Patricia Snell Herzog, Ph.D., has been selected as the first scholar to hold the Melvin Simon Chair in Philanthropy at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
Discover how she became interested in philanthropy, and what she hopes to study and teach here at the school.
Educational experience: B.A. Sociology & Psychology, University of Arizona; M.S.W. in Community Practice, Latino Certificate, University of Denver; M.A. Sociology, University of Notre Dame; Ph.D. Sociology, University of Notre Dame; Postdoctoral Fellowship in Sociology and Urban Studies, Rice University
Previous experience: Assistant Director, Center for Study of Religion & Society, University of Notre Dame; Associate and Assistant Professor, University of Arkansas
Research interests/areas of study: Social scientific investigations of charitable giving, youth and emerging adults, and religiosity
Why research? “I was a sociology and psychology undergraduate major. When I graduated, I continued on to earn a master’s degree in social work at the University of Denver, which had a track in social work that studied community practice and how social work could be an agent of community change.
“While working on that degree, I caught the ‘research bug’ because I was driven by questions of what are we doing, why are we doing it, what impact does it have, how do we know it’s working and what are the root or broader structural causes that impact the problem. I realized that research was the avenue that people I admired were taking to tackle those questions.
“After completing that degree, I thought I would work for a few years in the nonprofit sector, but then a position that blended academia and nonprofit work opened up at the Center for the Study of Religion and Society, within the sociology department at the University of Notre Dame.
“I decided that would be a perfect way to engage my community practice skills while also pursuing my research interests. It also afforded the opportunity to work hands-on with Dr. Christian Smith, who became my mentor in the doctoral program and supervisor in the research center. We then launched a project to study generosity, which merged my interests in motives for giving to nonprofit and religious causes with conducting research.”
Introduction to the study of philanthropy: During this time, Herzog became more interested in charitable giving and how nonprofits receive funding. With Dr. Smith and Dr. Michael Emerson, she co-authored a book titled Passing the Plate.
“We questioned why American Christians don’t give even more money than they already do. We also tackled the gap between actual giving and desired giving: if individuals did give the proverbial 10 percent tithe, then a much larger amount of money would be available for nonprofits. Studying this gap between ideal and actual selves sparked my interest in understanding the social mechanisms that support or inhibit people giving according to their generous inclinations.
“The desire to understand people’s motivations to give is how I became further interested in philanthropy.”
Continued work: Herzog continued on to post-doctoral work in the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University in Houston, where she continued to study religious giving in organizations, as well as other forms of voluntary participation in the Houston community.
Then, she continued on to an assistant, and then associate, professorship at the University of Arkansas in its sociology department and also co-directed the Center for Social Research.
Why Lilly Family School of Philanthropy? “Through my study of philanthropy, I’ve built connections at the school and have visited a number of times. I’ve become enamored with having colleagues who are interested in the study of philanthropy, while also representing a diversity of intellectual disciplinary approaches.
“I’m also excited to share my sociological perspective and emphasis on organizational analysis with students and fellow faculty members.”
Current class: Philanthropy and the Social Sciences (undergraduate course)
Goals for research/classes here: “I’m looking forward to merging the two strains of my research by combining the giving and philanthropy side of my work with the youth and emerging adulthood side of my work. I’m interested in exploring the topic of youth philanthropy, and how young people learn to give.
“I’ve done research on intergenerational transmission of learning to give from parents to children, and I’m also interested in thinking about how mentors outside the family encourage youth charitable giving.”
Benefit of a philanthropic studies degree: “I’ve had the opportunity to meet and interact with some of the alumni. They are an impressive group, and they’re diverse in terms of where they work and what kind of work they do.
“There’s also a leadership quality in the way students and alumni from the school carry themselves that I admire and which really attracted me to the school. This is one of the distinctive qualities about the school that I am excited to be a part of, including learning how and in what ways those leadership skills are fostered.”
Future interest in the study of philanthropy: “I see complexity in terms of sorting out the questions of what philanthropy is and is not, when it’s considered good versus bad, and when public attention turns to supporting it versus resisting it or causing social pressure against certain kinds of philanthropic acts, and how that gets socially constructed over time.
“I think these questions garner more attention now primarily because of how technology, such as social media, can result in more rapid spread of information, which has implications for how the public views philanthropy.
“This growing attention solidifies why a school is necessary, and why a group of academics committed to studying philanthropy through research is so important.”
Free time: “I’ve enjoyed returning to my home state of Indiana, while also acclimating to living in the nice urban context of Indianapolis.
“I love spending time with my kids, making them laugh, and supporting their interests and hobbies. I’m also looking forward to hiking in the parks around Indianapolis and enjoying the vibrant arts and culture scene here.
“Indianapolis has a thriving philanthropic sector as well. I’m also looking forward to becoming more involved with these local organizations. It’s an overlap with my job, but I think of it as ‘fun’ outside of work too.”
You can learn more about one of Herzog’s research projects, which was funded by a grant received from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.