Mapping NACC Centers: The Past and Future Trajectory of Academic Nonprofit Centers




Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC), Nonprofit Studies, Emerging Scientific Fields, Institutionalization, Academic Entrepreneurs


Nonprofit and philanthropic studies (NPS) as an academic field grew over the past four decades. Academic centers are more flexible entities than traditional academic structures and as such play a central role in the field’s growth. Our study maps members of the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC) with specific attention on centers’ establishment and development. We survey NACC centers and review archival records to study NPS’s evolution. We find center creation clustered in the period 1999-2003, when a combination of external funding and academic growth created a favorable environment for academic entrepreneurs to establish academic centers. We illustrate two trends over the past decades. Academic centers increasingly emphasized a NPS disciplinary focus, while, in the same period, traditional university structures absorbed several centers. These two trends suggest contrasting narratives emphasizing either the field’s successful institutionalization or these centers’ loss of independence.

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Author Biographies

Peter C. Weber, Auburn University

Dr. Peter C. Weber is an assistant professor of philanthropy and nonprofit studies at Auburn University.His research interests include the institutionalization of nonprofit education, civil society in contemporary and historical perspective, and philanthropic innovations. He has published extensively in edited volumes and peer-reviewed journals, including in the field’s premier scholarly and teaching journals VoluntasNonprofit and Voluntary Sector QuarterlyJournal of Public Affairs Education, and Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership

Carol Brunt, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

Carol Brunt earned her PhD at the University of Manchester, UK in 2013. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where she holds the position of Coordinator of the Nonprofit Studies Program. Her research interests focus on human resource management (HRM) policy and practice in nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations and on program growth and development in nonprofit management education (NME) in the USA. Carol’s academic research has been published in peer-reviewed journals including the International Journal of Human Resource Management (IJHRM), the European Journal for Development Research (EJDR) and the Journal of Public Affairs Education (JPAE). Conference presentations include the Academy of Management (AOM) and the International Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR).





Program Administration and Development