Collage of images from the WIlson Center at Pace University

Faculty Fellows

Each year the Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship funds four fellowships for Pace University faculty to grow our diverse portfolio of research projects with a focus on the identification and analysis of issues facing nonprofits and social enterprises. Fellows are selected by the Faculty Steering Committee in a double-blind review based on the strength of the submitted project. During their fellowship year, each faculty member works on a specific case study or academic research project that actively engages current Pace students. These fellows participate in the Wilson Center Faculty Steering Committee for a 3-year term and present their work in at least one Pace research showcase. Full application details for the program are available.

2023-2024 Faculty Fellows

Headshot photo of faculty fellow

Jessica Magaldi, JD., Associate Chair & Professor, Legal Studies and Taxation, Lubin School of Business

An Examination of How Business School Case Studies Reflect Gender Diversity in Educating Future Business School Graduates

Dr. Magaldi’s project will assess the gender inclusiveness of case studies provided by a professional nonprofit case research organization for adoption by business school professors. With a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), the study addresses the critical role of case studies in shaping the learning experiences of future business leaders. Investigating a 20-year span of case studies, Dr. Magaldi and her research assistants will examine the representation of women as protagonists and antagonists, as well as the gender of case study authors. As existing research indicates a concerning lack of female representation in both faculty and case studies, Dr. Magaldi’s research aims to highlight these disparities and propose recommendations for the nonprofit case research organization, and by extension others, to foster inclusivity in this important educational resource, contributing to the broader goal of enhancing diversity and gender equity in business education. This study holds significance in the context of evolving accreditation standards that emphasize diversity in various aspects of business schools.

Photo of Wilson Center Faculty Fellow Prof. Scutelnicu

Gina Scutelnicu-Todoran, PhD., Professor, Public Administration, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences

Gender Representation and Pay Gap in the Nonprofit Sector: The Case of a New York County

Dr. Scutelnicu’s research focuses on the understudied topic of gender diversity and equity in the nonprofit sector, particularly in Westchester County, New York. Despite women's predominant representation in the nonprofit workforce, they are underrepresented in executive and board leadership roles, leading to gender inequity and pay disparities. The study aims to contribute to existing literature by examining gender diversity and compensation in the nonprofit sector, addressing questions about workforce representation and pay differences based on gender, position type, and service area. Utilizing a combination of secondary data from the Internal Revenue Service and Bureau of Labor Statistics and primary data from a 2022 survey, the research intends to shed light on social equity issues within nonprofits. The proposed timetable outlines data analysis, paper drafting, and presentation milestones, culminating in a manuscript submission for publication in August 2024.

Photo of Wilson Center Faculty Fellow Prof. O'Callaghan

Susanne O'Callaghan Ph.D., Professor, Accounting, Lubin School of Business

A Comparison of Program Spending by Mental Health Not-for-Profits and other Health Related Not-for-Profits

A committed advocate for better mental health outcomes and an accounting professor, Dr. O’Callaghan teaches accounting for nonprofits that involves understanding how nonprofits spend money on their stated missions. Generally accepted accounting principles require nonprofits to disclose three breakdowns for all expenses: a) expenses for program mission; b) expenses for fundraising; and c) expenses for management and administration. Along with her students, she will be comparing nonprofits whose missions include issues around mental health and a control group not involved in the mental health arena. They will be studying the spending propensity of the two groups to determine whether either of these groups spends significantly more or less on their specific programs. Prof. O’Callaghan believes, that based on the findings of this study, society will be better informed about spending differences between mental health providers and non-mental health providers. The outcomes of this research will help inform foundations and government entities that provide financial support to nonprofit organizations and will help her students learn about the mechanisms for preparing financial statements for nonprofits and gain a better understanding of the social necessity and purpose of nonprofit organizations.

2022-2023 Faculty Fellows

Photo of Wilson Center Faculty Fellow Prof. Fink

Kate Fink, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Media and Communication Arts, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences

Sustaining Local News Nonprofits

This project focuses on the struggles of local news nonprofits to attract funding while maintaining their commitment to public service. Given increasing interest in nonprofit models for news, and the relationship between press independence and democracy, donor influence on journalism is a concern. Depending on a limited pool of donors can lead to real or perceived conflicts of interest—a significant risk as the public’s trust in news media remains low.

Nonprofit news models are popular partly due to the perceived failure of profit-driven media to serve the public interest. However, nonprofit news media often struggle with sustainability. Foundations provide the most funding, although their support can be fleeting, ideologically biased, and include conditions that journalists feel compromise their independence. Foundations also favor national outlets, limiting fundraising options for local news nonprofits. Financial struggles have been more severe for local media generally. One-fourth of local newspapers closed in the years 2004-2019, a trend that accelerated during the pandemic. The U.S. now has hundreds of “news deserts”—or communities that lack regular local news coverage. News deserts are most common in disadvantaged communities, such as those with lower incomes and higher ethnic diversity. This study will be based on interviews with leaders of nonprofit news organizations about their funding sources, how fundraising is integrated into their operations, and specific challenges to sustainability they have faced.

Photo of Wilson Center Faculty Fellow Prof. Lawler

James Lawler, DPS, Professor, Department of Information Technology, Seidenberg School of CSIS

A Case Study for Enabling Advocacy Non-Profit Organizations to Better Help Entrepreneurial People with Disabilities to Enter Industry Programs in STEM

A strong advocate for disadvantaged people in STEM, in his current study, Prof. Lawler is evaluating how advocacy non-profit organizations can engage capable client people with disabilities in careers in STEM. Entrepreneurial people with disabilities, especially students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), can be guided into industry opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Possibilities in STEM are real for those with disabilities interested in industry positions. Prof. Lawler is planning to review further the industry practices in integrating young people with ASD productively in neurodiversity programs in technology.

Based on his findings, Lawler plans to propose a model of industry requirements to be shared with local non-profit organizations, so that they can be better positioned in presenting entrepreneurial people with disabilities, such as ASD, but foundationally skilled in STEM, to the industry. Most non-profit organizations do not have enough post-pandemic resources to help people with disabilities into STEM. Prof. Lawler will be integrating moreover CIS 102W disability-focused non-profit organization students interested in joining the study. Findings from the current study will be a foundation for further study with students with ASD at the university. The benefit of this study is anticipated to help non-profit organizations in helping young people with disabilities join people without disabilities in the potential of STEM.

Photo of Wilson Center Faculty Fellow Prof. Mendelsohn

Joshua Mendelsohn, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Health Sciences, College of Health Professions

Reducing HIV-related stigma among young people attending school in Northern Uganda: a community-based participatory model for developing and delivering a transformative arts-based educational population health intervention using not-for-profit management in a low-income setting.

HIV-related stigma negatively impacts HIV prevention, care, and treatment, particularly among children and adolescents living in sub-Saharan Africa. Interventions that are culturally grounded, participatory, and community-driven show promise for addressing the root causes of stigma experienced by young people living with, or affected by, HIV. This proposed work, to be conducted in a post-conflict, rural setting in Omoro District, Uganda, will develop and test a transformative educational arts-based HIV-related stigma intervention drawing on local cultural knowledge, community-based participation, and engagement with a local not-for-profit organization. The school-based intervention will be delivered to young people (10 years of age) who attend primary or secondary school in Omoro District. The approach aims to re-establish the important cultural and social role of Elders within a community that has suffered the loss of inter-generational transfer of cultural knowledge due to a 25-year civil war. The formative research phase covered by the Wilson Center grant will collect qualitative data from interviews with not-for-profit personnel, community Elders, teachers, and students to generate preliminary data to inform intervention approach and content. Undergraduate students will be trained to assist with data analysis and reporting. The intervention will be evaluated using a stepped-wedge cluster randomized trial with 12 schools randomized into three blocks that will crossover from the control to intervention condition. This work is expected to generate a comprehensive dataset to inform a community-based protocol for developing and implementing a transformational arts-based HIV-stigma reduction interventions among young people attending schools. Findings will have widespread implications for HIV prevention, treatment and care in low-income and post-conflict settings. The study is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and includes a consortium of co-investigators representing six universities. The trial is registered at

Photo of Wilson Center Faculty Fellow Prof. Scharff

Christelle Scharff, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Computer Science, Seidenberg School of CSIS

Developing Ethical AI in Social Startups in Africa

Organizations are attempting to leverage a growing demand of innovative products and services by focusing on the uptake of novel technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI). The adoption of such technology does not go without a prepared workface and the needs of public policy and regulations. Misaligned AI-adoption strategy entails the risk of leading to the incorporation of technologies not serving the needs of their users, alienating communities, and, even, causing death. Through this research, Professor Scharff will study the adoption of AI and ethical AI practices in social startups in Africa and the existing frameworks for the design, development and deployment of ethical AI practices, and adapt them to produce a framework for social startups in Africa.

2021-2022 Faculty Fellows

Professor Braga Alves headshot

Marcus Braga-Alves, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Finance & Economics, Lubin School of Business

Political Corruption and Nonprofit Organizations

A recent general decline in the quality of U.S. political institutions led to the worst corruption perception rating in almost a decade. Corruption, which may be defined as the abuse of entrusted power for illegitimate private gain, wears away the trust in political institutions, limiting the most fundamental individual rights such as self-determination, due process of law, and freedom of association. Dr. Braga Alves's research tests the hypothesis that higher political corruption inhibits risk-taking spirit and managerial skills in nonprofit organizations because of the fear of expropriation by public officials. The statistical analysis consists of multiple regressions in which nonprofits' risk- and performance-related characteristics are the response variables, and local political corruption is the main explanatory variable.

This study's findings support the Wilson Center's mission of promoting social change by serving nonprofit organizations with research about one of the worst evils of modern days. Its results advance the identification and analysis of a crucial and immediate issue that has significant implications for those organizations' decisions, supporting the Wilson Center's goal of preparing leaders to face common nonprofits' challenges. Its conclusions also have implications for social enterprises since corruption certainly limits their ability to act against social inequality and division.

E. Melanie Dupuis, PH.D., Dyson faculty professor

E. Melanie Dupuis, Ph.D. Professor & Chair, Department of Environmental Studies & Science, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences

Growing Greenspace: Nonprofit Farms as Local Food Infrastructure

Nonprofit farm organizations provide significant services to their communities over and above adding to the supply of local food. They are a manifestation of what Lyson (2004) termed “civic agriculture”: the role of local farms in fostering resilient local food systems that support growing local economies. While there have been several studies of nonprofit food organizations, focusing primarily on food coops, urban gardens and farmers’ markets in cities, there has been little research on the impact of nonprofit farms, particularly outside of urban communities. Our research will therefore focus on the largely-ignored role of nonprofit farms in suburban/peri-urban/exurban areas, with a focus on New York’s Hudson Valley. We will explore how nonprofit farms perform their public mission and whether they are the same or different from private peri-urban farms and from urban non-profit farms and gardens, both in terms of their impact in their community as well as their role in their local food system. We will explore nonprofit farm histories, governance and how they view their mission in terms of community impact. With the current interest in re-regionalizing agriculture, the question becomes, “how can the non-profit farm sector contribute to the growth and resilience of regional food systems?”

Vaness Merton, J.D., law professor pace university

Vanessa Merton, J.D., Professor of Law & Director, Immigration Justice Clinic, Elisabeth Haub School of Law

The Viability of a New Option to Obtain Lawful Status for Immigrant Victims of Representation Fraud: Developing a Strategy for Nonprofit Advocates

This project will explore the viability of a novel approach to encouraging immigrants to cooperate in the prosecution of legal representatives – lawyers and non-lawyers – who exploit and defraud them, and thus become eligible for U visa certification, a pathway to lawful permanent residence.

Not even the most sophisticated immigrant can navigate the morass of U.S. immigration law without competent, ethical representation, but that can be hard to obtain and prohibitively expensive. To enrich themselves, some representatives systematically deceive clients, a pernicious phenomenon often called “notario fraud” that may include crimes like suborning perjury, extortion, and obstruction of justice. Clients realize this only belatedly, once they are ordered deported or permanently barred from status, but are still deterred from reporting and testifying because of their precarious legal situations and perpetrators’ credible threats to retaliate by disclosing confidential information (or misinformation) to authorities – not unlike the plight of domestic violence survivors.

This category of immigrant should be, but has never been, deemed eligible for the U visa, a status awarded certain crime victims. This research will determine why the U visa is under-utilized, and how to overcome the legal and practical obstacles – a need all the more urgent as today’s volatile immigration law and overwhelmed nonprofit sector induce immigrants to turn to unscrupulous, profiteering scammers. Publications will include a scholarly article; a toolkit for service providers; and a manual for more effective prosecution of representation fraud. The Law School will also host a conference of those interested in this initiative.

Seidenberg professor Namchul Shin, PH.D.

Namchul Shin, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Information Technology, Seidenberg School of CSIS

Social Media and Charitable Giving for Nonprofit Organizations

In recent years, online giving made on mobile phones has increased with the use of social media. As the number of people using mobile phones (or smartphones) increases, the potentials of social media for charities are increasing since they make online donations easier. Research has extensively studied nonprofit organizations’ use of social media. However, there has been limited research examining the impact of social media on charitable giving. This research attempts to address the gap by empirically examining the relationship between the use of social media and charitable giving for nonprofit organizations. For the empirical analysis, we employ a data set of the Nonprofit Times’ top 100 nonprofits ranked by total revenue. We use multiple measures for social media traction: Facebook Likes, Twitter Followers, and Instagram Followers. We plan to construct a data set for the research by combining the social media traction data with the top 100 nonprofit data. Our base model estimates charitable giving as measured by contributions and grants influenced by social media traction while controlling other variables such as total assets and industry. We extend the base model to incorporate the economic model of giving proposed by Weisbrod and Dominguez (1986). This research sheds light on the literature on IT impacts on charitable giving in the nonprofit sector by adding new knowledge on the impact of social media. It uses various social media traction measures, i.e., how extensively nonprofits draw supporters on their social media page, which have little been used in previous research.

Past Faculty Fellows