a solid examination of many key aspects of non-profit administration.”
Shaw was able to incorporate the final project of his program into his work.
“My capstone project was integrated into one of Boys Town’s office locations. I created a database and procedures to capture demographic and referral information for families that contact Boys Town’s South Omaha office,” he explained. “I have trained employees how to use the database and have also created reports that summarize intake data for stakeholders, including the South Omaha director and the manager of programs.”
Ortegren said the Capstone course can pay immediate dividends for both the student and Boys Town.
“I love the Capstone course,” she said. “This is where the students develop a project proposal, specific to their location. Throughout the program, students identify the specific need for their location, along with collaboration from their administration, and begin collecting data to create a proposal to address this need. Many of the students in the graduating class of 2016, presented their proposals to administration, and received recommendations to forward the proposals to the Boys Town development team for implementation of their plans.”
Be on the lookout on campus this week for information about Boys Town and watch for Boys Town colors lighting up the ASB.