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Appreciative Inquiry for Strength-Based Leadership and Innovation in Public and Nonprofit Sectors

The non-credit Certificate in Appreciative Inquiry for Strengths-based Leadership and Innovation in the Public and Nonprofit Sectors provides students with an opportunity to learn how to apply Appreciative Inquiry (Ai) and the SOAR methodology (Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Results) for positive organizational change and innovation and strategic planning. Through coursework and fieldwork, student apply what they learn by designing an Appreciative Inquiry-based project unique to their organization or community.

A Certificate will be issued to participants upon the completion of the following coursework:

  • Participate in an initial two-day workshop in which students will learn how to apply Ai in the public and nonprofit sectors.
  • Design, conduct and prepare a paper about an Ai project of choice.
  • Conduct Ai interviews of three public and/or nonprofit sector leaders and chronicle the results of the interviews.
  • Participate in a concluding two-day workshop featuring advanced Ai concepts and practices and interactively share lessons learned from the Ai projects and leadership interviews.
Program Schedule

The program commences with a two-day workshop, continues with monthly coaching calls, and concludes with a two-day advanced workshop. The Director of the Center for Applied Appreciative Inquiry will conduct the monthly Ai coaching conference call with all program participants and will also be available to discuss individual projects as needed.

Program Dates
  • Beginning Two-Day Workshop: June
  • Followed by Monthly Coaching Calls
  • Advanced Two-Day Workshop: January

Workshops are held at Rutgers University–Newark's School of Public Affairs and Administration at 111 Washington Street, Newark, NJ 07102.

A limited number of slots are available for remote participation in the workshops. Contact James M. Davy, Director, Center for Applied Appreciative Inquiry at or 732-754-8969 for more information.

Program Costs

The cost is $1500 per participant and includes all materials required for the program and breakfast and lunch on all four workshop days. Lodging and travel arrangements and costs are the responsibility of each participant. Rutgers faculty and staff can participate at a $200 discount.


Participate in the program by registering and paying online here. Purchase Orders (POs) are accepted.

Suggested Hotel/Travel Information

A special rate at area hotels will be available for participants.

For More Information

James M. Davy
Director, Center for Applied Appreciative Inquiry

What Students Are Saying About the Ai Certificate Program

"For anyone looking to develop a strategic plan, make positive change within an organization, or for creating a culture of continuous improvement, Appreciative Inquiry provides an engaging, collaborative, empowering, strengths-based approach. This workshop showed that Ai is easy to understand, appealing to leaders as well as participants, and leads to shared visions and concrete results.”
Bonnie Granatir ’15 (Nonprofit Leader)

"I would recommend the Ai Certificate Workshop to anyone who is seeking a new way to see the systems and the people around them. I feel very confident that I can make a positive contribution to the groups I am involved in as I develop my ‘Appreciative Eye’ and continue to develop and apply my Ai skills."
Carol Miele ’15 (Community College Professional)

"In the beginning of Ai training, I was skeptical about this new planning approach because I am more familiar with the corporate model of 'what’s the problem and let’s fix it.' After experiencing the Ai process of 'what’s right, let’s expand on it,' I was sold and will be adding it to my organization and leadership offerings."
Roy Lee '16 (Organization and Leadership Development Consulting Firm President)