Ruth Bernstein


Dr. Ruth Bernstein is an Assistant Professor in Nonprofit Studies at the University of Washington Tacoma. She earned her Doctorate of Management degree from Case Western Reserve University. Her publication and research interests focus on (1) diversity, intercultural interactions, and inclusion within multicultural communities such as voluntary organizations, universities, and nonprofit boards and (2) nonprofit governance. Ruth is a regular presenter at ARNOVA (Association for Research in Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action) and the Academy of Management. Her publications have appeared in numerous nonprofit and management journals. For the past three yeares, Ruth has served on the leadership of the Governance Section for ARNOVA. Currently, she serves on the board of the Kitsap Community Foundation. In her free time, you can find her reading great books, or outside hiking, kayaking, and biking with family and friends.

Current Research

Current research focuses on improving intercultural and inter-ethnic learning through inclusive interactions in a variety of contexts. I am currently examining how inclusive interactions can be encouraged and their impact on cross-cultural learning. Outcomes from these studies suggests that these interactions increase nonprofit board performance and student learning.


I teach the courses for the Nonprofit Minor and MAIS Nonprofit Track. This includes undergraduate and graduate nonprofit sector introductory courses, Grant Writing, Financial Literacy, Philanthropy and Social Change, Board Governance I and II, Organizational Development, and the culminating Nonprofit Practicum. These courses are taught with a practitioner/scholar approach blending theoretical concepts and practical application. All courses involve working with, and learning, from Puget Sound nonprofit organizations. Specifically, the Board Governance series provides students with an opportunity to be matched with a nonprofit organization and serve as an apprentice board member. For additional information, please see the Board Governance home page: In the Grant Writing class, students work closely with local nonprofit organizations to write grants. Philanthropy and Social Change provides students with additional opportunities to research, assess, and ultimately make grants to Tacoma area nonprofits.


Association fro Research in Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action
Academy of Management

Academic Service

MAIS Steering Commitee
Coordinator of Nonprofit Studies Minor
Co-coordinator of Museum Studies Minor

Publication Date Bibliographic Citation

Buse, K., Bernstein, R.S., & Bilimoria, D. (2016). Exploring the Influence of Nonprofit Board Diversity (Racial/Ethnic, Age, and Gender), Diversity Practices, and Inclusion Behaviors on Board Performance. Journal of Business Ethics, 133(1), 179-191.


Bernstein, R.S., Buse, K., & Bilmoria, D. (2016). Revisiting Agency and Stewardship Theories: Perspectives from Nonprofit Board Chairs and CEOs. Nonprofit and Management Leadership. 26(4), 489-498.


Bernstein, R.S. & Salipante, P. (2015). Toward Achieving the Benefits of Diversity: Connecting Group Practices to Individual's Intercultural Behavioral Comfort. Equality, Diversity & Inclusion: An International Journal, 34(5), 376-394.