Collaboration Between Practitioners and Academics: Defining the Pracademic Experience


  • Emma Powell Central Michigan University
  • Georgina Winfield St. Luke's University Health Network
  • Alicia M. Schatteman Northern Illinois University
  • Kelly Trusty Trine University



nonprofit, practitioner, pracademic, partnership


Researchers seek to make their research relevant to practice, and nonprofit managers need research to substantiate their programs and demonstrate impact. Surely academics and practitioners would form these mutually beneficial collaborations. However, despite these overarching and mutually beneficial goals, these types of collaborations include challenges. The purpose of this research was first to seek to acknowledge the multiple uses of the word pracademic and to center the research on a single use of the term pracademic. Second, we explored examples of collaborative research between nonprofit academics and nonprofit managers, as well as the characteristics of such partnerships. Finally, we sought to understand how these partnerships can be strengthened. Overall, we found that many collaborations are occuring, that practitioners are working with academics, resulting in a higher awareness of and appreciation for “pracademics,” bridging the ivory tower and the world of practice for the benefit of our communities.