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How to Apply

All inquiries, nominations, and applications will be treated in a confidential manner. Please apply on-line at AND submit a letter of interest describing your qualifications for this position and a resume (please note, letter must be included as the first page(s) of your resume)  no later than November 15, 2018 to:

Director of Development and Alumni Relations Search

Dean Michael J. Solomon

Applicants who do not submit all requested materials will not be considered.

Job Summary

The Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies is an academic community that offers more than 8,500 Rackham students graduate education through doctoral, master's, and certificate degree programs that span the tremendous intellectual breadth and diversity of the University of Michigan.

The Rackham Graduate School partners with the Schools and Colleges of the University of Michigan to advance excellence in graduate education, to support a vibrant and diverse student community, and to impact the public good through the discoveries of its students and degree recipients.

Our vision is that all of the Graduate School’s partners – faculty, students, alumni, staff, and administrators alike – view themselves as members of the Rackham community, and collaborate with Rackham in transforming graduate education on campus and globally to promote excellence, diversity, innovation, and a student-centered academic experience.

To that end, Rackham offers campus-wide programs to help graduate students realize an expanded range of career paths, to promote student sense of belonging in their programs, to recruit graduate students who contribute to program diversity and excellence, and to offer graduate programs the data and collaborations that they require to sustain and advance academic excellence.

The Rackham Graduate School is seeking a Director of Development and Alumni Relations to work directly with the Dean as an essential member of the leadership team and, building on the success of the Victors for Michigan Campaign, to set the strategic direction for all fundraising and donor engagement. The position requires broad and comprehensive experience, both of high-level strategic planning and management of practical day-to-day operations, and a strong commitment to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Director will be responsible for helping to shape and translate Rackham’s vision, strategy, and commitment to graduate education into a clear and compelling fundraising strategy, with achievable goals and performance objectives.

The selected candidate will collaborate with internal and external constituents of the Graduate School to raise funds that support the academic and professional success of 8,500 highly qualified and diverse graduate students. The Director of Development and Alumni Relations will lead a high-performing team in efforts to align the Rackham Graduate School’s funding priorities with the interests of potential donors in order to persuasively articulate programmatic needs to prospects while developing strong professional partnerships with faculty, development staff, and graduate students across the University. The Director of Development and Alumni Relations will work in a highly collaborative environment with colleagues in Rackham, the Office of University Development, and other units across campus.

Frequent domestic and some international travel is required as is occasional evening and weekend work.

Rackham is committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce and encourages all employees to fully incorporate their diverse backgrounds, skills, and life experiences into their work and towards the fulfillment of the School’s mission.

Salary will be commensurate with the qualifications and experience of the selected candidate.



Job responsibilities include but are not limited to:

Leadership and Management

Lead, inspire, and coordinate the efforts of the Rackham Development and Alumni Relations (RDAR) team. Provide coaching, mentoring, and professional development opportunities that increase capabilities and create an environment of engagement. Foster an environment of collaboration, high performance, and work-life balance among members of the RDAR team. Advance collective efforts to build a diverse, equitable, and fully inclusive Rackham community through leadership, hiring, professional development and event participation.

Establish, with the Dean, an operating plan with annual goals, objectives, and strategies for fundraising and alumni relations programs in support of the Rackham’s priorities. Manage the Dean’s development activities:  travel, events, contact with donors and prospects for cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship. Draft donor correspondence on the Dean’s behalf.

Support the larger Rackham Graduate School’s mission and goals, strategic plan, and DEI plan by attending meeting and retreats and participating as an active member of various School and UM-wide leadership committees and working groups. Report on development activities regularly to the dean and as needed to the Rackham Leadership Team and volunteer committees. Work closely with the Dean and the Assistant to the Dean to plan and execute the annual meeting of the Rackham Board of Governors.

Establish and maintain excellent communication with University leadership, students, and alumni to create a well-rounded understanding of Rackham’s programs and resources that can be leveraged for donor development, donor engagement, and major and planned giving.

Manage human resource activities such as: interviewing, selecting, and training of new staff; planning and directing of staff projects; and handling complaints or taking disciplinary action when necessary. Work with staff to set and evaluate individual goals, and develop and sustain necessary training.

Plan, develop, administer, and monitor the annual budget for the operations of the RDAR office.

Fundraising and Stewardship

Maintain a portfolio of approximately 50-100 major and planned giving prospects at an engagement level of 90% and spend approximately 30-50% of time on direct development efforts. Maintain accurate records of development activity on DART (Donor and Alumni Relations Tool).

Work with the RDAR team to identify, assess, analyze, and design appropriate strategies for approaching prospects and aligning their philanthropic interests with Rackham’s funding needs. This includes short- and long-term planning of solicitations and the analysis of prospects with respect to size of ask, areas of interest, timing of solicitations, and identification of compelling needs within Rackham.

Work with Office of University Development (OUD) teams (regional major and planned gift officers, the Business Engagement Center, and Foundation Relations) to identify and develop strategies for prospects who have demonstrated an interest in supporting graduate education. Represent and advocate for Rackham in fundraising strategy sessions for Presidential Initiatives.

Collaboration and Service

Collaborate with Rackham leadership to create a compelling vision of Rackham’s programs and resources that can be leveraged for prospect development, donor stewardship, and alumni engagement.

Through collegial consultation and cooperation, demonstrate and be a model of collaboration in the development community while representing Rackham values and the unique role of Rackham at U-M. Develop and maintain strong relationships with colleagues throughout U-M, especially the teams at OUD and in the development offices of the schools, colleges, and units, to increase understanding of Rackham’s mission, value, and impact, and to serve donors with multiple interests across the broad spectrum of graduate education at U-M. Work with other development personnel in identifying referral opportunities and supporting the overall university goals.

Be an active member of the University Development Community with representation at U-M Chief Development Officers (CDO), small-unit CDO group and other committees. Publicly represent Rackham and U-M at designated functions articulating the school’s vision, mission, activities and fundraising priorities to internal and external constituents as required.


Work with the RDAR team and OUD Data Analytics to analyze Rackham’s fundraising results in the Victors for Michigan Campaign, and use that analysis to inform fundraising plans for the inter-campaign period as well as the early stages of the next major campaign.

Plan and implement effective cultivation and stewardship activities for Rackham donors and prospects in the inter-campaign period.

Work with the Dean to align Rackham’s strategic priorities over the next five years with the planning process for the next campaign. Work with Rackham leadership to plan a structure for the use of volunteers in Rackham activities for the next five years. Responsible for providing leadership in recruiting and managing volunteer activities for Rackham including designing meeting content, preparing materials, and directing volunteer assignments.


Required Qualifications*

  • Bachelor’s degree.
  • 8 years of progressively responsible development experience and demonstrated understanding of the full spectrum of development and alumni relations work.
  • Significant experience and demonstrated success in development and fundraising activities in the area of major gifts, with proven success in gift closure at the six and seven-figure level.
  • Demonstrated managerial leadership in recruiting, supervising, and developing a high functioning and collaborative work team. 
  • Demonstrated ability to formulate strategic plans, implement programs, and evaluate the success of these initiatives.
  • Demonstrated ability to collaborate and develop consensus across institutional boundaries in pursuit of common development goals.
  • Demonstrated understanding of strategic communications and their use in advancing institutional goals.
  • Proven success in building productive, long-term relationships with senior administrators, volunteers, and donors.
  • Proven success in working closely with senior leaders and providing the support necessary to ensure their success in development activities.
  • Excellent communication, presentation, organizational, and interpersonal skills with large groups as well as individuals.  Ability to maintain a high level of poise and professionalism in all circumstances.
  • Demonstrated ability to exercise creativity, flexibility, and ability to deal with ambiguity and uncertainty in the workplace.
  • Demonstrated ability to exercise a high degree of judgement and diplomacy, and an impeccable commitment to confidentiality is required, as well as the highest integrity and ethics.
  • Understands and values diversity and the importance of inclusion as demonstrated through a commitment to apply and incorporate the differences, complexities, and opportunities that diversity brings to an organization.
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically in a complex academic environment.
  • Demonstrated interest in and understanding of the role of graduate education in the academy and society.
  • An ability and willingness to learn the University’s and Rackham’s history, mission, demographics, faculty, current programs, departments, etc. as well as the University culture to be able to persuasively articulate how the Rackham Graduate School distinguishes itself.
  • Must be able to travel domestically and internationally as needed.

Desired Qualifications*

  • Master’s, doctoral, or other advanced degree is highly desirable.
  • Prior experience in higher education fundraising, especially for graduate or professional schools.
  • Direct experience planning and managing major fundraising efforts within a large, complex organization.
  • Knowledge of the University of Michigan organization, policies, procedures, and information systems.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

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