NACC News: March 2017

NACC News publishes information about the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council and its members. We invite you to contribute your news and encourage you to share this newsletter with colleagues, the nonprofit community, and all others you think might find it of interest.


The 2017 NACC Biennial Conference CALL FOR PROPOSALS

NACC 2017 Biennial Conference Overview
The NACC Biennial conference brings together academics, scholars, practitioners, and administrators from around the world to discuss, learn, and share tactics and methods that support and build
university-based educational programs focused on nonprofit and philanthropic studies. Topics for conversation include instruction, pedagogy, research, and substantive issues in education and
administration. NACC invites papers from interested member institutions, their faculty affiliates, graduate students, and other members of the nonprofit community. Proposals will be considered by a review committee, and final manuscripts must be of scholarly quality.

Theme | Nonprofit and Philanthropy Cases: What We Learn from the Stories We Tell
Frequently, at NACC events, members have informally expressed an interest in case studies for use in instruction and other purposes. Many resources are available, including our own research, yet a formal
model for the field of nonprofit- and philanthropy-first case studies has yet to be developed.

We seek papers for this conference that shed light on nonprofit-and-philanthropy-first case studies.
Proposals should frame their papers in accordance with one of the three proposed lines:

  • Models for writing case studies for publication in research publications
  • Models for writing case studies for use in classroom instruction
  • Models of case studies for use in research methodology

We encourage contributors to ground their methodological approach in one of three lines of inquiry:

  1.  A Model for Case Study
    Contributors may develop a methodology or a model for case studies that can be successfully applied as a framework across nonprofit and philanthropy cases and can serve as a basis for cross-case comparisons.
  2.  Case Studies through the Lens of (Nonprofit- and Philanthropy-First) Research Contributors may present stories that inform theory development by sharing a case study that highlights a nonprofit theory or a nonprofit management dilemma. The contributor will first state the nonprofit theory or the management dilemma in question. The contributor will then present a case or story that illustrates the theory or the dilemma. The contributor will then demonstrate either how the theory has been proven (or disproven) through the case, or will expound upon the management dilemma illustrated by the case study and posit a solution if possible.
  3.  Case Studies as a Tool for (Nonprofit- and Philanthropy-First) Teaching Contributors may present a case study or a series of case studies and, drawing upon scholarly literature and the case study itself, demonstrate how case studies can be useful tools for nonprofit and philanthropy education and instruction.

Description of Session Types
In the interest of creating a stimulating and engaging conference, various session presentation styles are invited (see descriptions below). Proposers should select the appropriate form for the session type they prefer.

Proposals for paper presentations are to be submitted individually for the presentation of a completed paper. Papers submitted individually will be grouped on a common theme to create integrated multi-paper
sessions. All multi-paper sessions will include time for questions following the presentations.
Individual paper proposals should detail the focus of the paper and the way(s) in which it contributes to the body of knowledge in the field of nonprofit and philanthropic studies.

Paper Panel
Panel sessions are pre-arranged collections of 3-4 papers on a common theme. The panel organizer will submit an abstract for each paper as well as a 75-word description to show linkages between papers.
Panels should be interactive, allowing for questions and discussion following the formal presentations.

This thematic presentation focuses on an issue facing the field of nonprofit and philanthropic studies.
This format is used to explore various points of view on a theme or works in progress. The proposal should outline the general topic of the panel and how panelists, and possibly a discussant, will offer
coordinated presentations. In addition, the proposal must contain separate summaries from each presenter describing his or her contribution to the session. The proposer is responsible for coordinating
the presentations in advance. Colloquia are comprised of multiple presenters/papers and will be reviewed as a set; the full set will be accepted or rejected together.

Proposal abstracts or summaries must be emailed to Erin Vokes, Managing Director of NACC,

Requirements for submission.

  • Papers and paper panels: Please prepare an abstract and a detailed proposal of approximately 250 words which summarizes each paper or paper panel. Proposals should be framed in accordance with the three suggested approaches related to case study, or per another topic within the scope of the overview. Proposals are due by April 28, 2017. Presenters should have a full conference paper completed prior to attending the conference. Contributors whose proposals are accepted will be given formatting guidelines for their manuscripts when they are notified of their acceptance. Although we are encouraging a wide variety of presentation formats at the conference, those that intend to submit papers for consideration in the NACC Conference edition of the Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership should be prepared have a fully developed paper ready for distribution by July 14, 2017.
  • Colloquium: Prepare a 150-word summary of topic(s) to be covered.
  • Biographical sketch: Include 25-word biographical sketch for each participant and their contribution to the session. Please also provide one photo (.jpg) for each presenter.

Proposals must be submitted for initial review by April 28, 2017. Contributors will be notified if their proposal has been accepted within two weeks of their submission.

Final, completed manuscripts will then be due by no later than July 14, 2017. Papers received after that deadline will not be included in conference materials or featured on the NACC website.

Nonprofit and Philanthropy Parables and Cases: What We Learn from the Stories We Tell

Hosted by Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

Dates: Monday, July 31—Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Location: JW Marriott Indianapolis, 10 S West Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204 and Indiana University, University Hall, Suite 3000, 301 University Blvd, Indianapolis, IN 46202

Lodging: JW Marriott Indianapolis, 10 S West Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204. The JW Marriot has offered us a special group rate of $199 USD per night.

Book your room here: Group rate for IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy - NACC at the JW Marriott Indianapolis. The last day to reserve your room at this rate is June 30, 2017

Message from the President

Dear NACC members,

Recently, I received the final page proofs for NACC’s special edition of the Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership. The NACC special edition is the collection of papers from last summer’s NACC Accreditation Summit held at Texas A&M. I am very proud of this edition. To me it shows the leadership role NACC has played in moving the accreditation ball forward. The special edition includes papers both for and against accreditation and therefore it shows NACC’s commitment to openness, transparency, and diversity. I want to make sure that we all take a moment to thank Stuart Mendel from Cleveland State University for his leadership as editor of this special edition. Look for it your mailboxes soon.

Another great thing about NACC is that we don’t stand still for very long. So, while the journal with papers from our last gathering is just coming out it is time to start getting ready for the next NACC gathering. Can I get a drum roll? Please!!!!

The 2017 NACC Biennial Conference:
Nonprofit and Philanthropy Parables and Cases:
What We Learn from the Stories We Tell
Monday July 31 to Wednesday August 2, 2017
IUPUI Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
Indianapolis, Indiana

A shared obstacle within the nonprofit and philanthropy academic community is the challenge of
producing research based on purely quantitative measures. It is often noted that qualitative aspects
must also be considered in order to fully appreciate the value and impact of the nonprofit and
philanthropy sector in civil society. Thus, the conference aspires to explore storytelling and case study
through the lens of a nonprofit- and philanthropy-first perspective. Themes discussed may include the
necessity and usage of case studies in theoretical and applied nonprofit research, best practices and
models of scholarly case study, the role of case study in building the field, and the value of case study and
experiential learning in nonprofit- and philanthropy-first pedagogy.

Please make your plans to join us at the premier event of the summer and keep checking the NACC
website ( for more

Just in case that is not exciting enough for you, I will end this edition with a brain teaser. It is about how
“NACC” should appear in written works. Here is the question. After spelling out it out (Nonprofit
Academic Centers Council (NACC) the first time, when is it proper to write “the NACC” and when is it
better to write just “NACC”? Winning answers will be placed in a lottery for a free drink ticket at the
opening reception of 2017 NACC Biennial Conference. Send your entries to

Accreditation Reflections


Accreditation from the Practitioner Perspective
Sylvia de Haas-Phillips MS, MSW
Director, MS Nonprofit Management & Philanthropy
MS Strategic Fundraising & Philanthropy
Bay Path University

Accreditation from the Practitioner Perspective
Students I talk to and teach on a daily basis are pursuing a graduate degree in Nonprofit Management or Strategic Fundraising because they want to advance their career or transition into the field. This may seem obvious but is it? To me it is an important consideration as we look at how to prepare students for their future in the sector. What goals do we
have guiding our respective graduate degree programs? Is it to prepare students to lead nonprofit organizations and/or become senior philanthropic professionals? Is it to prepare researchers or academic scholars to contribute to the field? Is our goal to strengthen the governance and leadership of the nonprofit sector itself? These and other questions impact what might or might not be the value added of a formal accreditation process through any governing body including the National Academic Centers Council (NACC). As a relatively new member of the academic community with over 30 years of industry experience as a funder, nonprofit leader, and governance and strategy adviser I offer a perspective built on practical experience utilizing best practices in leading nonprofit organizations and as well as a focus on building the capacity of the nonprofit sector.

For over a decade, our graduate program has focused on taking theory to practice and providing an applied learning environment for students. Nine student learning outcomes guide curriculum development and assessment. Students embark on their own personal journey to assess their learning outcomes and develop a portfolio of their work that is used, often in pursuing a career opportunity, to demonstrate mastery of a specific aspect of nonprofit leadership and management. We are focused on developing new leaders and providing them a set of tools that can be applied in real-life settings. Our goal is to educate the next generation of leaders with the ultimate goal of building the capacity of the nonprofit sector and the people within them to think strategically and positively impact social change. How we measure this goal is the conversation at hand and one in which components of the proposed
NACC accreditation/certification process may add value.

Similar to all universities we work with a number of accrediting bodies that have oversight and input into curriculum, courses, etc. Program success is focused on a clear set of objectives against which all the core and elective courses are measured and we provide direct and indirect evidence to demonstrate mastery. We are currently in the process of reporting on the nine learning objectives guiding our two graduate degree programs and the opportunity to look deeper into the proposed accreditation process offers timely information.

Educating students in a learning environment focused solely on the nonprofit sector provides them, in my professional view, an opportunity to understand the unique characteristics, operating principles, policy challenges and governance issues which drive much of the decision-making in the field. Balancing an applied learning experience within an academic environment can sometimes be challenging and perhaps that is where feedback from an accreditation and/or certification process that is not onerous may be able to add value—the key concept is “not onerous”. What might accreditation through NACC mean for all programs and in particular programs not currently accredited through other accrediting bodies? How much flexibility will there be in designing courses and aligning curriculum with local and
regional needs and demands? How much is universally accepted as core to nonprofit studies versus electives that can be customized to student interests? How will this impact small colleges and universities versus large institutions with deeper institutional capacity to manage the accreditation process?

These are not new questions and have been discussed, reported on, and continue to be examined through the proposed accreditation process (2015 NACC Meeting Recap, Needs and Next Steps; 2016 NACC Accreditation Summit; 2016 NACC/ARNOVA Conference, etc.). NACC Curriculum Guidelines (Third Revised Edition 2015 Graduate Guidelines) provide guidance on aligning faculty with curriculum, a framework for studying the field, a method to communicate goals and objectives of students (and future students) and provides a proposed mechanism for assessment. Mapping curriculum against these guidelines is a worthwhile endeavor which we will pursue independently and continue to share feedback with colleagues as well as continue to participate in the NACC Accreditation Process Task Group to learn and hopefully add-value to the discussion from the practitioner/academic perspective.

Questions posed by Norman A. Dolch at the July 2016 NACC Accreditation Summit in his piece entitled “Accreditation: Seven Perspectives from Outside Academia” resonated and bring to the discussion some very important issues that should not get lost in the process. He asked a number of questions around employment of students post-graduation, accountability and the impact of accreditation, access to graduate programs for potential students and investment in nonprofit academic programs (Dolch 2016). It brings me back to how I started this conversation—what are the goals of our respective programs and how will a formal accreditation process added-value individually and collectively?

As a graduate social work student and upon graduation a practitioner in a corporate environment (as a community relations and foundation professional) I worked with a group of social workers throughout Connecticut (called Social Workers in Business and Industry) that tried to legitimize our practice in business settings by developing a field of practice and guidelines to oversee our work. Although this never came to fruition and the group disbanded it did leave an impression of the importance of balancing what we want to accomplish with developing a set of standards to guide our work. I offer this analogy as for food for thought—let’s not over-emphasize conformity with outcomes and allow the process to include those programs focused on building the next generation of nonprofit leaders as well
as those focused on building the next generation of researchers. It is not either or but both.

NACC News publishes information about the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council and its members. We invite you to contribute your news and encourage you to share this newsletter with colleagues, the nonprofit community, and all others you think might find it of interest. 

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