Devin Weaver, Master of Nonprofit Administration, '14
Artistically Changing the World from Here
"The mentorship opportunities are the most enriching and I find that they create the community relationships that are the most helpful.”
Devin Weaver, Master of Nonprofit Administration ’14, wanted to go back to school and learn more about his lifetime passion: nonprofit work.
Weaver explained that choosing to pursue USF’s MNA program was an “easy decision” as “there [are] not a lot of programs that are specifically built for enriching public sector, nonprofit sector work.”
Weaver joined a part-time at USF while gainfully employed at two full-time jobs; working a hectic 80-100 hours per week. Many of those hours were spent building an organization that he had co-founded. Weaver classroom experience which lead to curriculum-diverging questions he brought to office hours is what he feels allowed him to form a “direct connection” between the academics and his work.
“I’m very interested in how we can eliminate hierarchy in work,” Weaver said as he explained his passion for “worker justice.” By helping others create “collectivized systems with no bosses or management” he works to create a more just system with “horizontal accountability and interpersonal worker relations.
Recently Weaver has focused on a projects that involve working with “arts, and youth programs,” specifically in the Oakland area. One current program involves “[decentralizing] the eurocentric lens” by including more “representative literature” in school reading lists and book clubs. Another is a “re-enfranchisement program” that deals with people “who have been previously convicted of a crime or who are currently engaged in gang activity.” Weaver describes it as a program that creates safe space for young people, “to meet up and talk about the issues they’re having… engage with literature and have a book club... find employment, and get the resources that society kind of excludes them from.”
I realize that when I was in school I was very fortunate to be given the privilege of having permission to take a very critical lens to the information I was getting from the school and to then say how that content matched or mismatched reality. I feel that I really I need to create this reality on the ground.
Weaver said one of the aspects of the MNA program that he enjoyed the most was the professors; especially how they “were very open to impromptu classroom discussions and would set aside time for us to engage with our cohort.” Weaver explained, “Those were people whom we became very close with.”
The classroom discussions involved students’ critical reflections and analyses of issues presented in texts versus real-world comparisons. Weaver describes the academic staff as “open,” and willing to incorporate “new, organically emerging curriculum,” which is what he “appreciated the most.” He even said that this “think outside the box, creative solutions, type [of] work” is the most applicable to his current work.
Weaver said that his goals for the future involve asking the questions like: “How are we creating solutions? And how are we creating new and sometimes hidden problems?”
He specifically wants to do this by delving into what he called “new-wave, radical nonprofit work.” that will allow us to “find creative solutions to the problems that are created by American society, and reinforced by the institutions that try to fix these same problems.”