Assistant Vice President for School and Project Development

Southern Methodist University - Dallas, TX (30+ days ago)4.3

Assistant Vice President for School and Project Development - (DEA00000067)

Salary Range:
Salary commensurate with experience and qualifications

Job Summary:
Southern Methodist University (SMU) seeks an innovative and experienced leader, adept at both strategy and operations, to serve as its next Assistant Vice President for School and Project Development (AVP). In this newly created role, the AVP provides leadership and innovative approaches for SMU’s school, athletic and unit advancement programs. In this effort, the AVP directly manages school and athletic fundraising staff, and coordinates closely with other units across campus with regard to fundraising initiatives of high priority. The AVP is a key member of the Development and External Affairs (DEA) leadership team and will play a significant role in developing the execution plan for the University’s next comprehensive campaign. The AVP will report to the Vice President for Development and External Affairs, Brad Cheves, who has served in that role since 2004.

A nationally ranked private university with seven degree-granting schools, SMU is a distinguished center for teaching and research located near the heart of Dallas, Texas. SMU's 11,600 students benefit from small classes, research opportunities, leadership development, international study and innovative programs. The University is strengthened by its partnership with the North Texas region, a global center of commerce and culture. SMU students, faculty and alumni are changing the world through their chosen fields, civic engagement and service to society. SMU’s progress in the last 20 years includes a near tripling of applications, an increase of more than 165 points in the student SAT average scores, an increase in underrepresented student population enrollment to 25 percent and a more than doubling of the University endowment, currently valued at $1.5 billion.

Under the leadership of President R. Gerald Turner, SMU has completed two comprehensive campaigns, both utilizing development staff and volunteers assigned to schools and the Department of Athletics. The first, A Time to Lead, concluded in 2002 having raised $541 million. The Second Century Campaign concluded in 2015 having raised over $1.15 billion. Both campaigns exceeded their original public goals by significant amounts. SMU anticipates another comprehensive campaign within the next few years.

Reporting to the Vice President for Development and External Affairs (DEA), the Assistant Vice President for School and Project Development (AVP) is responsible for the comprehensive fundraising, alumni engagement and recognition/stewardship programs of SMU’s schools and the Department of Athletics, working directly with each development officer and the dean/director, as well as faculty members, volunteers and others. The AVP maintains a prospect portfolio in support of university-wide fundraising projects, and holds responsibility for reporting the status of special funding initiatives such as capital projects, challenges and matches, academic initiatives, etc.

The Office of School and Project Development, created in February 2018, will provide fundraising support to schools and the Department of Athletics through a pre-existing staff of experienced fundraisers imbedded in those offices, reporting to the AVP and funded by DEA. These staff members, with the guidance and support of the AVP, work closely with deans, the Director of Athletics, faculty members, school administrators and volunteers to identify, cultivate and solicit prospects for financial support of SMU’s highest academic and athletic priorities. In this capacity, the AVP and fundraisers work closely with colleagues across DEA in the areas of Principal and Major Gifts, Alumni Giving and Relations, Donor Relations and Stewardship, Development Services, Public Affairs and the Office of the Vice President.
This position is a tremendous opportunity for a seasoned professional to lead SMU’s new Office of School and Project Development and to work closely with colleagues within DEA and across campus in service to the University. The successful candidate will be an inspiring leader and an effective advocate and ally for SMU. S/He will be joining the team at a pivotal time, which will include significant investment to grow the team in preparation for the institution’s next campaign.

Essential Functions:
Manage the planning and implementation of the fundraising programs in schools and athletics, including current-use giving, capital and endowment giving, planned giving, alumni engagement, donor recognition and stewardship, etc.;
Support the development of school and athletics long-range strategic plans, advocating for staff and funding in support of a comprehensive campaign;
Define and track metrics, monitor initiatives for completion, manage effective gift closure and maintain a focus on achievement of goals;
Support a culture of philanthropy at SMU. Hire, train, inspire and mentor direct reports;
Participate as an active member of the DEA Strategy Team while providing support and candid consultation to the Vice President for Development and External Affairs;
Manage a portfolio of prospects providing cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of major gifts in support of high priority projects including those of the Provost and VP Student Affairs.


Education and Experience:
A Bachelor’s degree, eight (8) years of progressive professional advancement, including five (5) years of fundraising experience and a minimum of three (3) years of work experience managing a professional staff is required.

Master’s degree is preferred. Campaign experience in a multifaceted, complex fundraising environment is desirable. Higher education or nonprofit experience is preferred.

Demonstrated success in cultivating and closing major gifts is required. Proven success in staff leadership and managing major giving programs is also required. Experience in creating and sustaining an inclusive and welcoming work environment is highly desirable.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
The ideal candidate must possess strong interpersonal and verbal communication skills with the ability to communicate broadly across the University and cultivate and sustain collegial relationships and build unity around difficult issues. The candidate should be an active listener and facilitator. Strong public speaking skills are essential.

The successful candidate must be an insightful, articulate and persuasive leader with the ability to provide successful oversight of people and budget and to inspire colleagues with energy and a dedication to clarity and accountability. The ability to provide focus and motivation to a professional staff in a goal-driven and changing environment is essential.

The candidate must be a forward-thinking leader who can balance diverse agendas and points of view in a dynamic and entrepreneurial environment, and a servant leader who embraces and empowers individuals of all backgrounds, putting the needs of others first and helping them develop and perform to the highest standards possible. The chosen candidate will be one who fosters in others a sense of ownership and dedication to the cause and who leads by example.

The chosen candidate will be called on to think collaboratively, strategically and creatively while participating in senior-level decision making. Demonstrated experience in leading teams/projects through collaboration and developing effective working relationships is essential, as is the ability to present a positive and professional image of SMU to external stakeholders and constituents.

Physical/Environmental Demands:
Sit for long periods of time

Deadline to Apply:
The position is open until filled.

To learn more, call
Jill Lasman, Senior Vice President at
or send nominations or cover letter and resume to
All inquiries will be held in confidence.

EEO Statement:
SMU will not discriminate in any program or activity on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression. The Executive Director for Access and Equity/Title IX Coordinator is designated to handle inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies and may be reached at the Perkins Administration Building, Room 204, 6425 Boaz Lane, Dallas, TX 75205, 214-768-3601,

Primary Location: USA-TX-Dallas
Job: Development
Organization: DEA - Development/Alumni
Schedule: Regular
Shift: Staff
Employee Status: Manager with Direct Reports
Job Type: Full-time
Job Level: Day Job
Travel: Yes, 25 % of the Time
Job Posting: Apr 9, 2018, 10:56:41 AM