Vanderbilt University Associate Dean of Development, School of Engineering in Nashville, Tennessee

Associate Dean of Development, School of Engineering (Job Number: 1801613)


The Associate Dean for Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) for Vanderbilt’s School of Engineering is part of the Department of Alumni Relations (DAR) Development Team at Vanderbilt University and is a manager responsible for leading the major gift fundraising effort and coordinates with the school-based alumni relations programs to drive greater levels of engagement and support.

The Associate Dean participates in setting fundraising goals, manages a portfolio of top prospects, oversees a budget for operations and travel, and serves as a senior representative within the schools’ leadership teams. The Associate Dean is also required to develop and maintain a strong working relationship with the Dean of the School of Engineering to facilitate partnerships around goals, priorities and outcomes.

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

Key Functions andExpected Performance

Design, implement, and coordinate the School of Engineering development programs, consistent with the overall development program at Vanderbilt University.

DAR’s university development team is responsible for seeking new resources from alumni, parents, friends, corporations and foundations to support key fundraising priorities at the School of Engineering and Vanderbilt University. The Associate Dean is expected to coordinate, plan and work directly with the Dean of the school and serve on the senior administrative team. The Associate Dean is charged with setting, tracking, and assessing progress towards School of Engineering fundraising goals in coordination with other DAR teams (e.g. Annual and Leadership Annual Giving, Corporate and Foundation Relations, the Parents and Grandparents Campaign, and Planned Giving). The Associate Dean also works with the Dean to effectively engage boards, committees, or councils whose membership includes alumni or other supporters and whose responsibilities – in part or solely – include increasing philanthropy.

Secure major andprincipal gifts.

The Associate Dean serves as a major gift officer for the School of Engineering – driving forward the identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of approximately 85 prospects that are capable of making gifts of $250,000 or greater. Outright gifts, pledges, corporate and foundation awards, and planned gifts at this level are all part of the Associate Dean’s portfolio.

Increase theoverall fundraising success for the School of Engineering.

The Associate Dean is charged with overseeing the comprehensive fundraising program that will drive larger success in securing funds to support key priorities, which could include, but are not limited to -- endowed scholarships and chairs, academic program support, research funding, and capital projects. The Associate Dean also works closely with the Dean and the Assistant Vice Chancellor for University Development in the goal setting process each fiscal year to set targets that are both ambitious and achievable.

Serve as liaisonto other development teams, university offices, and school leadership.

To maximize the success of the School of Engineering’s effort, the Associate Dean will work in collaboration with other members of DAR staff to be successful and support university-wide objectives. Offices that contribute to the success of the School of Engineering development outcomes include: Principal Gifts, Annual and Leadership Annual Giving, Planned Giving, Research and Prospect Development, Parents and Grandparents Campaign, Corporate and Foundation Relations, Athletics Development, Campaign Communications, Alumni Relations, Special Events, and Stewardship. In many cases, DAR colleagues serve as extensions of the Schools’ development staff. Collaboration with other schools, colleges, and programs as well as developing prospect strategies for the effective utilization of the Dean, and possibly the Provost and Chancellor, around the most significant fundraising opportunities that support the academic and research mission of the School of Engineering is also part of the Associate Dean’s role. As a member of the Deans’ leadership teams, the Associate Dean will need to establish strong relationships with School of Engineering’s senior staff in admissions, finance, communication, career services, and faculty affairs. Strategic planning and advice are highly valued by the Dean, as these are skills frequently utilized to compliment the School’s efforts beyond development.

Establish oneselfas a knowledgeable staff member by:

  • Learningthe Vanderbilt mission and being knowledgeable about Vanderbilt and theassigned school/college’s responsibilities to the mission.

  • Attainingan in-depth understanding of the development programs and their goals in theassigned school and/or department.

  • Collaboratingwith DAR staff to build and maintain best practices in soliciting major gifts.

Enhancedepartmental performance standards by:

  • Maintaininga level of reliability that generates stability in the department

  • Meetingor exceeding department performance standards

  • Fosteringa spirit of cooperation

  • Understandingand effectively communicating departmental policy and procedures

  • Clearlycommunicating concerns and questions to team

  • Conveyingthoughts/ideas to the leadership team on improving departmental performance

Approach eachsituation with a professional attitude by:

  • Exercisinggood judgment in discussing issues and results with the team

  • Maintainingcomposure and a calm demeanor during challenging situations

  • Respectingthe need for confidentiality of donors and colleagues

  • Performingother duties as assigned


This position has supervisory responsibility of a Senior Director of Development, Associate Director of Development, 2 Associate Directors of Leadership Annual Giving, a Development Coordinator, and two Administrative Assistants.

This position reports administratively and functionally to the Assistant Vice Chancellor for University Development.

Education andCertifications

  • ABachelor's Degree is required.

  • Advance degree ispreferred.

Experience and Skills

The Associate Dean must be a seasoned and polished fundraising executive who understands and is able to articulate the nature and importance of a major research university, and in particular, the significant role of the School of Engineering within this larger academic community. Leading candidates should have:

  • Five years of experience, or the equivalent is necessary

  • Seven or moreyears of development experience preferred, with a background in a higher education setting

  • Willingnessand ability to personally solicit gifts of $250,000 and larger

  • Excellentorganizational skills, oral and written communications skills and the abilityto articulate the needs, interests and accomplishments of Vanderbilt Universityto a wide range of audiences

  • Interpersonalskills and judgment suitable for exercising appropriate discretion and demeanorwhen dealing with alumni, parents, friends, and employees Abilityto exercise good judgment in the handling of confidential information

  • Abilityto use current computer technology, such as Windows, Excel, Word, and

  • Vanderbilt’s donor management system

  • Aproven record of achievement in major and principal gift fund raising fromindividuals

  • Abilityto plan, articulate and implement a major gift program that will include notonly alumni, parents and friends, but also corporate, foundation and plannedgiving

  • Experiencein managing and leading volunteers and/or boards

  • Superbwritten and oral communication skills, specifically in the areas of proposaland presentation development

  • Demonstratedsuccess in working across teams and disciplines – facilitating solutions,designing new ideas, and driving forward priorities

  • Aworking understanding of engineering and research that will help drive forwardnew interdisciplinary initiatives

  • Familiaritywith Vanderbilt and/or solid understanding of a major research universityenvironment is preferred.

  • Thecapacity to perform in an intellectually rigorous and complex academicenvironment

  • Abilityto work independently, take initiative, manage multiple projectssimultaneously, meet deadlines, and adapt to ever changing priorities areessential

  • Exhibitpersonal characteristics enabling effective interaction with importantconstituencies and possess a genuine commitment to the advancement of education,research, and to the principles governing Development and Alumni Relations

  • Routineovernight travel is required

  • Someevening and weekend work, as needed


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

Primary Location: United States-Tennessee-Nashville

Organization: 42312 - Development Teams

Job: External Affairs & Communications Professionals

Vanderbilt University is committed to principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action