ASU bachelor's degree program in nonprofit leadership and management is world’s first to receive NACC accreditation

ASU bachelor's degree program in nonprofit leadership and management is world’s first to receive NACC accreditation

December 21, 2020 (Phoenix, Ariz.) -- Arizona State University’s Bachelor of Science degree program in nonprofit leadership and management this fall became the world’s first undergraduate degree curriculum to be accredited by the international Nonprofit Academic Centers Council.

ASU previously received NACC accreditation in 2019 for its Master of Nonprofit Leadership and Management degree program. At that time ASU was among the first 10 universities to receive the graduate accreditation. One more graduate program, at the University of San Diego, has been accredited since.

The intensive accreditation process affirms that ASU’s nonprofit leadership and management undergraduate program, offered by the School of Community Resources and Development and supported by the ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation, aligns with NACC’s curricular guidelines and principles, said Robert Ashcraft, professor in the School of Community Resources and Development and Lodestar Center director.

“The trailblazing undergraduate accreditation further affirms ASU’s place as an innovative global leader in nonprofit leadership,” Ashcraft said.

Through coursework and co-curricular experiences, ASU students in the nonprofit leadership and management bachelor’s degree program gain the skills and experience to become successful professionals who advance philanthropic and nonprofit work, Ashcraft said.

Applying these skills and experience improves the quality of life within the communities in which they work, he said.

ASU was a pioneer in conferring degrees specifically in the field of leading and managing nonprofits, Ashcraft said, first offering a certificate program through its early “American Humanics” program in 1980–1981 that featured a small curriculum that grew over time.

“It’s an important part of the DNA of our nonprofit education program,” Ashcraft said of the curriculum of 40 years ago.

As the nonprofit sector grew to more than 1.6 million organizations nationwide, the demand grew for education in the field, Ashcraft said.

“Before, many just fell into the work. You were a former teacher, a former banker, and suddenly you’re running a nonprofit,” he said.

The university launched its Bachelor of Science degree curriculum in 2007–2008 after introducing the nation’s first master’s degree program in nonprofit studies the previous academic year. Building on an earlier nonprofit leadership and management certificate program, Ashcraft said, “launching the full undergraduate and graduate degrees represents a notable stake in the ground” that marks a path to the future.

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