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Associate Vice Chancellor of Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving
Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee
Date Posted 08/20/2020
Employment Type Fulltime
Application Deadline 10/04/2020


Cornelius Vanderbilt had a vision of a place that would “contribute to strengthening the ties that should exist between all sections of our common country” when he gave $1 million to create a university in 1873. Today that vision has been realized in Vanderbilt, an internationally recognized research university in Nashville, Tennessee, with strong partnerships among its 10 schools, neighboring institutions and the community. Visionary leader and lifelong academic Daniel Diermeier joined Vanderbilt as its ninth chancellor on July 1, 2020, and his commitment to excellence shows great promise for our future.

From its inception, Vanderbilt offered undergraduate and graduate studies in the liberal arts and sciences, as well as in several professional schools. National recognition of the university’s status came in 1949 when Vanderbilt became part of the prestigious Association of American Universities. By its 90th anniversary in 1963, Vanderbilt ranked in the top 20 private universities in the United States.

Today, Vanderbilt is a world-class institution contributing knowledge and talent across the U.S. and around the globe, while engaging with the critical questions that will determine the future well-being of our society and planet. A leader in higher education access, Vanderbilt is unique among its peers in meeting the financial needs of undergraduate students through Opportunity Vanderbilt—a no-loan grant and scholarship program. The university attracts exceptional students, both nationally and internationally, and cultivates excellence in diverse fields across the institution. Vanderbilt comprises 10 schools and colleges, enrolling 6,886 undergraduates and 6,245 graduate and professional students. There are 4,783 faculty and 4,470 dedicated staff. As reflected in the 2019 Financial Report, the university has total net assets of $6.7 billion and an endowment with market value of more than $6 billion.

In the past decade, Vanderbilt has invested heavily in undergraduate and graduate education while increasing its rigor in recruitment and retention of an outstanding and diverse faculty, and in cutting-edge research. During this period:

  • The acceptance rate for undergraduate admissions declined from 25 to 9.1 percent (SAT middle 50 percent scores are 1460–1560);
  • Minority representation among first-year students rose from 22.2 to 42.1 percent;
  • Endowed chairs across the institution surged from 200 to 435.

With much excitement across campus with the arrival of a new chancellor, we expect to continue our growth and enhance our standing among our peers. Already, Vanderbilt’s upward trajectory is reflected in national rankings of higher education institutions. U.S. News & World Report ranks Vanderbilt 15th in its listing of national universities. Its professional schools similarly stand out: Peabody College of education and human development (#4); School of Nursing (#9 for master’s program, #5 for doctoral programs); School of Medicine (#18); Law School (#18); Owen Graduate School of Management (#23); and School of Engineering (#39). Many disciplines in Arts and Science are highly ranked on a national level, and the college is known for its interdisciplinary approach to teaching and research.

Faculty members are nationally and internationally esteemed for their research contributions. Forty-one Vanderbilt faculty are fellows or members of a National Academy; 12 are fellows of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences; 18 of the American Academy of Nursing; and 135 of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Three Nobel Laureates have served on the faculty. Vanderbilt is among the top 25 U.S. universities for federal funding for research and development, with expenditures of $271 million and awards of $254 million in fiscal 2020.

Vanderbilt is deeply committed to diversity and the collective strength afforded by its ten schools. Its compact geography sustains a sense of community, encouraging interaction and partnership across disciplines and schools. As “One Vanderbilt,” the university’s students, faculty, and staff are energized, enterprising, and collaborative. During the 2013-14 academic year, the faculty led a strategic planning process with Chancellor Emeritus Zeppos formally launching the Academic Strategic Plan in August 2014 to define Vanderbilt’s path for the next decade and beyond. This effort focuses on expanding Vanderbilt’s achievements as a great research and teaching institution, one steeped in creativity, collaboration, and civility. The plan emphasizes four pillars that define the heart of the institution’s mission and future strategy: trans-institutional programs, the undergraduate residential experience, education technologies, and health care innovation.

A Division I school that competes in the Southeastern Conference, Vanderbilt has celebrated five national championships including the 2019 College World Series.

Vanderbilt’s Chancellor, Board of Trust, senior leadership team, and faculty are committed to the university’s deeply-rooted culture of cooperation and mutual respect. The dedicated professionals who join the university are team-oriented individuals eager to help each other foster the university’s mission, develop excellence, and ensure equity, diversity, and inclusion.

In July 2020, Vanderbilt welcomed Daniel Diermeier as its ninth Chancellor.


Vanderbilt University’s Division of Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) is seeking a strategic, collaborative, experienced, and entrepreneurial leader to serve as the Associate Vice Chancellor (AVC) of Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving.

Reporting to DAR’s Vice Chancellor, the AVC will serve as a partner and participant on the senior leadership team. They will determine the strategic direction, key performance indicators, organizational design, and long-term tactical goals for Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving. This person will be responsible for providing a dynamic environment in which alumni, donors, parents, and friends are connected to the university and thoughtfully stewarded, creative ideas towards achieving stretch goals are encouraged, and institutional collaboration is a priority.

In support of Vanderbilt’s schools and programs, the AVC will be responsible for planning, coordinating, and directing all aspects of DAR’s alumni engagement and undergraduate annual giving programs, many of which have transitioned to virtual opportunities and activities. They will build and manage a team of about 45 colleagues and lead strategic working groups comprised of alumni and annual giving stakeholders from the professional schools. Significant to success will be understanding and embracing strategies across the entire university, schools, and programs.

The AVC will serve as a key partner with university colleagues in the Career Center, Admissions, Division of Communications, Athletics, and Student Life. This position will also serve as point person with the Alumni Association Board of Directors, keeping the board informed of the university’s priorities.


DAR supports Vanderbilt University in securing the resources, both human and financial, required to achieve its mission and goals. The division is responsible for the identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of individuals and organizations whose charitable objectives are consistent with those of Vanderbilt’s teaching and research programs.


  • Provide leadership, management oversight, and strategic guidance for Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving. These two departments are crucial to DAR and Vanderbilt’s overall success and are most effective when working together seamlessly.
  • Develop, lead, and execute a strategic plan for Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving that incorporates opportunities with DAR and university stakeholders.
  • Design virtual engagement opportunities and Commodore Classrooms for alumni, parents and supporters that offer relevant themes and feature world-class faculty and panelists.
  • Serve as a member of, and work in tandem with, DAR’s senior leadership team.
  • Work collaboratively with deans/unit leaders and associate deans in the schools and colleges to develop synchronized engagement and annual giving strategies.
  • Strengthen relationships and work collaboratively with DAR colleagues and university partners including the Career Center, Admissions, Division of Communications, Athletics, and Student Life to orchestrate alumni and parent connectivity.
  • Work diligently to understand, embrace, and develop DAR’s unique messaging to proliferate the university’s value proposition.
  • Lead, mentor, and inspire new and existing staff members through a combination of transparency, effective communication and modeling of collaborative behavior.
  • Possess strong track record of working with teams to envision, orchestrate, and execute strategic initiatives that will increase engagement and philanthropic support.
  • Encourage colleagues to exceed expectations, benchmark, and initiate advancement industry best practices.
  • Be willing to mentor and partner with highly motivated DAR advancement professionals.
  • Work cooperatively, collegially, professionally, and respectfully with DAR and university colleagues to develop and foster strong working relationships.
  • Practice and uphold departmental and institutional policies regarding confidential information.
  • Evening work and travel is required.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.


  • Oversee the front-line manager of Alumni Engagement whose portfolio includes management of the teams responsible for engagement with and programming for alumni and students.
  • Design, plan, implement, and evaluate effective alumni programming, engagement strategies, and alumni support, and communicate this plan with DAR, university-wide stakeholders, and external constituents.
  • Spearhead industry-leading initiatives to increase alumni engagement and alumni reach.
  • Provide strategic direction for increasing alumni engagement as newly defined by CASE.
  • Serve as the external and internal face of the university on behalf of alumni.
  • Function as primary liaison to the Alumni Association Board of Directors. Lead development of programs that engage alumni on a university-wide basis and further the university’s goals and objectives.


  • Oversee the front-line manager of Annual Giving whose portfolio includes management of the teams responsible for securing philanthropic support for the schools and units and programming for alumni, current students (particularly seniors), parents, and families.
  • Provide strategic direction to bolster overall annual giving participation and total dollars raised.
  • Oversee all aspects of the university’s undergraduate school/college/unit annual giving program, including all annual giving direct mail, annual giving e-philanthropy efforts, and first-time donor efforts. Coordinate and collaborate with professional school development officers on their annual giving programs.
  • Set the vision and strategy for fundraising/cultivation programs using goals/objectives and a timeline to develop short and long-term plans to increase donors and dollars raised university wide.
  • Stay ahead of trends, changes, and innovations in the areas of email marketing, tele-marketing, crowdfunding, giving day activities, digital space, and other evolving annual giving strategies.
  • Take overall responsibility for meeting annual giving metrics and long-term strategic planning for the department.


This position has executive responsibility for approximately 45 Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving staff members, including 2-3 direct reports. This position reports administratively and functionally to the Vice Chancellor of DAR.



  • A Master’s degree, or the equivalent experience, is necessary.
  • Ten years of relevant work experience in annual giving, alumni engagement or the like is necessary. Preference will be given to candidates with 10+ years of experience in higher education advancement.
  • Demonstrated success in managing effective efforts in alumni engagement and annual giving with measurable and significant increases in participation rates and annual giving goals, particularly associated with a successful comprehensive campaign is essential.
  • The maturity, judgment and respect requisite to engage with campus leadership and prominent alumni is needed.
  • Commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion is fundamental.
  • A collegial, understanding leadership style that values team members and institutional partners such as the Career Center, Admissions, Division of Communications, Athletics, Student Life, and other areas is key to success.
  • Effective use of responsibility delegation is needed.
  • Ability to use software programs such as Windows, Excel, Word, and PowerPoint is necessary, along with familiarity of an advancement donor management system and other programs specific to development.
  • The ability to build and lead teams and to work effectively and collaboratively with various groups and diverse constituencies is required.
  • Success in managing volunteers is vital.
  • Creativity and insight in identifying crucial collaborations between institutional goals and alumni/prospective donors is important.
  • Ability to learn new concepts quickly and adeptly, and to communicate them effectively to large and diverse audiences is essential.
  • Aptitude to compile and assemble key performance indicator data from multiple sources and present data in an effective and easily comprehended way is needed.
  • Ability to apply sound judgment skills in all situations is required, especially related to project and team management, donor relationship building, and handling of confidential information.
  • Meticulous attention to detail and accuracy, as well as superior organizational skills, are necessary.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills and presentation skills are important; candidate must be able to articulate the needs, interests, and accomplishments of Vanderbilt University to important constituencies.
  • Ideal candidate is a highly motivated executive with courteous interpersonal skills and an excellent customer service attitude.

Qualified candidates are encouraged to apply.

At Vanderbilt we welcome employees from a wide variety of backgrounds, traditions, and experiences. We often witness the vitality and creativity that comes from bringing different perspectives together. As individuals and professionals, we grow from the ability to recognize commonalities and different histories. We are committed to achieving the goal of a diverse and inclusive academic community of faculty, staff, and students. We seek individuals who are committed to this goal and our campus values.

Vanderbilt University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, people with disabilities, and protected veterans are encouraged to apply.

Commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Vanderbilt University is committed to achieving the goal of a diverse and inclusive academic community of faculty, staff, and students. We seek individuals who are committed to this goal and our campus values.
Vanderbilt University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and protected veterans are encouraged to apply.

Job: Senior Institutional & Chief Functional Officers

Primary Location: United States-Tennessee-Nashville
Organization: 42000 - Dev and Alumni Relations: Office of Vice Chancellor
Unposting Date: Oct 4, 2020, 11:59:00 PM
*Please mention to employers when applying for this job*
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