Mary Tschirhart advances understanding of a variety of types of nonprofit organizations and their partners. In particular, she focuses her research and teaching on management and governance opportunities and the responses of leaders to them.

Professor Tschirhart earned her Ph.D. in organizational behavior and human resource management from the University of Michigan’s School of Business and a M.B.A. in arts administration from the State University of New York. She has a B.A. in philosophy from the Honors College at Michigan State University.

Prior to her doctoral program, she was the executive director of Young Audiences of Michigan, a state-wide nonprofit bringing professional artists to schools and other venues. Her first academic position was at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at Indiana University where she earned tenure, was a department chair, and had courtesy faculty appointments with Museum Studies and the Center (now School) of Philanthropy. Next, she joined the Maxwell School faculty at Syracuse University and led the Campbell Institute there. Her position before coming to Ohio was at North Carolina State University (NCSU) where she directed the university-wide Institute for Nonprofit Research, Education and Engagement. At NCSU, the university honored with the 2014 Innovator of the Year award, primarily for her success in building the Institute.

Throughout her career, Professor Tschirhart has served on nonprofit boards including but not limited to boards of a United Way, library, and treatment facility for people recovering from addictions. . Her current appointments include President of ARNOVA (Association for Research on Nonprofit and Voluntary Action), Trustee of the Sall Family Foundation, Board Member at Columbus Humane, and Board Member at CFRE, International. She also serves on editorial boards for academic journals.

At the Glenn College, Professor Tschirhart teaches courses on nonprofit management and governance and capstone projects. At previous universities, she engaged with students in courses covering fund development for nonprofits, leadership, organizational theory and behavior, and community engagement. She received several teaching awards for courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Professor Tschirhart has over sixty publications including two books, Artful Leadership: Managing Stakeholder Problems in Nonprofit Arts Organizations and, co-authored with Wolfgang Bielefeld, Managing Nonprofit Organizations. Her most recent journal publications examine funder-grantee relationships, diversity and inclusion approaches in nonprofits, and joint-decision-making actors and processes. She produces research reports for ServeOhio, the state agency overseeing AmeriCorps programs, and for other government and nonprofit organizations.

Areas of research

  • Organizational theory
  • Nonprofit and public management
  • Careers and professional development
  • Membership associations
  • Philanthropy
“Place, Time, and Philanthropy: Exploring Geographic Mobility and Philanthropic Engagement” by Richard Clerkin, Laurie Paarlberg, Robert Christensen, Rebecca Nesbit, Mary Tschirhart, Public Administration Review, 2013, 1: 97-106. (winner of best paper at 2011 ARNOVA conference).

"Managing Nonprofit Organizations" by Mary Tschirhart and Wolfgang Bielefeld, Jossey-Bass/Wiley: 2012.
Professor Mary Tschirhart has been elected president of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA), the primary membership body for nonprofit scholars. Founded in 1971, ARNOVA connects scholars, teachers, and leaders interested in research on nonprofit organizations, voluntary action, philanthropy and civil society.

Professor Mary Tschirhartrecently co-edited a special issue on membership associations for Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Quarterly. Her co-authored article introducing the issue, offering a literature review and proposing research questions. » Click here to read the article. She also recently published a co-authored article on the influence of duration of donor residency on donation choices in Voluntas. » Click here to read the article

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