Director, Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management
Professor of Nonprofit Management
At North Park since: 2007
“North Park’s focus on ‘preparing students for lives of significance and service’ is complemented perfectly by the various opportunities to engage in the study of nonprofit management,” says Dr. Pier C. Rogers, citing the options for degrees at both undergraduate and graduate levels, along with additional certificates and professional continuing education offerings.
The focus on nonprofit education is what brought Rogers to North Park University in 2007 as professor and director of the Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management. She has over 25 years of experience in the nonprofit field, previously serving as the associate executive director of the National Association of Social Workers, New York City Chapter, and teaching at schools that include Yale University, Fordham University, and the New School University, Robert J. Milano Graduate School of Management and Urban Policy.
In her dual role at North Park, Rogers is able to expose students—traditional undergraduates, graduate students, and professionals seeking continuing education—to the opportunities the sector has to offer. “I particularly enjoy the practical focus that is a hallmark of this University. My work as director of the Axelson Center allows me to reach into the nonprofit professional community here in Chicago and beyond,” she says. “This then serves as a great resource for me to bring “real and practical” organizational experiences and issues into the classroom through guest speakers and projects.”
Rogers, along with her colleagues in the Axelson Center and the School of Business and Nonprofit Management, draws on these connections to develop curriculum and student projects that collaborate with local nonprofit organizations, to help connect students with internships, and to encourage them to consider how opportunities like the Nonprofit Leadership Certificate can enhance any major or course of study. Through all these avenues, students are exposed to the “breadth and depth” of the nonprofit sector, Rogers says. “Undergraduate students who enroll in the nonprofit major will learn a great deal about the sector. Those who are interested in ‘service’ will be excited to learn how extensive the choices are for that work.”
North Park also opens the door to classroom conversations on ethics, values, and the roles of both secular and religious organizations in the nonprofit sector. “The merging of nonprofit management considerations into the toolbox that is needed for pastors, lay leaders, volunteers in faith-based organizations, and churches is a special interest of mine,” Rogers says. “In addition, considerations of faith are often embedded in our ethical values. Our faith is often expressed in many ways—in the ways we interact with each other, our assumptions about others, and the way we lead. These are areas ripe for discussion in the classroom.”
Along with the topic of leadership in faith-based organizations, Rogers is active in research that includes philanthropy in communities of color and nonprofit board governance. She is a member of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA), Nonprofit Academic Centers Council, and Chicago Women in Philanthropy.
- PhD, Public Administration, New York University
- MSSS, social work, and MA, Afro-American studies, Boston University
- BA, philosophy and political science, Wellesley College
- Pier C. Rogers. “Nurturing the Next Generation of Philanthropic Leadership” in the SAGE Reference Series on Leadership, 2010.
- Pier C. Rogers. “Leading in and through a recession” in Philanthropy Journal, Dec. 2, 2009.