First Professional Doctorate for Philanthropy Now Accepting Applications
The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI is opening applications for its new online Professional Doctorate in Philanthropic Leadership (PhilD), the first professional, doctoral-level leadership degree in the field. The new degree program offers seasoned leaders a world-class educational experience, tailored to elevate their professional roles as innovative senior executives and thought leaders within philanthropy and in cross-sectoral initiatives, both domestically and internationally.
“Our new Professional Doctorate in Philanthropic Leadership is a deliberate investment in the philanthropic sector's leadership capacity and civil society to make social change. It will equip accomplished, thoughtful individuals to deepen and accelerate impact in philanthropy, the nonprofit sector and beyond,” said Amir Pasic, the Eugene R. Tempel Dean of the school. “Today’s leaders are under growing pressure to integrate and apply knowledge with a deeper understanding of the context that shapes their world and the world that philanthropy seeks to affect.
“The PhilD program’s creation is in response to ongoing demand for an accessible way for leaders in the field to apply research-based knowledge to the issues they deal with daily, while also achieving a doctoral-level credential designed especially for them,” Pasic said. “We have already received many expressions of interest in the PhilD from prospective students. We look forward to welcoming the innovative leaders who will comprise our inaugural cohort.”
A doctorate for leaders and doers
While a traditional Ph.D. usually prepares graduates for academic positions, the PhilD is for practitioners and integrates philanthropy, leadership and inquiry. PhilD students and graduates will wield cutting-edge leadership tools and creative applications of existing research, scholarship and data to help solve some of society’s most intractable problems through philanthropy, nonprofit and cross-sectoral initiatives. The curriculum is developed by members of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s award-winning faculty. Courses focus on applying new and existing knowledge, education, global perspectives and professional experience to produce actionable insights that advance the practice of philanthropy and deliver social impact.
The PhilD is designed for working professionals. All courses are online and asynchronous. Students take a set curriculum delivered in year-round, sequential eight-week sessions for two years, even as they develop an applied research project. In lieu of a traditional dissertation, this final project, completed and presented in the third year of the degree program, utilizes extant or new research to address a real-world problem within an organization, an area of practice, or a particular initiative that may serve as a model for other leaders and organizations.
Final applied research projects are chosen by the student in conjunction with a faculty committee of their choosing, and students have wide latitude in the substantive area of applied research, as well as the form the project takes. The projects may address such areas of interest as leadership challenges, impact evaluation, diversity imperatives, policy development and implementation, fundraising technology or global considerations in rapidly changing civil society environments. The outcome of the final applied project may take one of myriad forms, including a written report, major case study, policy plan, impact evaluation tool, or other project outcome that can be shared and used by the student author in a professional setting for real-world problem solving.
Leaders from a wide range of fields, including the private, government and philanthropic sectors, are encouraged to apply. Experienced leaders within the C-suite or program leadership of their nonprofit organizations, founders, philanthropists, corporate foundation executives and government leaders who work in cross-sectoral environments are all examples of prospective students for the new PhilD. Leadership through extensive volunteering, such as serving as a long-term board member or trustee, may also qualify. PhilD students will move through the program as a cohort of peers, sharing and learning from their rich and diverse backgrounds and making lifelong professional connections. This diversity of experiences, training and thought will help support a vibrant community of thinkers and doers.
Leading the leaders
Cindy M. Lott, Esq., serves as the inaugural director of the new PhilD program and is Clinical Professor of Philanthropic Studies and Stead Policy Fellow at the school. Formerly, she was Associate Professor of Professional Practice and Academic Director for Nonprofit Management Programs at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies, where she developed the program and curriculum for the M.S. Nonprofit Management. Lott has an extensive background at the intersection of philanthropic and nonprofit practice, research, teaching and curriculum design. Her expertise spans both practice and academic research, particularly applied research. She serves as a fellow at the Urban Institute’s Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy and was a policy fellow at Independent Sector.
“We are delighted that Professor Lott is directing the PhilD,” Pasic said. “Her impressive knowledge and experience encompass teaching, research, policy engagement, governance and regulation across many facets of leadership relevant to all who are curious about philanthropy and prepared to make an even bigger difference through their work. Her expertise and prowess will be significant assets as we launch this new degree.”
Lott formerly was executive director and senior counsel to the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School and was a member of the U.S. IRS Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt Entities. She is chair of the public policy, politics, and law section of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) and co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Exempt Organizations subcommittee on state charities law. She has advised or served on the boards of numerous nonprofit organizations. A graduate of Yale Law School and Indiana University Bloomington, Lott is a frequent speaker at national conferences on philanthropic and nonprofit state regulation, compliance, ethics, management and governance.
“I am honored to join the prestigious Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and to lead the Professional Doctorate in Philanthropic Leadership,” Lott said. “This innovative new degree program affords an opportunity to seasoned leaders to integrate and expand upon the depth of prior knowledge and experiences that our student leaders will bring to the classroom, their peers and the major challenges of our civil society. The PhilD will further strengthen the philanthropic sector and our communities, develop the current and next generation of leadership, and launch these leaders into the next phase of their social change careers.”
The priority deadline for PhilD applications is Nov. 1, 2022; applications will close on Dec. 1, 2022. The inaugural group will be capped at no more than 25 students. They will begin the 48-credit-hour degree program in May 2023 and graduate in May 2026. Professional and academic prerequisites for PhilD applicants include a completed graduate degree in any field, at least five years of demonstrated leadership experience, and a commitment to advancing social good as evidenced by professional and personal endeavors. No GRE or other graduate entrance exam is required.
Indiana University and IUPUI established the world’s first school dedicated solely to teaching and research about philanthropy which has been recognized internationally as a leading source of groundbreaking education and research for over three decades. The university pioneered the field of Philanthropic Studies and created the world’s first traditional Ph.D., master’s, and bachelor’s degrees in that field. The new PhilD is another first for education in the field of philanthropy.
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