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How to Apply

Inquiries, nominations and applications are invited. For fullest consideration, applicant materials should be received by August 31, 2018. Candidates should provide a resume or curriculum vitae and a letter of application that addresses the candidate’s experience and qualifications relative to the responsibilities and requirements described in this leadership profile. Candidate confidentiality will be respected to the highest degree allowable under the laws of the State of Michigan. Inquiries and application materials should be sent via email to the University’s consultants, Dennis M. Barden and Suzanne M. Teer of Witt/Kieffer, at MichiganVPD@wittkieffer.com. Questions also may be directed to the consultants through the office of Laurie Adams at 630-575-6152.

Job Summary

The University of Michigan seeks a vice president for development to succeed the retiring incumbent.  

The University of Michigan has one of the most productive fundraising operations in U.S. higher education. By December 31, 2018, it will have completed the most successful comprehensive campaign in its 200-year history having already raised more than its $4-billion goal. The University’s new vice president will assume the office at an advantageous time — at the conclusion of a successful campaign; on the cusp of planning its next campaign with new goals and priorities established by University President Mark Schlissel and University Provost Martin Philbert; and in a period of particular strength in terms of both staff and systems. The vice president for development will have the opportunity to shape and guide the future of philanthropy at Michigan. The position is an executive officer of the institution and is a key member of the University’s executive leadership team.

To succeed in the role, the vice president will have served or is currently a senior and successful leader of advancement programs and their people. Superior strategic ability at the institutional, departmental and individual prospect levels is of the utmost importance. The successful candidate will demonstrate a robust track record as a major/principal gift fundraiser and manager of fundraisers and will have played a leadership role in one or more comprehensive campaigns of considerable size and ambition. 

Substantial leadership and management acumen is required, and thus the ideal candidate will have successfully led or had a major leadership role in development or advancement programs for at least 10 years, with a significant proportion of that experience in the service of one or more institutions of significant complexity and accomplishment. As would be expected, superior communication and relationship-building skills are required, as is a bachelor’s degree, with an advanced degree preferred. A track record for building strong, actionable relationships across the entire academic and co-curricular spectrum of one or more institutions will be a distinct advantage, as will a facility with data and an approach that uses data to drive strategy.

Recruitment will continue until the position is filled. Information about how to nominate someone or to apply for this opportunity may be found near the end of this document in the section entitled “Procedure for Candidacy.”

The University of Michigan: An Overview

The University of Michigan is one of the great public research universities in the nation and the world. Since the nineteenth century, it has served as a national model of a complex, diverse and comprehensive public institution of higher learning that supports excellence in research; provides outstanding undergraduate, graduate and professional education; and demonstrates commitment to public service and engagement. The University of Michigan was ranked as the top U.S. public university in the QS World University Rankings for 2018-19 and was ranked 20th among all institutions worldwide.

The University was chartered in 1817 by the Michigan territorial legislature and initially was located in Detroit. In 1837, after Michigan had been admitted to the Union, the State of Michigan renewed the charter and relocated the University to Ann Arbor, where classes were first held in 1841. Today, the main campus is located in Ann Arbor, 35 miles west of Detroit, with regional campuses located in the cities of Dearborn and Flint. In 2017, the University held a year-long celebration of its bicentennial marked with special curricular offerings, major academic colloquia and commemorative arts performances and festivals.

Since 2014, the University has been led by President Mark S. Schlissel. Dr. Schlissel, a physician scientist, is also professor of Microbiology and Immunology and professor of Internal Medicine in the Medical School and Professor of Cell and Development Biology in UM’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts. In his first four years at Michigan his major focus has been advancing academic excellence at UM through large scale multi-disciplinary efforts that leverage the academic breadth of the campus; advancing diversity, equity and inclusion; increasing access and affordability to a Michigan education; and promoting public engagement and service. Prior to becoming Michigan’s 14th president, Dr. Schlissel was provost at Brown University and professor of Biochemistry and dean for the biological sciences at University of California-Berkeley. 

Michigan’s position of excellence in higher education rests on the outstanding scholarly and creative contributions of its faculty and on the intellectual quality, vitality and passion of its students — undergraduate, graduate and professional. Its 19 schools and colleges, as well as its centers, institutes and libraries, are nationally and internationally recognized. 

The University sustains top programs in the arts and humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and in all of the major professional schools. It is the home of one of the largest academic medical centers in the world. The University is also recognized for its outstanding interdisciplinary institutes and centers, such as the Institute for Social Research, the Life Sciences Institute and the Institute for Health Policy and Innovation. Overall, there are approximately 3,172 tenured and tenure-track faculty on the Ann Arbor campus, and an additional 4,160 individuals in instructional and research faculty roles such as clinical instructional faculty, research faculty, lecturers and supplemental instructional staff. 

The Ann Arbor campus currently enrolls approximately 30,000 undergraduates and 16,000 graduate and professional students. Its undergraduate students come from Michigan as well as from every state in the Union and from more than a hundred countries. 

Today, the University has close to 600,000 living alumni broadly dispersed in every state and territory of the United States and countries around the globe. Not only can you find Michigan alumni in every field of work; they also occupy top leadership roles throughout business, education, arts and entertainment, public service and the non-profit sector. They are fiercely loyal to their alma mater, generously contributing their time and resources to support the University’s mission and goals. 

The campus covers about 3,200 acres in and near Ann Arbor. Other holdings include about 18,000 additional acres in regional campuses, field stations and other properties for research and teaching. In addition to classrooms, laboratories and specialized research facilities, the University community makes use of a vast array of resources, including libraries, concert halls, art museums and galleries, an arboretum, botanical gardens and athletic and recreational facilities. The University calendar offers a prodigious diversity of events and activities. Many thousands of conferences, symposia, speeches, workshops, concerts, performances, recitals, films, readings and athletic events take place each year. In addition, scores of clubs and organizations provide opportunities for faculty, staff and students to take part in the University community.

The revenues and expenditures of the University are maintained in accordance with the principles of fund accounting. The total operating budget for the Ann Arbor campus is approximately $8.9 billion for fiscal year 2019, including about $4.8 billion for Michigan Medicine. For FY 2019, the budget for the academic operations of the campus totaled approximately $3.7 billion, of which about $2.2 billion is in the General Fund. General Fund revenues for FY2019 include: $321 million appropriation from the State of Michigan, $1.6 billion in tuition and fees and $253 million in indirect cost recoveries. Other FY19 sources of revenue for the academic enterprise include philanthropy, both gifts and endowment distribution, and other investment income which together total $448 million; and sponsored research, projected to exceed $1.2 billion in grant revenue, placing U-M among the top institutions in the nation in terms of competitively awarded funds.

As a public university, Michigan is dedicated to service in the larger world. Faculty research addresses a large range of critical issues — health care, robotics, the environment, social interventions, education reform and improvement, poverty solutions, human mobility and many others. By extending fundamental understandings and advancing technological innovations, University scientists and engineers contribute to remarkable advances that are transforming life and contributing to building the economy of the state, region and nation. University scholars in the humanities and the arts advance societal understanding around the most pressing and challenging problems facing the world today. Students take part in research alongside faculty both on campus and in community-based service and learning projects. The University collaborates with other universities, colleges and K-12 schools, as well as provides research and other services for a variety of state and private agencies. 

The University of Michigan is a founding member of the Association of American Universities (AAU).

Governance and Reporting Relationships

The University is governed by the Regents of the University, consisting of eight members elected at large in the biennial state elections and the president of the University, who serves as an ex officio member. The Regents serve without compensation for overlapping terms of eight years. According to the Michigan Constitution of 1963, the Regents are responsible for “general supervision” of the institution and “the control and direction of all expenditures from the institution’s funds.” The Regents meet periodically in formal public sessions as well as in informal sessions. The vice president for development attends all formal public sessions of the Regents and participates in some of the informal sessions. They will work closely with the Regents throughout the year on a broad range of issues within the scope of their responsibilities.

U-M’s Office of University Development

The Office of University Development maximizes private support for the University of Michigan focused on its key strategic priorities by collaborating with and providing coordination, analytics and training to the development programs of our schools, colleges and units. The office provides fundraising leadership by cultivating and maintaining relationships with colleagues, alumni, friends, foundations and corporations. Above all, they are dedicated to fortifying Michigan’s place as one of the finest public research universities in the world.

About 550 people work in development at the University of Michigan, with about 190 in the Office of University Development and the remainder working in the University's 19 schools and colleges and 15 other major units. The Medical Center fundraising program of 110 also jointly reports to the vice president for development as does the staff of the Business Engagement Center. Development staff work at U-M's main campus in Ann Arbor, as well as at the U-M campuses in Flint and Dearborn. Development offices vary in size and structure, depending on the needs of the school, college or unit. Typically, directors of development report to their dean or center director but receive support and mentorship from the vice president. Unit development teams may include staff in major gifts, annual giving, communications, stewardship and alumni relations. 

U-M’s current large-scale campaign, Victors for Michigan, kicked off in 2013 with a $4-billion goal — the most ambitious of any public university at the time. That goal was exceeded in April of 2017, with 20 months still remaining in the campaign. This past fiscal year, more than 130,000 generous donors gave a record-breaking $467 million in cash gifts and pledge payments with significant increases over the last year in individual, foundation and estate gifts. The University is likely to end the campaign in December having raised in excess of $5 billion.

The Position

The vice president for development serves in a highly visible and significant role as the senior administrative officer with overall leadership responsibility for fundraising and development success at the University of Michigan. As Michigan’s lead fundraiser, this individual manages all development programs and operations within central development and coordinates all fundraising efforts across the academic and administrative units of the campus. The vice president for development serves as an executive officer of the University and as a member of the University’s executive team.

The vice president works closely with the president and collaboratively with the academic and administrative leadership, as well as donor volunteer leadership, to increase philanthropic support for the University. As part of the executive leadership team, the vice president works closely with the provost, other senior officers and deans in defining University priorities and appropriate courses of action to achieve them. To assist in this process, the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs appoints and convenes a subcommittee of deans to meet with the vice president to discuss the University’s development agenda.

The effective engagement of Michigan alumni is also crucial to the success of the University’s development operation. The Alumni Association of the University of Michigan, a separate 501(c)(3), works in partnership with the Office of University Development and the alumni relations staff of U-M’s schools, colleges and campuses to support the University’s development objectives. Reflective of this close partnership, the vice president for development represents the University as an ex officio member of the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors.

Reporting Relationship

The vice president for development reports directly to President Mark S. Schlissel. The vice president works closely with the president and his executive team, deans, faculty, staff, students and the Board of Regents to strengthen a collaborative University-wide development effort. 

The vice president currently oversees a staff of approximately 190 and has eight direct reports: associate vice president for development; associate vice president for University of Michigan health system development; senior executive director of marketing and communications; executive director of the Business Engagement Center and corporate giving; assistant vice president for campaign, strategic initiatives and planned giving; assistant vice president for development services and strategic solutions; assistant vice president for leadership giving; and an assistant vice president for leadership gifts, international giving and engagement, stewardship and presidential development activities. Additionally, two positions currently have a dotted line to this vice president. They are the special development assistant to the vice president and the executive associate director of athletic development.

Responsibilities*

•    Manage all of the fundraising programs in the central development operation leading to successful establishment and achievement of annual and long-term priority fundraising goals

•    Maintain a portfolio of individual, corporate and foundation leadership donors, involving cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of influential and generous supporters of the University

•    Coordinate fundraising activities among the highly decentralized development operations in the schools, colleges and units and their overlapping relationship with the central development operation and leads and manage the University’s prospect management system

•    Play a leadership, strategic planning and implementation role in all University-wide campaigns

•    Manage the development operational services that support successful fundraising efforts, i.e. communications, events, stewardship, gift administration, alumni records and information technology

•    Provide leadership for the central development team including ensuring the successful recruitment, development and management of a diverse group of development staff and professionals

•    Oversee and manage the budget for the central development function

•    Provide counsel and support to the president, maximize his efforts in the development of private support and provide perspective on the impact of University decisions on the philanthropic agenda and relationships with external constituents while contributing broadly as a member of his executive leadership team

Opportunities and Expectations for Leadership

The president, in consultation with members of the search committee, the academic leadership of the University and key development staff in central development and the academic units, has identified key priorities to be addressed by the new vice president for development in the first two to three years in office. They are presented here in no particular order of priority.

Build on success and set a course for the future

The University’s development program has a long and valuable tradition of fundraising, especially for a public university. Because of this fundraising, the University of Michigan has intentionally developed a culture of philanthropy where donors are valued, expect to be part of strategic campaigns and often step forward with personal philanthropic support. Michigan’s robust nationwide volunteer network and committee structure, along with the University’s donors, have helped make it the number one public university in individual giving. Fundraising has been built on decades of comprehensive University-wide campaigns — the $55-million Campaign in the 1960s which raised $73 million, the Campaign for Michigan in the 1980s which raised $180 million, the Billion Dollar Campaign for Michigan in the 1990s which raised $1.4 billion, the Michigan Difference Campaign from 2000 through 2008 which raised $3.2 billion, and the current Victors for Michigan Campaign from 2011 through 2018 which already has raised more than its $4-billion goal. 

Michigan’s new vice president will assume the office at an opportune time. The University will have just completed the most successful campaign in its history and the capacity of the development operation for productivity will be at its peak. With these assets firmly in hand, the vice president will begin immediately to consider what comes next for the University’s fundraising operation. Working across University, unit and development leadership, the vice president will chart a course for the institution to follow for the next several years, including the anticipation of its next campaign effort.

Preserve and enhance collaboration across the University

Michigan is a highly decentralized organization. Its academic and co-curricular units enjoy considerable latitude to manage their enterprises, including in the conduct of their fundraising operations. At the same time, the University enjoys an enviable record for raising gifts that impact across multiple units, and its efforts to coordinate approaches to prospects among units are likewise extremely successful. As the University emerges from the construct of the campaign and its attendant priorities, it is time to review both the formal structures and the informal norms that govern and guide these complex relationships with an eye toward ensuring a continued and even improved level of collaboration and organization and continuing focus of our philanthropic capacity on priority areas, particularly those that span multiple units on the campus.

Innovate and make even greater use of data and technology

Michigan’s development operation has been prominent and successful for a very long time. One result of this long-term success is excellent data, both longitudinal and latitudinal. As the tools and techniques for analyzing and utilizing such data continue to become more robust, the University and its development operation must realize increasingly creative and impactful ways to bring that analysis into its strategies and operations. Likewise, technology brings opportunities to engage with constituents in new and effective ways and to streamline and improve operations. Finally, new commercial sources of data exist that may enhance our ability to identify and cultivate an even larger donor base. The new vice president will be a champion for data-driven decision making and strategy setting, as well as the opportunities afforded by technology, and will ensure that the infrastructure and requisite talent are in place to support this direction.

Michigan’s success in fundraising provides the University with a platform on which to innovate. Given the strength of the University’s relationships with its volunteers, donors and prospects and the productivity of virtually every aspect of the development operation, the University of Michigan is in a position to test new and creative ways to engage with prospects and to maximize giving. The new vice president is encouraged to take a fresh view of the University’s approach and to leverage its fertile ground to create an environment characterized by innovation.

Required Qualifications*

The president, in consultation with members of the search committee, the academic leadership of the University and key development staff in central development and the academic units, has identified key priorities to be addressed by the new vice president for development in the first two to three years in office. They are presented here in no particular order of priority.

Build on success and set a course for the future

The University’s development program has a long and valuable tradition of fundraising, especially for a public university. Because of this fundraising, the University of Michigan has intentionally developed a culture of philanthropy where donors are valued, expect to be part of strategic campaigns and often step forward with personal philanthropic support. Michigan’s robust nationwide volunteer network and committee structure, along with the University’s donors, have helped make it the number one public university in individual giving. Fundraising has been built on decades of comprehensive University-wide campaigns — the $55-million Campaign in the 1960s which raised $73 million, the Campaign for Michigan in the 1980s which raised $180 million, the Billion Dollar Campaign for Michigan in the 1990s which raised $1.4 billion, the Michigan Difference Campaign from 2000 through 2008 which raised $3.2 billion, and the current Victors for Michigan Campaign from 2011 through 2018 which already has raised more than its $4-billion goal. 

Michigan’s new vice president will assume the office at an opportune time. The University will have just completed the most successful campaign in its history and the capacity of the development operation for productivity will be at its peak. With these assets firmly in hand, the vice president will begin immediately to consider what comes next for the University’s fundraising operation. Working across University, unit and development leadership, the vice president will chart a course for the institution to follow for the next several years, including the anticipation of its next campaign effort.

Preserve and enhance collaboration across the University

Michigan is a highly decentralized organization. Its academic and co-curricular units enjoy considerable latitude to manage their enterprises, including in the conduct of their fundraising operations. At the same time, the University enjoys an enviable record for raising gifts that impact across multiple units, and its efforts to coordinate approaches to prospects among units are likewise extremely successful. As the University emerges from the construct of the campaign and its attendant priorities, it is time to review both the formal structures and the informal norms that govern and guide these complex relationships with an eye toward ensuring a continued and even improved level of collaboration and organization and continuing focus of our philanthropic capacity on priority areas, particularly those that span multiple units on the campus.

Innovate and make even greater use of data and technology

Michigan’s development operation has been prominent and successful for a very long time. One result of this long-term success is excellent data, both longitudinal and latitudinal. As the tools and techniques for analyzing and utilizing such data continue to become more robust, the University and its development operation must realize increasingly creative and impactful ways to bring that analysis into its strategies and operations. Likewise, technology brings opportunities to engage with constituents in new and effective ways and to streamline and improve operations. Finally, new commercial sources of data exist that may enhance our ability to identify and cultivate an even larger donor base. The new vice president will be a champion for data-driven decision making and strategy setting, as well as the opportunities afforded by technology, and will ensure that the infrastructure and requisite talent are in place to support this direction.

Michigan’s success in fundraising provides the University with a platform on which to innovate. Given the strength of the University’s relationships with its volunteers, donors and prospects and the productivity of virtually every aspect of the development operation, the University of Michigan is in a position to test new and creative ways to engage with prospects and to maximize giving. The new vice president is encouraged to take a fresh view of the University’s approach and to leverage its fertile ground to create an environment characterized by innovation.

Qualifications and Qualities of the Ideal Candidate

The vice president for development at the University of Michigan will be a highly experienced development professional with impeccable credentials and a history of success as a principal gift fundraiser, leader and manager of people and programs and strategist. The ideal candidate will have successfully led or had a major leadership role in development or advancement programs for at least 10 years, with significant experience in service of one or more institutions of complexity and accomplishment similar to that of the University of Michigan. Experience at the leadership level in a comprehensive campaign of considerable size and ambition is essential. An extensive understanding of the nature of public research universities and the academic enterprise will be a distinct advantage, as will familiarity with academic medical philanthropy.

In addition, the successful candidate will possess many of the following: 

•    Demonstrated mastery of fundraising techniques to cultivate and solicit principal gifts of significant magnitude

•    Ability to inspire and excite donors by making a compelling case for the University of Michigan’s academic priorities, overall impact and aspirations 

•    Ability to guide and coordinate fundraising goals and initiatives between central development and the academic units, provide valued service to the academic units and set priorities and articulate future direction in a complex, highly decentralized environment

•    Highly developed communication, interpersonal and relationship-building skills, including the ability to represent the University in public, engage diverse people and audiences individually and collectively, write and speak in a compelling manner and to listen effectively

•    A sound understanding of how to leverage technological applications and data analytics to streamline operations and engage various audiences effectively

•    Demonstrated ability to effectively manage a mature, complex organization through budgeting, planning and human resources strategy

•    Demonstrated understanding of and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion

•    Ability to lead and inspire high levels of achievement and cohesion among a diverse workforce comprised of professional fundraising and support staff; demonstrated commitment to the principles of talent management, the growth and development of the team and respect for the value and interdependence of all areas within the development function

•    Ability to be creative and forward-thinking with a willingness to take calculated risks, try new approaches and learn from experience for continual improvement 

•    A bachelor’s degree, which is required, with an advanced degree preferred

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.