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Vice President for University Advancement

Clark University
Worcester, MA

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Job Details

Category:: Staff and Administrators
Department:: 1100 (PRES-President's office)
Locations:: Worcester, MA
Posted:: Sep 26, 2022
Closes:: Open Until Filled
Type:: Full-time - Exempt
Position ID:: 153741

About Clark University:

Founded in 1887, Clark was one of the first all-graduate institutions in the United States. Today the University is a highly-ranked, student-centered institution educating approximately 2,350 undergraduate and 1,150 graduate students to be imaginative and contributing citizens of the world and to advance the frontiers of knowledge and understanding through rigorous scholarship and creative effort. This commitment to scholarship and inquiry reflects the University's dedication to "challenge convention and change our world" and to address issues of critical importance to society. It is also reflected by Clark's many national and international distinctions, including recognition for its diversity and inclusion efforts, innovation, community engagement and impact, as a top green campus, and for having a distinguished geography and international development program. Clark has also been included in the groundbreaking Colleges that Change Lives guide since it was first published in 1996.

Clark is located in Worcester, Massachusetts, a dynamic, diverse city "on the rise." The second largest city in New England, with a population of roughly 186,000, Worcester is home to 8 institutions of higher learning including the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester State University, and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Worcester is increasingly recognized for its growing healthcare and biotechnology communities, for its thriving arts and cultural communities, and as a vibrant food hub with an abundance of new restaurants and craft breweries. In addition, the city recently became home to the Red Sox minor league baseball team previously based in Pawtucket, RI and to new, 9,500-seat stadium, Polar Park.

Clark is committed to scholarship and inquiry that addresses social and human imperatives on a global basis. The university's mission is to educate undergraduate and graduate students to be imaginative and contributing citizens of the world and to advance the frontiers of knowledge and understanding through rigorous scholarship and creative effort. Clark's urban location combined with its tradition of community partnerships, place faculty and students in an ideal position to live the university's motto, "Challenge Convention. Change Our World."

With an annual operating budget of approximately $200 million (with financial aid) and a $540 million endowment as of last year, Clark's current financial position is strong and the University is updating its long-term financial plan as part of an enterprise-wide planning initiative. Fundraising will be a strategic focus of this long-term financial plan. The University completed its last capital campaign?"Campaign Clark"?in May 2020, raising $156 million. In fall 2021, the University successfully completed a bond financing raising $100 million in new resources to jumpstart capital investments in its campus and facilities, including a new 69,000 square-foot academic building scheduled for completion in August 2023. This new building will be home to the Becker School of Design and Technology at Clark (the #3 game design program in the world as ranked by Princeton Review), the department of computer science, and certain components of the University's department of visual and performing arts.

A faculty-centered institution with a strong tradition of shared governance, Clark's more than 230 full- and 150 part-time faculty are deeply committed scholar-teachers who embrace experiential learning and undergraduate research. Full-time faculty are highly productive, with strong publication records and externally funded research totaling on average between $5-7 million annually. In addition, the University employs a diverse and dedicated cross-section of 470 full- and part-time staff. Clark's 90-acre urban campus includes more than 1.6 million square feet of academic space, residence halls, and research and athletics facilities. Clark recently added 7.3 acres to its campus by acquiring a nearby parcel that could be the future site of exciting new possibilities such as an athletics and recreation facility, graduate housing or related academic and co-curricular programming space, or other priorities once the University has raised significant philanthropy for the project.

Clark's programs are offered through: the College of Arts and Sciences; the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Graduate School of Geography; the School of Management; the Becker School of Design and Technology, and the interdisciplinary International Development, Community, and Environment Department. The academic environment is enhanced by eight centers and institutes that play a vital role in enabling interdisciplinary collaboration.

At the undergraduate level, Clark provides a challenging liberal arts curriculum with many of the benefits associated with an excellent liberal arts college, including small classes, a strong sense of community, extensive co-curricular opportunities, and faculty who are passionate about teaching and mentoring students. Clark's Liberal Education and Effective Practice model of undergraduate education aligns all aspects of the undergraduate experience to educate graduates known both for their academic accomplishments and for key capacities of "effective practice," capacities needed to translate ideas and values into action. This curricular model connects classroom learning across more than 50 majors, minors, and concentrations with world and workplace experiences. Today, 100 percent of Clark undergraduates complete at least one experiential learning opportunity.

At the graduate level, master's degree and doctoral students represent one third of the student population. The graduate professional programs are a source of campus diversity, exceptional teaching, and impactful and engaged scholarship. The doctoral programs make significant contributions to Clark's impact and reputation. Clark offers nine doctoral and 23 master's degree programs. Graduate programs include degrees offered through Clark's AACSB-accredited School of Management. Clark has received national attention for its accelerated degree programs that allow students to complete both a BA degree and a master's degree in five years. The fifth year of 14 of these programs is tuition-free for eligible students.

As a research university, Clark offers students the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge scholarship and creative work, working side by side with graduate students and faculty members, many of whom are international leaders in their fields. Researchers who have held Clark appointments include A.A. Michelson, the first U.S. Nobel Prize winner in the sciences, and Robert Goddard, the father of the space age and the inventor of modern rocket technology. Clark has produced more geography Ph.D.'s than any other program in the world, and its doctoral programs in psychology and in Holocaust and genocide studies are highly regarded and distinctive.

Clark strives to ensure a truly inclusive and safe community, counteract systemic racism, develop and support antiracist practices, and actively promote social justice and equity. In recognition of the importance of this work and its centrality to Clark's identity and mission, President Fithian committed in June 2020 $1 million to catalyze diversity, equity, and inclusion activities and jump-start progress, including diversity and anti-bias training for the senior leadership team and increased funding to support the diversification and decolonization of academic curriculum under the leadership of the Center for Gender, Race, and Area Studies. In 2021, President Fithian announced four new members appointed to his leadership team, all of whom identify as BIPOC. Today, Clark's leadership team is more diverse than at any prior time in the University's history.

Job Description:


Reporting to the president, the vice president for university advancement (VP) will be a key member of the University's senior leadership team and work closely with colleagues responsible for both the academics and operations of Clark University. The VP will provide executive leadership in all aspects of fundraising, corporate and foundation relations, and alumni engagement and will be a close and critical advisor.

Clark's new vice president for advancement will serve as the VP, both to advance principal, annual, and planned giving, as well as to further and deepen alumni engagement. The next VP will have the tremendous opportunity to shape, plan, and oversee a new comprehensive campaign. In addition, the VP will be able to expand the capacity and capabilities of the Office of University Advancement to ensure the University achieves and sustains a higher level of philanthropic support well into the future. The VP will strategically engage the president, trustees, campaign committees, faculty, alumni, friends, and other key Clark stakeholders in fundraising activities, providing meaningful and valuable engagement opportunities and effective support. As chief development officer, the VP will build and manage a portfolio of prospects, leading by example with strategies to engage with and achieve the highest levels of support from those who come to understand of the value of a Clark education and the University's outsized impact.

The VP will bring visionary fundraising leadership, marked by a solid track record of increasing philanthropic support, the purposeful expansion and diversification of philanthropic revenue, extensive and successful campaign and management experience, and a proven track record of soliciting significant gifts. Importantly, the VP will have demonstrated strength in engaging colleagues and partners across the organization (in Clark's case, vice presidents, academic deans, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, and local foundations) in collaborative fundraising efforts. Ideally this experience will be within a higher education institution, academic medical center, or other research-focused, educational institution or learned society. The VP will inspire the staff (currently 33) through effective motivation, mentoring, and team building; possess the management acumen to leverage the team members' existing capacity and strengthen performance; and effectively manage and build the comprehensive operation, while maintaining best practices, camaraderie, shared accountability, and clearly defined goals.

  • Develop and oversee both immediate and long-term fundraising and engagement strategies to ensure rapid progress in fundraising performance, deeper engagement with alumni, friends and institutional partners, and a highly motivated, high achieving team of development professionals.
  • Oversee planning and execution of a next comprehensive capital campaign, expected to be the largest and most impactful campaign in the University's history.
  • Establish and maintain a climate which encourages the development and retention of high-performance team members, a high level of morale, and the pursuit of excellence; assess current staff organization and capacity, recommend organizational and operational change to drive heightened success, and recruit new staff as necessary.
  • Partner with the executive vice president and chief financial officer to develop a funding model to support a higher-level expectation for annual fundraising performance and to ensure the success of a new capital campaign; establish priorities and implementation timelines.
  • As part of planning a new capital campaign evaluate the capacity of existing and potential new donors and determine, in consultation with the president and Board of Trustees, an achievable campaign goal.
  • Assess, better empower and inspire, and directionally support a strengthened approach to alumni relations, ensuring strong and meaningful engagement with alumni of all ages and capacities and deepening connections with and pride in Clark University
  • Staff the Board of Trustees' Advancement Committee. Partner with trustees to leverage their experience and reach to support a successful campaign and ongoing fundraising. Help identify and recommend to the Board's Governance Committee candidates for trusteeship.
  • Guide and support the president, provost, deans, and other institutional leaders in their roles as key fundraisers, serving as a coach, mentor, and co-strategist on cultivating and soliciting principal and transformational gifts; engage with faculty and staff who can support fundraising efforts for the institution.
  • Lead the frontline fundraising staff by example, demonstrating successful cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of key donors.
  • Foster an environment that rewards performance, builds confidence, encourages collaboration and teamwork, and promotes diversity.
  • Direct major gift solicitation through compelling proposals, sustained relationship cultivation, meaningful donor stewardship, and strengthened front-line staff capability,
  • Ensure the effective use of data, maintain records, and oversee the preparation of reports.
  • Provides leadership and support for planning and implementation of new advancement services and programs, such as alumni relations and planned giving.
  • Lead the creation of a fundraising strategy; create the plans that will ensure that the University's fundraising goals are achieved through multiple fundraising approaches/channels that reach a diversity of donors and is clear in its objectives, goals, target audiences, timelines, and assignment of responsibilities.
  • Evaluate the fundraising activities annually to ensure quality, productivity, and relevance towards meeting goals; lead engagement to create strategies that support fundraising and awareness-building goals as well as Program strategies that support engagement and increased donor/volunteer commitment to the University's mission.
  • Ensure the advancement team is processing and acknowledging gifts timely and accurately, updating records of all communications and donor information in appropriate secure databases.
  • Provides direction and leadership for research and prospect management, setting measurable and attainable goals and evaluating outcomes to ensure fund-raising staff have the information they need to target their work with prospective donors.



Clark seeks the best candidates from across the nation. All candidates will bring unimpeachable integrity, a strong ethical compass, and a demonstrated commitment to ensuring a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment. In addition, the selected candidate will bring many of the following professional qualifications, skills, experiences, and personal qualities:

  • Ten or more years of relevant experience and demonstrated success in a senior-level role of comparable complexity in an academic or non-profit setting.
  • A demonstrated ability to successfully manage and execute an advancement program that can deliver against a set of goals and objectives to ensure excellence in program management, staff development and quality of work.
  • Demonstrated capacity to communicate broadly across an institution; outstanding oral and written communication skills; and the ability to convey and teach technically complex information and concepts in accessible terms to a broad array of stakeholders.
  • A track record of success in personally cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding gifts of seven figures or more from individuals, foundations, and corporations.
  • A record of success developing and implementing comprehensive campaigns.
  • Demonstrated innovation and creativity in delivering an advancement program that can generate increasing contributions from alumni over time.
  • A highly collaborative team player; strong interpersonal and diplomacy skills; superb active listening and influencing skills; the ability to cultivate and sustain trust and credibility with colleagues, and to unify them around difficult issues.
  • Working knowledge of research funding opportunities and strategies.
  • The agility and inclination to advance complex projects and solve problems collaboratively, coupled with the willingness to act resourcefully, authoritatively, and resolutely.
  • A commitment to engage collaboratively with and be accessible to administrative colleagues, faculty, staff, students, trustees, and to respond effectively to their needs and concerns.
  • Experience with achieving operational efficiency and prudent use of resources, including a demonstrated understanding of budgets and the ability to manage them.
  • A high level of cultural competence, with the knowledge and understanding of the power dynamics that have historically been employed, and persist today, to disenfranchise people of certain backgrounds and identities.
  • Patience, resilience, and tenacity along with a liveliness of intellect, common sense, and outstanding judgment.
  • Maturity, optimism, and good humor; personal warmth and approachability.
  • Strong work ethic and the flexibility to travel and work evenings or weekends as necessary.
  • Superior written and oral communication skills; the ability to understand and translate information for all audiences; clarity, crispness, and elegance in writing and speaking.
  • Commitment to diversity, intercultural understanding, and inclusive institutional excellence.
  • An understanding of and appreciation for the use of technology and data systems.
  • A lifelong learner with active engagement in development-related associations such as the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
  • Bachelor's degree required; advanced degree strongly preferred.

Clark University currently requires all employees and students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Exemptions will be made for medical or disability reasons or religious beliefs, and could be made, at the sole discretion of the University, for other well-documented reasons.

Additional Information:

Clark University embraces equal opportunity as a core value: we believe that cultivating an environment that embraces and promotes diversity is fundamental to the success of our students, our employees and our community. This commitment applies to every aspect of education, services, and employment policies and practices at Clark. Our commitment to diversity informs our efforts in recruitment, hiring and retention. All positions at Clark share in the responsibility for building a community that values diversity and the uniqueness of others by exhibiting integrity and respect in interacting with all members of the Clark community to create an atmosphere of fairness and belonging. We strongly encourage members from historically underrepresented communities, inclusive of all women, to apply.

Clark University offers a generous benefit package for full time employees that include; paid time off, generous retirement plan, group health and dental insurance, life insurance, and tuition, along with use of many campus amenities. For a complete list of benefits for eligible employees visit here.

Application Instructions:

The University has engaged a search firm for this position. To be considered for this position, please reach out to [email protected]

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Salary will be commensurate with skills and experience.

Applicants must be currently authorized to work in the United States for any employer.

A successful background check is required upon acceptance.


Working at Clark University

A relentless force for positive change

Founded in 1887, Clark University is a liberal arts-based research university committed to scholarship and inquiry that addresses social and human imperatives on a global basis. It is the place where Robert Goddard invented the modern rocket, where Sigmund Freud delivered his only lectures in the United States, and where current students stake their claim to the Clark motto, “Challenge Convention. Change Our World,” which is the rallying cry that inspires our community every day.

Located in the heart of New England — Worcester, Massachusetts — Clark University educates its approximately 2,200 undergraduate and 1,100 graduate students to be imaginative and contributing citizens of the world, and to advance the frontiers of knowledge and understanding through rigorous scholarship and creative effort.

A university on the cutting edge of higher education

Clark is a world-class research university that is small by design, giving students the rare opportunity to contribute to pioneering research projects and to benefit from hands-on experience, close collaboration with peers, and the individual mentorship of faculty.

LEEP (Liberal Education and Effective Practice) is Clark’s pioneering model of higher education,  compelling students to thrive in authentic world and workplace settings, and preparing them for lives and careers of consequence. Clark is the only university to make the development of “capacities of effective practice” an explicit learning requirement for its undergraduates. Critical to success in today’s world, these capacities include imagination, self-directedness, resilience, and the ability to manage diversity and uncertainty. A Clark education reflects a belief in the enduring value of liberal education, as well as the University’s efforts to more deeply attune students’ learning experiences to the profound changes underway in our economy, our society, and our democracy.

The Clark graduate experience reflects the importance of “engaged scholarship” — an innovative educational approach that connects students to the people and organizations intimately familiar with (and working to address) the issues they are passionate about, and that places a premium on effecting measurable outcomes.

Committed to research that advance knowledge and impacts society

The Clark University faculty is composed of world-renowned researchers who foster a culture of excellence in the next generation. At Clark, faculty and students are given the freedom and flexibility to pursue projects that transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries.

The University’s focused areas of research excellence are backed by strong Ph.D. and master’s degree programs that engage graduate students from around the world in such areas as biology, chemistry, economics, geography, psychology, urban education, management, environmental science and policy, Holocaust and genocide studies, and international development and social change. Clark faculty, students, and staff continually develop new ways of thinking and acting that have a positive impact on the lives — and livelihoods — of people throughout the world.

Clark's research profile is enhanced by the presence of a variety of research institutes and centers that build on a foundation of interdisciplinary scholarship: the Mosakowski Institute for Public Enterprise, the George Perkins Marsh Institute, the Higgins School of Humanities, the Jacob Hiatt Center for Urban Education and the Strassler Family Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

Redefining our place in the world by immersing our community in it

Clark has redefined what it means to be a university in today’s interconnected world, forging robust partnerships with universities, educators, researchers, and business and community leaders at home and abroad, enabling its faculty and students to conduct in-depth research, work collaboratively to take on global concerns, and make a tangible difference. This diverse community of educators, researchers, and scholars challenge and inspire each other with their perspectives, insights, and determination. They are creative thinkers eager to defy conventional wisdom, devise inventive solutions to complex problems, and roll up their sleeves to get things done.

Clark itself plays a critical role in the health and well-being of its urban community, known as Main South, through the University Park Partnership — a national model for neighborhood revitalization. Working in tandem with the city of Worcester, Clark has been a change agent in the areas of housing and physical rehabilitation, education, economic development and social and recreational opportunities for residents. The University Park Campus School, which Clark operates in collaboration with the Worcester Public Schools, boasts an estimable record of high achievement and was recognized by President Barack Obama for its record of academic success.

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