Philanthropy and Nonprofit Organizations in Society

Course Syllabus Focus

Civil Society

Course Syllabus Institution

Indiana University
Bielefeld, Wolfgang
Steinberg, Richard

This course is the sole required doctoral course that emphasizes social science rather than humanities. If your doctoral minor and intended thesis topic lie in the humanities, we won’t address those primary needs here, but rather attempt to enhance your multidisciplinary literacy and ability to teach on a broad range of topics you may be called upon to teach in a Philanthropic Studies, Nonprofit Management, or American Humanics program. We define the social sciences broadly as including research-based contributions to nonprofit management and behavioral sciences. Here are some of the disciplines on that list: economics, sociology, anthropology, political science, public administration, organizational behavior, psychology, linguistics, social neuroscience, geography, regional science, managerial science, marketing science, accounting, operations research, human resources, demography, communications studies. Some of the disciplines classified as humanities contain a modicum of social science (e.g., cliometrics, the statistical analysis using historical data; religious studies; legal studies) and may be cautiously employed in our course. But leave most history and ethics for the other courses.
Beyond understanding key findings in the social sciences, we hope to develop your understanding of the social scientific research process so that you are able to assess the rigor and validity of new research from social scientists. Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Understand major works in the nonprofit and voluntary sector literature that take a social-scientific perspective.
  • Analyze theories used to explain philanthropic and nonprofit organizational behaviors and describe the roles that donors, volunteers, and nonprofit organizations play in society.
  • Know where to begin in designing courses and curricula for educational programs in Philanthropic Studies or Nonprofit Management outside the student’s field of specialization.
  • Critically evaluate published research using a variety of research tools common to the social sciences.
  • Identify gaps in the research base.

Blog Posts

Start Spreadin’ the News

October 3, 2018

The Charles H. Revson Foundation and six philanthropic partners this week launched a new local news outlet in America’s largest city.


Jan 30

Join Professor Joel Fleishman and the President & CEO of Fairfield County's Community Foundation, Juanita James - for the Foundation Impact Res