Research & Biography

Jennifer Mosley is an Associate Professor at the School of Social Service Administration. Her fields of special interest include the political involvement of nonprofit organizations, strategy and impact of nonprofit advocacy and lobbying, government-nonprofit relations, human service organizations, civic engagement in underrepresented communities, and social justice philanthropy. Her research focuses on the role of nonprofit organizations as political actors, specifically the role nonprofits and other voluntary associations play in advocating for improved human services and underrepresented populations. At SSA, she teaches courses on policy formulation and implementation, advocacy & social change, and organizational theory.

Professor Mosley is particularly interested in how nonprofits use involvement in policy advocacy to more effectively support the communities or populations they serve, as well as to strategically gain access to greater resources and legitimacy. Her previous work includes two studies that investigated how environmental and organizational pressures work together to encourage or constrain different types of advocacy involvement among human service nonprofits. This includes the extent to which they become involved and the specific tactics they choose. Another project explored the political activity of nonprofit organizations by investigating the role philanthropic foundations played in both shaping and responding to the 1996 welfare reform legislation.

She is currently extending her research on nonprofit advocacy in a number of areas. Current research projects include a study investigating how collaboration among homeless service providers affects advocacy involvement and outcomes, an investigation into the various roles service providers, advocacy organizations, and government agencies played in the passage and implementation of new foster care legislation in California, and a set of studies that explore how organizations on the Southside of Chicago attempt to represent the community they serve and how those actions are perceived by community members. Overall, her research agenda is driven by the goal of understanding better how nonprofit organizations attempt to influence the policy environment they are working in, while simultaneously representing the communities they serve to government.

Professor Mosley received her B.A. in psychology from Reed College and her M.S.W. and Ph.D. in social welfare from the University of California, Los Angeles. While at UCLA, she was also a fieldwork supervisor and a senior research associate at the Center for Civil Society. Her practice experience is in the areas of child welfare, community-based advocacy, and social justice philanthropy.