In that time, Deitrick successfully defended her dissertation to earn a doctorate degree in Leadership Studies with a specialization in Nonprofit/Philanthropic Studies from the School of Leadership and Education Sciences. Additionally, she added a new title to her plate — director of the Caster Family Center for Nonprofit Research.
Deitrick was a senior researcher for the center and spearheaded numerous studies, including research on the scope of local philanthropy, the economic impact of San Diego’s nonprofits and executive transition trends. She is currently completing a report on how San Diego’s nonprofits are fairing in the economic downturn as well as a national survey on nonprofit employment trends. Her latest research involved a comprehensive study of local education foundations throughout California.
“Laura embodies the best of what we refer to as a ‘pracacdemic,’” said Pat Libby, director of the University of San Diego’s Institute for Nonprofit Education and Research. “She has experience as an effective nonprofit CEO, is a talented professor and has the wide-ranging methodological expertise needed to conduct breakthrough research on the sector. She has played a major role in the development of the center and is the logical choice to run it. In fact, I couldn’t imagine anyone better suited.”
Previously, Deitrick worked for seven years in development and served as the executive director of the Coronado Schools Foundation. She also acted as an independent management consultant to a variety of local nonprofits and served on several nonprofit boards.
Deitrick said while her role is primarily the same, things are different. She said being referred to as “Dr. Deitrick” will take some getting used to, but she’s excited about the path ahead.
“The center provides me with a terrific opportunity to do the types of research and evaluation projects that are so important to the well-being of the nonprofit sector — a sector I care about deeply,” Deitrick said. ”I am also honored to be able to work with our talented SOLES faculty, doctorate students and advisory board members to further the mission of the center.”
In addition to her doctorate, Deitrick holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from San Diego State University and a master’s in Nonprofit Leadership and Management.
The Caster Family Center for Nonprofit Research was launched in 2004 with grants provided by The Westreich Foundation and the Bruce T. Halle Family Foundation. In 2007, the center received a generous naming contribution from the Caster Family.
— Denise T. Ward