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Between the Disciplines: Accreditation Considerations for Stand-Alone Nonprofit Education Programs

Robert F. Ashcraft


Stand-alone nonprofit education programs are a relatively small yet growing and increasingly influential part of the higher education landscape. By their nature, they almost always represent a nonprofit and philanthropy–first orientation, attracting students who seek full degrees within their chosen field rather than within other disciplines. In this essay, I argue for an accreditation framework advanced by the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC), that is informed by the 2016 NACC Accreditation Summit and by a story of winemaking that has remarkable similarities to NACC’s foray into accreditation, each with a goal of acknowledging quality and legitimacy without regard for academic or geographic location, thus respecting insights from those who lead stand-alone programs.


nonprofit education programs; nonprofit leadership and management; philanthropy studies; accreditation; curricular standards; winemaking

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