Building Nonprofit Management Education in the US: The Role of Centers in Supporting New Academic Disciplines
Keywords:Nonprofit Management, Academic Centers, Institutionalization, Academic Disciplines, Socio-Scientific Movements
Nonprofit and philanthropic studies (NPS) is a visible presence at American universities and has achieved academic credibility. This study analyzes the role of academic centers devoted to the nonprofit sector in institutionalizing NPS as a distinctive academic field. It relies on a survey and selected case studies to map nonprofit academic centers and assess their field-building efforts. We find 55 US-based nonprofit academic centers that vary in size, revenue streams, and institutional location. Centers offer a broad range of services that span academia and practice supporting the local and regional nonprofit communities. Both endogenous and exogenous factors supported the founding of these centers, whose sustainability relies on interdisciplinarity, internal and external funding, and institutional support. We propose an evolutionary explanation for NPS’s institutionalization.
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