2016 NACC Accreditation Summit at Texas A&M

The 2016 NACC Accreditation Summit was held on July 12—14, 2016 at Texas A&M University.

We are very grateful to all of our Sponsors and Participants who made this exciting event possible:


Texas A&M University (Principal and Hosting Sponsor); The University of Texas at Austin (Leading Sponsor); Cleveland State University, and The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University (Sustaining Sponsors); Seton Hall University (Program Sponsor); Baruch College at the City University of New York, Seattle University, and the University of Oregon (Supporting Sponsors); and The Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership (JNE&L) (Contributing Partner)


Jennifer Alexander, Robert Ashcraft, Signe Bell, Sylvia Benatti, Emiko Blalock, William Brown, Heather Carpenter, John Casey, Richard Clerkin, Joseph Cordes, Lisa Dicke, Norman Dolch, Jo Ann Ewalt, Maureen Emerson Feit, Mary Ann Feldheim, Robert Fischer, Jeffrey Greim, John Hailey, Matthew Hale, Kathleen Hale, Melissa Hall, Scott Helm, Mark Hoffman, Douglas Ihrke, Renee Irvin, Stuart Mendel, Roseanne Mirabella, Khanh Nguyen, Dorothy Norris-Tirrell, Laurie Paarlberg, Moira Porter, David Renz, Robbie Robichau, Patrick Rooney, Susan Schmidt, Shelly Schnupp, Daniela Schroeter, Elizabeth Searing, Steven Rathgeb Smith, David Springer, Marco Tavanti, Heather Troth, Teresa VanHorn, Erin Vokes, and Jennifer Wade-Berg.


The case for accreditation of nonprofit and philanthropy degree programs in higher education is attracting attention and generating discussion about whether or not nonprofit education can be framed by dedicated theories. Has nonprofit theory developed to the point where distinctions are established in the scholarly literature and in the field of practice? NACC's interest in accreditation is partially a reaction to the existing accreditation and certification processes. It appears that NACC member representatives think these processes fail to reflect the intrinsic nature of nonprofit and philanthropy programs.

The 2016 NACC Accreditation Summit was an effort to bring more order to the discussion and thoughtfully consider if nonprofit and philanthropy studies is at the juncture of becoming an accredited degree.

To that end, NACC commissioned opinion papers from scholars both inside and outside of NACC on a variety of topics.  A full agenda and list of speakers is available here

During the summit we took copious notes of the proceeds.  These are available at here

While a full position paper on the findings of the summit is available here, the top line results are that any NACC accreditation process must meet three primary goals.  These are listed below.

Flexibility- Any NACC sponsored accreditation process must be flexible enough to incorporate the wide variety of “academic spaces” that nonprofit and philanthropy education occupies.

Nonprofit- and Philanthropy-First- Any NACC sponsored accreditation program will place nonprofit and philanthropy theory in the center and at the core of the discussion... This means we are committed to focusing on the nonprofit and philanthropy aspects of any programs that NACC might accredited.

Curriculum Focused- As other accreditation processes require documenting levels of support from host institutions (Deans, Provosts, and infrastructure) that many nonprofit programs do not have, a NACC accreditation process will place curriculum at its center.

Working closely with our partner, the Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership, the opinion papers generated at the summit will soon be published in a special edition of JNEL.  Links to this journal edition will be provided as they become available.