Accreditation of Nonprofit Certificate and Degree Programs: Caveat Emptor: Why Public Administration May Not Be The Best Fit


  • Jennifer Alexander University of Texas at San Antonio



accreditation, credentialing, nonprofit curricula, public administration


Nonprofit certificate and degree programs are in need of the institutional support provided by credentialing to establish and maintain their quality and to support the development of an emerging field of study. NASPAA, the presumptive candidate, has a disciplinary orientation and a primary responsibility to public administration that hinder its ability to fulfill this role. Public administration programs that have spun off nonprofit certificates and degrees have not fully accommodated the curricular demands of nonprofit studies, nor have they experienced pressure to do so. Curricular certification by a nonprofit membership organization would provide support for greater academic integrity of nonprofit certificates and degrees. Finally, the body of knowledge within public administration presents an incomplete picture of nonprofits, including their roles and relationship with the administrative state. For these reasons, public administration institutions are not currently positioned to support credentialing of nonprofit academic programs. NACC should begin with curricular certification and subsequently explore whether to become a full-fledged credentialing institution.

Author Biography

Jennifer Alexander, University of Texas at San Antonio

College of Public Policy

University of Texas at San Antonio





Is Accreditation Good for the Field?