Kevin Kearns

3917 Posvar Hall
Curriculum vitae


  • PhD, Public Management and Policy, University of Pittsburgh, 1983
  • MPA, Public Administration, University of Pittsburgh, 1980
  • BS, Urban Affairs, University of Dayton, 1977


Kevin Kearns is Professor of Public and Nonprofit Management in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), University of Pittsburgh.  He is also Director of the Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership and the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Forum, two programs that promote ethical leadership in public and nonprofit institutions.  

Kearns has published books and articles in leading research journals on topics of interest to government and nonprofit leaders including strategic management, nonprofit governance, revenue strategies, administrative ethics and accountability, and general management.  His third book, Private Sector Strategies for Public Sector Success, was honored with the Terry McAdam Best Book Award by the Alliance for Nonprofit Management.  In 2007 Dr. Kearns held a Fulbright Fellowship to teach nonprofit management in the Czech Republic. He has lectured on public and nonprofit management in Taiwan, Indonesia, Macedonia and Brazil.

Dr. Kearns has won awards for outstanding teaching, including the 2005 Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Teaching at the University of Pittsburgh.  On six occasions, most recently in 2016, the students in GSPIA recognized him with the Donald Goldstein Teacher of the Year Award.  In 2015 Kearns received the Martin Luther King Leadership Award from the Coro Center for Civic Leadership in Pittsburgh. He also received the 2015 Wangari Maathai Humanitarian Award from Workforce Development Global Alliance and the 2015 Jeff Mora Faculty Award from GSPIA.

While on leave from the University of Pittsburgh (2000-2002), he served as President of The Forbes Funds, a supporting organization of the Pittsburgh Foundation devoted to capacity-building in nonprofit organizations.  Dr. Kearns has served on the boards of directors of many nonprofit organizations.  

He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Dayton and received his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. He is married with two young adult children. In his free time he enjoys long-distance cycling and sailing.

Teaching and Research Areas

Strategic management, nonprofit management, public administration.

Select Publications and Funded Research 

Under Review 

  • Kevin Kearns and Bok Gyo Jeong, “Leadership Skills as Construed by Nonprofit CEOs: Assessing Salamon’s Impulse Theory as an Organizing Framework”
  • Kevin Kearns, “Succession Planning in Nonprofit Organizations.”
  • Kevin Kearns,“From Civic Engagement to Civic Leadership: The Story of the Leadership Portfolio at the University of Pittsburgh."
  • Kevin Kearns, “From Micro-management to Head in the Clouds: Diagnosing Your Board’s Engagement.”


  • Kevin Kearns (2015) "The Property Tax Exemption in Pennsylvania: The Saga Continues". Nonprofit Policy Forum Vol. 6, No. 1, 111-120.
  • Bok Gyo Jeong and Kevin Kearns (2015) "Accountability in Korean NPOs: Perceptions and Strategies of NPO Leaders." Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations. Vol. 26 (5), pp 1975-2001.
  • Kevin P. Kearns, Jonathan Livingston, Shelley Scherer, and Lydia McShane (2015)."Nonprofit Leadership Skills as Construed by Chief Executive Officers," Leadership and Organization Development, vol. 36, no. 6, (2015), 712-727
  • Kevin P. Kearns (2014). "The Nonprofit Clinic at the University of Pittsburgh: 
    Preparing Students for Transition to Professional Settings." Teaching Public Administration, Vol. 32, No. 1, 21-38.

Consultancies, Public Service, and Awards/Honors

  • Fulbright-Masaryk Award for Nonprofit Management, Prague, Czech Republic, 2007
  • Human Services Center Corporation, Board of Directors, 2007-Present


Nonprofit Clinic
Strategic Management
Nonprofit Management

Other Faculty and Academic Administration Positions

  • Director, Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh


Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
3601 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260