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student philanthropy, experiential learning, civic engagement, nonprofit management education


Recent scholarship has documented a growing interest in teaching philanthropy at the undergraduate and graduate level. This study is an overview of the nature and extent of one approach, experiential philanthropy, in which students learn philanthropy by making grants to nonprofit organizations. The study reviewed syllabi and support material for 88 experiential philanthropy courses. The analysis identified four course models offered in a variety of academic settings. These findings suggest a broader range of course options for advancing civic engagement goals that instructors might typically consider. Faculty who teach these courses pursue multiple goals, including preparing students for citizenship and for professional work in the nonprofit sector. The findings indicate that experiential philanthropy is a pedagogical strategy for both civic engagement and nonprofit management education. They deepen our understanding of how instructors use experiential philanthropy and shape how we assess its efficacy as a pedagogic strategy.

Publisher Attribution

Campbell, D. (2014). Practicing Philanthropy in American Higher Education: Cultivating Engaged Citizens and Nonprofit Sector Professionals. Journal of Public Affairs Education, 20(2), 217-231.

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