SDSU Board Fellows

``The transfer of knowledge from board member to student is empowering.``

The interprofessional students’ experience and interests are matched with a Board Member and agency executive staff on a special project to help forward the mission of the organization. The project offers the NPOs access to latest industry knowledge and resources while offering the students an opportunity to understand how NPO Boards function, civic engagement and networking with community leaders.

The Beginning

Collaborating for Success

SDSU’s Fowler College of Business and the School of Social Work , have collaborated on a Board Fellows Program. This program places MBA and MSW students as non-voting board members for local nonprofit organizations. The program is an academic year long project for 2nd Year MBA and MSW students to form interprofessional teams and partner with local non-profits (NPOs) Board of Directors.

Real-world experiences for undergraduate, but especially graduate, students are extremely beneficial for starting their careers post – graduation. This will help SDSU graduate students gain a new perspective and ideas on key organizational issues.

What Changed

SPI has been administering the Board Fellows Program since 2017. SPI recruits, matches and supervises the interprofessional teams and progress on the NPO projects through bi-monthly meetings with the students and separately with the NPOs. Since 2019, SPI has organized an annual combined “educational” event to highlight each project as well as relevant issues for NPOs e.g., DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion), market trends and innovation approaches. SPI piloted the first Cohort in 2017 and currently administers Cohort #4 for Academic Year 20/21.

In The End
  • SPI was awarded the SDSU Provost’s Innovation Award in 2018 for the Board Fellows Program.
  • Each Cohort has added new NPOs including large, midsize and grassroot organizations
    In Cohorts 3 and 4, graduate students from the USD Kroc School of Peace and Justice have participated in the interprofessional teams.
  • Both students and NPO staff express strong support and value for the program in their evaluations
  • More than 80% of NPOs have participated in at least two Cohorts and two NPOs have been in all four Cohorts.
Board Fellows Program 2021-2022

If you are interested in being a part of this year’s the Board Fellows Program, please see the documents below:

For more information about SDSU Board Fellows, contact Steve Hornberger via email:

Social Policy Institute


SPI's Executive Leadership brings subject matter expertise in their respective fields as well as a combined track record for innovation and quality.

Steve Hornberger

Steve Hornberger is the Co-Director of the Social Policy Institute (SPI) since 2014 administering a number of statewide contracts.

Lori Clarke

As Co-Director, Lori brings innovation and excellence to design/development and facilitation of insight and action.

Stories of Success

What Our Partners Say

Elizabeth Estes

“The Social Policy Institute’s Director, Steve Hornberger, has been an integral part of Breaking Barriers development and implementation. The Social Policy Institute team has brought excellence and innovation to support Breaking Barriers’ work across systems to increase and enhance the well-being of California’s children and youth.”

Elizabeth Estes

Founder, Breaking Barriers
Robin Jenkins

“San Diego State University’s Social Policy Institute has been a highly valued partner for the State of California and an array of organizations seeking to effectively translate evidence-supported science into well-designed public policies for broad social benefits. One example is through our National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives and SDSU collaborations. As well, SPI’s work with county-level Prevention teams and their articulation of best practices with and for Child Abuse Prevention Councils across the state of California has been impressive.”

Robin Jenkins

Associate Director, The Impact Center, University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill
Dr. Rachelle Benson

“The entire team at the Social Policy Institute brought subject matter expertise and cultural humility to the revision and redesign of our Faith-based and Behavioral Health Training Academy! Our trainers appreciated the validation for what they already know and can do; coaching to raise their game to a higher level of performance; and the high-quality, evidence-based materials.”

Dr. Rachelle Benson

Vice President, Stepping Higher Inc.

SDSU Board Fellows Posts & Resources

Access the Social Policy Institute Blog to learn more.
May 2024 Newsletter
HOPE Building Block Series #3: Safe, Stable, and Equitable Environments
April 2024 Newsletter
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