National Louis University Partners with Visionary Executive to Launch First-in-Nation Program to Prepare Human Services Managers

Share Article

Mark Doyle joins NLU to direct new program, which addresses need for managerial skills in growing field.

The Chicago area has more than 10,000 human services-related organizations. National Louis University and human services guru Vincent Pettinelli, founder of PeopleServe Inc., a $350 million human services provider company, are on a mission to make them more efficient by educating managers in effective human services management skills. Persons who are aging, individuals who are homeless, children from low-income families and people with disabilities, who receive human services, would benefit.

Pettinelli approached National Louis University with the idea of developing a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Human Services Management, which the university is readying for a September 2017 launch. Pettinelli donated the seed money for the university to assess the program’s viability and develop it. Those who enroll in the program will find growing job opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment demand for human services managers has been projected to grow 10 percent from 2014 to 2024 -- a pace faster than the average for all occupations.

National Louis University’s program is the first of its kind in the nation, and it arose from Pettinelli’s real-life experience running a human services company. He promoted many psychotherapists and other professionals, who were competent in their specialties, into management. There, many failed because they lacked skills such as preparing a budget, working with a board and administering a workforce.

National Louis University frequently works with industry executives when building new programs of study. In this case, NLU President Nivine Megahed, Ph.D., and College of Professional Studies and Advancement Dean Judah Viola, Ph.D., built an impressive advisory board, based on Viola’s contacts, in the human services field. Board members, who work in human services nonprofits, government and academia, helped shape the new program.

“We discussed how the program fit with a real need in the Chicagoland area,” said Viola, “and also fit right into the strength areas of NLU’s College of Professional Studies and Advancement.”

NLU is designing the program for human services professionals who would like to move into management, for people interested in human services and for career changers seeking a rewarding field. Pettinelli believes it will become a national model for programs in human services management.

“I don’t think it (the program) can miss,” Pettinelli said. “Once human services folks realize that the application of good management practices gives their clients better services than before, they’ll jump on this. There’s not a (human services) program in Chicago that shouldn’t send their managers to this.”

The advisory board pointed NLU to Mark Doyle, a human services authority, who has become program director. Doyle has deep experience in the human services field, having worked in academia, government, nonprofits and his own consulting business. He worked as a project manager and senior staff member overseeing human services projects for the office of former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. He also consulted in human services for the state of Georgia and in Illinois, overseeing the successful merger of two human services agencies, assisting another community provider with the development of its strategic plan and the development of a data management system.

Doyle has served as executive director and in other management positions at human services organizations, and has participated on human services agency boards. He has taught at National Louis University, DePaul University and Northern Illinois University.

The human services field includes both nonprofit and for-profit providers in the areas of child welfare, aging, mental health, homelessness, intellectual disabilities, etc. with work commonly performed under contract with state (e.g. Illinois Department of Human Services) and federal agencies (e.g., U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).

Students will learn about best practices in the field, how to apply them in the workplace, and skills needed for advancement in managerial positions. Specifically, the program will emphasize organizational problem identification, analysis and resolution. Students will learn how to analyze quantitative and qualitative data and apply it to their field work. Program evaluation design and development, as well as accounting practices and human resources management also will be discussed. NLU classes will focus on many important topics including the role of managers and successfully transitioning to the role, supervising employees, delegating, developing and managing budgets, working with government organizations, as well as handling risk and crisis.

The program will consist of 12 classes, most in a blended format with online work and some on-campus meetings. Students take one class at a time, and can complete the program in as little as seven academic quarters, or about 19 months.

All program applicants must meet NLU’s general admission requirements. For more information about NLU’s M.S. in Human Services program, visit The program will be available to NLU students fall term 2017.

About National Louis University: Founded in 1886, National Louis is a nonprofit, non-denominational University offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in fields of education, management, human services, counseling, public policy, and others concerned with human and community development. From its inception, National Louis has provided educational access to adult, immigrant and minority populations – a mission it sustains today. National Louis is well-known for an exceptional history in teacher preparation, and continues to be a leader in educating future teachers and community leaders to succeed in urban environments. For more information, visit

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Kellie Kennedy
The Harbinger Group
+1 (312) 933-4903
Email >