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Moving Across Academic Disciplines: The Opportunities and Challenges of Operationalizing Competency-Based Design

Susan Tomlinson Schmidt, Dorothy Norris-Tirrell


The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance joins the conversation about accreditation as a bridge from the academy to the workforce. For nonprofit organization practitioners and hiring professionals, the disciplinary home of the courses and degrees for nonprofit-related education is less important than the content provided. This essay highlights two main points: (1) Working across disciplines and across institutions is messy and complex, and (2) competency-based design gives order, but requires focused staff resources and ongoing work to develop and maintain successfully. Because the study of nonprofits is inherently cross-disciplinary and the types of institutions, program homes, and degree areas are diverse, broad scope accreditation will likely not be quick or easy.


competency-based; nonprofit workforce; accreditation

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