Two Perspectives on Nonprofit Management Education: Public Administration and Social Work
Dr. Roseanne Mirabella and Dr. Richard Hoefer
Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership, Vol. 13 No. 4 (2023): Special Issue: Disciplinary Perspectives in Nonprofit Management
The latest Special Issue of the Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership, “Disciplinary Perspectives in Nonprofit Management,” includes a thought-provoking piece co-authored by Roseanne Mirabella, Professor at Seton Hall University, and Richard Hoefer, Professor of Social Work at The University of Texas at Arlington. Their article, “Two Perspectives on Nonprofit Management Education: Public Administration and Social Work,” takes a unique approach by directly comparing and contrasting these two disciplines. This Special Issue aims to underscore the uniqueness of various disciplines in understanding nonprofit organizations and education.
Mirabella and Hoefer’s contribution is pivotal in highlighting how nonprofit management is inherently interdisciplinary, drawing on insights from both public administration and social work. They argue that the intellectual trajectories, frameworks, and questions characteristic of each discipline significantly influence the development and teaching of their respective curricula. The authors adeptly navigate through four key areas: the historical roots of each discipline, their core values, the challenges faced in management education within these fields, and their responses to critical perspectives in nonprofit management education. By examining the evolution and fundamental values of public administration and social work, the article sheds light on current challenges and the importance of incorporating alternative, critical perspectives in nonprofit management education. This piece is not just an academic comparison but a call to deepen our understanding of these disciplines’ contributions to shaping effective nonprofit management education today.
Roseanne M. Mirabella, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Affairs at Seton Hall University. She conducts research on philanthropy and nonprofit education and critical perspectives on nonprofit organizing. She has authored or co-authored several papers and one co-edited book “Reframing Nonprofit Organizations: Democracy, Inclusion and Social Change” exploring the ways in which nonprofit management education programs can prepare students both to lead organizations as well as for their important role as advocates for the communities they serve, particularly communities that have been historically marginalized. She is past President of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA), the New Jersey Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration, and is a member of the ARNOVA Critical Perspectives Leadership Team.
Dr. Richard Hoefer, a Professor of Social Work at The University of Texas at Arlington, is deeply committed to enhancing the effectiveness of human service agencies. His professional mission is centered around the critical question, “What makes for a more effective human service agency?” This inquiry drives his multifaceted interests in program evaluation, administration, advocacy, and budgeting within the realm of social work. Dr. Hoefer is particularly passionate about improving understanding of the policy process, empowering social workers to create positive change in the world. His research spans a wide range of areas including nonprofit capacity building, organization management, advocacy, civic engagement, American and Swedish social policy, and program evaluation. He imparts knowledge in these same areas as an educator, author, and consultant. Dr. Hoefer’s commitment to providing research-based solutions is a testament to his dedication to addressing societal problems, organizational challenges, and the needs of clients, students, and the broader community with respect, fairness, and competence.