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The Evolution of Nonprofit Management and Philanthropic Studies in the United States: Are We Now a Disciplinary Field?

Roseanne Mirabella, Timothy Hoffman, Terence K. Teo, Mary McDonald


This article looks back at the recent history of delivering university education to future nonprofit leaders and the substantial growth of these programs by region and location during this period. It includes an analysis of the course offerings in the 340 programs providing curriculum in nonprofit management and philanthropic studies (NMPS) and how these offerings have changed (or have not changed) over time. Employing social network analysis, we examine NMPS curricular elements for top-ranked universities in the various accrediting networks to establish the extent to which the field has become a distinct discipline. We found convergence among NMPS course offerings by disciplinary orientation and homogeneity among curricular offerings for each disciplinary group. However, we found the field of NMPS education programs to be much more heterogeneous; that is, there is less similarity of course offerings across disciplinary boundaries than there is within disciplinary boundaries. The field of nonprofit management and philanthropic studies has yet to come into its own.

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nonprofit education; social network analysis; philanthropic studies

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