Monthly Newsletter for Graduate Students and Career Advisers

Author name
Monique Turrentine, Assistant Director Employer Relations, Duke University Career Center

S.E.E. More Opportunities

S.E.E. More Opportunities




Duke Career Center Employer Relations Graduate Team Communication


April 2017


Employer Engagement
Careers in Nonprofits, A Focus on Higher Education

This month we highlight nonprofit careers with a focus on higher education, in a conversation with Bill Wright-Swadel (Assistant Vice President, Student Affairs & Fannie Mitchell Executive Director, Duke Career Center). Higher education is a complex business and research center with a service component that focuses on education in and outside of class. Whether graduate students are considering an academic tenure track position or exploring other positions in academia, graduate students can benefit from knowing the plethora of career options in higher education. Mr. Wright-Swadel has worked in various positions in higher education for over 40 years at seven different institutions from a community college, to land-grant institution, to two ivy league universities. "Universities are multi-million dollar corporations that involves every form of business and service done in every form of sector across the world," Bill stated.

Whether considering a career at Duke or other educational institute, graduates can advance their career in higher education and nonprofits. “Each school from graduate schools to law schools, some are free standing; each school has its own demand and expectations along with being part of a university,” Bill mentioned.

There are professional advisors with Master's and Ph.D. degrees who advise and inform the education of students daily, and they have the opportunity to teach. University careers can range from managing relationships within the community and with its audiences throughout the global marketplace. Research developers and scholars across the world layout and build programs to take care of local needs across the world. There are different institutions, different opportunities within the different kinds of institutions, and different stages of development. So whether interested in public relations, marketing, real estate development or education, the educational enterprises encompass opportunities in these fields and everything done in industry.



Employer & Industry Trends
Nonprofits including Social and Environmental Impact

Nonprofit careers have varying job functions similar to a for profit career, including marketing, finance, strategy, data analytics, and technology. According to the IRS, nonprofit or tax-exempt organizations are charitable, churches/religious, cultural, political, research organizations, educational, environmental, social change, or private foundations that primarily dedicate their work and funds to their mission of serving the public interest. Public interest can range from health (disability issues and illnesses), homelessness, literacy, economic development, water quality, immigrant populations to civil and human rights. Working with nonprofit organizations like UNICEF, Acumen (, and with social and environmental impact organizations like The Bridgespan Group, B Lab, d.light Designs, allow you to develop your purpose and skills to benefit the greater good. During a recent Duke Career Center workshop on 'Investigate Nonprofit Careers', representatives from the Triangle Community Foundation, Carolina for Kibera, NC League of Conservation Voters, and Teach for America echoed that in nonprofit organizations the culture is having a passion for the mission and adding value. Working in nonprofits is relational, so live your values and have conversations with others about why you're interested in the mission or social and environmental impact.
There is joy in assisting and educating others, providing solutions to local and world-wide problems, building interpersonal business partnerships, and working with or on behalf of the public. There are a variety of functions and positions within the nonprofit industry, as well as business sizes from start-ups to multi-million dollar corporations. Some position titles include operations manager, social/community service manager, policy analyst, data scientist, public relations and fundraising, research administration, development, and consultant. Salary ranges can range immensely in nonprofit and social impact sectors. Starting salaries in an entry-level position can earn $29k, while executive-level positions earn upwards $200k. Serving the public interest is rewarding, from working in the nonprofit sector to volunteering your time or contributing financially.



Tips for Success

When thinking about an objective or mission statement for your resume, "Focus on what you want to do and what you think will directly correlate with the position. Make it sincere and believable; show your skills and interests." Scientist, RTI International
"Do what you do, just do it with excellence." Bill Wright-Swadel, Duke University Career Center
Recommended Book:
Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits by Leslie R. Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant