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Vanderbilt University Senior Director of Development, Arts and Science in Nashville, Tennessee

Senior Director of Development, Arts and Science (Job Number: 1900607)


The Senior Director of Development, Arts and Science for Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) helps lead the major gift fundraising efforts and coordinates with the school-based alumni relations programs to drive greater levels of engagement and support.

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 Functionsand Expected Performance

The Senior Director of Development participates in setting fundraising goals for the department, manages a portfolio of top prospects, assist in overseeing a budget for operations and travel, and serves as a representative within Arts and Science (A&S) leadership team.

Assist in thedesign, implementation, and coordination of A&S’s 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 A&S. The Senior Director is charged with assisting in the setting, tracking, and assessing progress towards A&S fundraising goals in coordination with other DAR teams (i.e. Annual and Leadership Annual Giving, Corporate Relations, Foundation Relations, the Parents and Grandparents Campaign, and Planned Giving). The Senior Director also works to effectively engage boards, committee, or councils whose membership includes alumni or other supporters and whose responsibilities – in part or solely – include increasing philanthropy.

Secure majorand principal gifts. The Senior Director serves as a major gift officer for A&S – driving forward the identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of approximately 75 prospects that are capable of making gifts of $100,000 or greater. Outright gifts, pledges, corporate and foundation awards, and planned gifts at this level are all part of the Senior Director’s portfolio.

Increase theoverall fundraising success for A&S. The Senior Director is charged with assisting the Associate Dean of Development in the oversight of 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. The Senior Director also works closely with the Associate Dean in the goal setting process each fiscal year to set targets that are both ambitious and achievable.

Serve asliaison to other development teams. To maximize the success of A&S’s effort, the Senior Director 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 A&S development outcomes include: Principal Gifts, Annual and Leadership Annual Giving, Planned Giving, Research and Prospect Development, Parents and Grandparents Campaign, Corporate Relations, Foundation Relations, Athletics Development, DAR Communications, Alumni Relations, Special Events, and Stewardship.

Collaboration with other schools, colleges, and programs as well as developing prospect strategies for the effective utilization of the Dean, around the most significant fundraising opportunities that support the academic and research mission of A&S.

Enhance departmental performance standards by:

  • Maintaining a level of reliability that generates stability in thedepartment

  • Meeting or exceeding department performance standards

  • Fostering a spirit of cooperation

  • Understandingand effectively communicating departmental policy and procedures

  • Clearlycommunicating concerns and questions to team

  • Conveyingthoughts/ideas to the leadership team on improving departmentalperformance

Approacheach situation with a professional attitude by:

  • Exercising good judgment in discussing issuesand results with the team

  • Maintaining composure and a calm demeanorduring challenging situations

  • Respecting the need for confidentiality ofdonors and colleagues

  • Performingother duties as assigned


This position has the supervisory responsibility for a portion of the A&S team, including 2 Leadership Annual Giving Officers, 1 Development Coordinator, and 2 DAR Assistants. This position reports administratively and functionally to the Associate Dean of Development, A&S.

Education andCertifications

The Senior Director must be a seasoned and polished fundraising professional who understands and is able to articulate the nature and importance of a major research university, and in particular, the significant role of A&S within this larger academic community. Leading candidates should have:

  • A bachelor's degree with 3 years of experience, or the equivalent,is required.

  • Willingnessand ability to personally solicit gifts of 100,000 and larger

  • Excellent organizational skills, oral andwritten communications skills and the ability to articulate the needs,interests and accomplishments of Vanderbilt University

  • Interpersonal skills and judgment suitable for exercisingappropriate discretion and demeanor when dealing with alumni, parents, friends,and employees

  • Ability to exercise good judgment in the handling of confidentialinformation

  • Ability to use current computer technology, such as Windows,Excel, Word, and Vanderbilt’s donor management system

Experienceand Skills

  • Advance degree preferred

  • Five or more years of development experience preferred, with abackground in a higher education settingpreferred

  • A proven record of achievement in major gift fund raising fromindividuals

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, specifically inthe areas of proposal and presentation development

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

  • Familiarity with Vanderbilt and/or solidunderstanding of a major research university environment is preferred.

  • The capacity to perform in anintellectually rigorous and complex academic environment

  • Ability to work independently, takeinitiative, manage multiple projects simultaneously, meet deadlines, andadapt to ever changing priorities are essential

  • Exhibit personal characteristics enabling effective interactionwith important constituencies

  • Routine overnight travel is required

  • Some evening and weekend work, as needed

  • Values the importance of equity as anorganizational operating principle and is committed to equity, diversity, andinclusion

About Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University, located in Nashville, Tennessee, is a top-15 private research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Vanderbilt is situated on a 330-acre campus near the thriving city center, serving more than 12,000 students and employing almost 7,000 faculty and staff. The university’s students, staff, and faculty frequently cite Nashville and the surrounding area as one of the many perks of being a part of the Vanderbilt community. Vanderbilt University is a place where your expertise will be valued, your knowledge expanded, and your abilities challenged. It is a place where your diversity is sought and celebrated. Vanderbilt was recently named as one of “America’s Best Large Employers” and the top employer in Tennessee and the Nashville metropolitan area in 2018 (Forbes).

About Vanderbilt Benefits

Vanderbilt University offers a competitive, flexible benefits package including health, dental, vision, life, accidental death & dismemberment, disability insurance, paid time off, and a 403(b) retirement plan with employer match. Vanderbilt offers tuition assistance to employees, spouses, and dependent children.

Commitment to Equity, Diversity andInclusion

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.

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

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