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

Virtual Program

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

Download Info Sheet: Certificate in Appreciative Inquiry 2020-2021

Who Should Attend

Individuals who lead governmental or nonprofit organizations or those who aspire to lead such agencies should attend this certificate program.

Benefits of Ai Certificate

This certificate program will enable those who participate in learning and applying a new, innovate, and positive approach to problem solving grounded in collaborative discourse. It will allow the participant to design and complete an Ai project that benefits the organization in which he or she works. Upon completion of all activities, participants earn a Certificate in Appreciative Inquiry from Rutgers University and 7.5 CEUs.


The Ai Certificate is designed to be completed over 8 months through a combination of group sessions lead by the director of the Center for Applied Appreciative Inquiry and self-directed independent study.

  • Introductory four half-day virtual workshops in which students will learn how to apply Ai in the public and nonprofit sectors and begin to design an Ai project of choice.
  • Monthly Ai coaching sessions with the director to assist in project identification, design, and implementation.
  • Individual development and facilitation an Ai project of choice including a written case study.
  • Concluding complement of four half-day virtual workshops featuring advanced Ai concepts and practices and interactive share lessons learned from the Ai projects.
Program Delivery

All materials required for the program will be made available through a Rutgers University document-sharing platform (RU Connect). All workshop instruction and meetings will be conducted synchronously (live) via Rutgers Blackboard Collaborate or ZOOM.

Program Schedule

Introductory four half-day virtual workshops:

  • Dec. 29, Dec. 30, Jan. 6, and Jan. 7

Concluding four half-day virtual workshops:

  • Dates to be determined in conjuction with cohort
Program Costs
  • The cost is $1,300 per participant.
  • Organizations wishing to enroll a team in the Ai Certificate program will receive one (1) free individual registration for each team cohort of five (5) individuals registered. In other words, enroll four (4) individuals at $1,300 each and get one additional registration complimentary. 
  • Rutgers University employees receive a discounted rate of $1,000.
Program Registration

Click here to register for the program.

For More Information


Hear From Students 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)