A Position Paper on Accreditation on Nonprofit/Philanthropy University Curricula


  • Matthew Hale Seton Hall University
  • Renée A. Irvin University of Oregon




accreditation, history, nonprofit, Nonprofit Academic Centers Council, philanthropy, curriculum, university, truth in advertising


In this position paper, we describe the discussions leading to formal consideration of an accreditation process for university curricula in nonprofit and philanthropic studies. The paper includes motivations for launching an accreditation process, objections to accreditation, and a description of a first-stage level of accreditation. Given the concerns with the complexity of launching a fully developed, outcomes-focused accreditation system, we argue for an accreditation system that is initially focused just on full degree programs (full master or bachelor degrees in nonprofit or philanthropy administration and studies). After review of this position paper, Nonprofit Academic Centers Council members voted (December 6, 2016) to create a task force and working groups to continue the development of a possible NACC accreditation system, including a proposed accreditation process, staffing, and business plan. The work of the task force and working groups is scheduled to be presented at the 2017 NACC Biennial Conference July 31 to August 2, 2017, at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy in Indiana, Indianapolis.