Faculty Spotlight

Douglas Cook

Douglas Cook has taught in the Nonprofit Management program since 2013. He leverages his over 14 years of industry experience to help students learn the financial side of nonprofit work. We recently spoke with Cook about how he got into teaching and what working in the nonprofit field can be like.

Photo: Douglas Cook

On what he does as a nonprofit accountant…
I specialize in doing independent audits of nonprofit organizations. The nonprofit sector is highly regulated, as you probably know. So in order to get funding from foundations or government agencies nonprofits oftentimes have to undergo an annual independent audit where the auditors examine the financial statements and look at internal controls. You know when we're doing these audits a lot of what we do is to give meaningful feedback to these organizations in terms of internal control and best practices in finance.

On why his accounting job got him interesting in teaching…
I've always had kind of a tangential interest in teaching. When we're auditing it's not like we're an IRS auditor. It's actually a very positive experience. These organizations are getting our expertise and a fresh look at things so it's really kind of a learning experience.

On how the College of Extended Learning provides a unique opportunity for students interested in nonprofit work…
A lot of the students in this program may not necessarily have the time to go back to school to work in a full-time MBA program but they want to learn about the nonprofit sector. We're really providing a service that is very targeted. Students can come in and really get focused knowledge that they can apply in their job immediately if they're already in the nonprofit sector. The program can also be used as a springboard to help them get into the nonprofit sector if they are currently in some other field.

On the ways that nonprofit accounting differ from for-profit accounting…
That's something that many people don't necessarily understand until they actually get into it. Most of the accounting rules that apply to businesses also apply to nonprofit organizations. However, on top of that there's a whole other level of regulation, oversight and accounting principles that make nonprofit accounting actually a bit more complicated than standard for-profit accounting.

On how his teaching style has evolved…
Since I started the class it's a lot less lecture-heavy. I've added more exercises and made it more interactive, and I've noticed that the evaluations at the end of the course are great.

Regina Neu

Meet Regina Neu, College of Extended Learning Distinguished Faculty Award recipient. Regina has been an instructor at San Francisco State University for many years and brings a wealth of experience in the industry to the classroom.

Photo: Regina Neu

On her background and teaching career…
For the past 15 years, I've been doing consulting work for small to mid-sized organizations in strategic planning, leadership development, organizational effectiveness, that kind of stuff. I've been teaching at San Francisco State for ten years, on and off. Through the nonprofit management program, I have taught both undergraduate and graduate level nonprofit management classes.

On her teaching style and bringing real world examples into the classroom…
There's a lot of very hands-on, very interactive, coursework. I use a lot of case study work so some real stories are discussed.

On teaching an intense short term course…
The Board Development course is ten hours. It's Friday night and all day Saturday so you're getting a lot more information than you do in other programs. For students, you're making a commitment so people who take it get more than they would if they're just doing a little short class.

On the engagement level of students in and out of the classroom…
One of the things I've heard talking to other teachers is how surprising it is that students come to class with a lot of energy and a lot of questions even though maybe they're coming off of a busy day. I also find the students will follow up with me and want to ask for additional resources about something I might have mentioned, even after class.

On why she teaches at San Francisco State University College of Extended Learning…
I enjoy working here because you get a real diversity of students. In every sense of the word, they're coming from different places, they're different ages, and have different interest levels. We definitely have people who don't know anything and they just want to take a cool course. We also have people who have been around for 20 years who are just trying to build up their skills.