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Senior Director of Development, College of Arts and Letters

Post Date: 07-12-2017
Deadline: 11-02-2017
Posting #: 449003
Department: University Advancement
Type: Administrative Professional Supervisory
Salary Range: Negotiable

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As a core college with a focus on a broad liberal arts education, the College of Arts and Letters educates actors, artists, designers, filmmakers, linguists, philosophers, poets, teachers, translators, writers and much more while exposing students to the major cultural issues facing a global society.  The College employs engaged, talented and forward-thinking faculty and scholars to educate our students and bring public focus to the arts and humanities.  Arts and humanities education in the College of Arts and Letters fosters creativity, critical thinking and communication skills, the ability to see issues from multiple perspectives, and a solid sense of social responsibility in our graduates.

Under the leadership of a dynamic and energetic dean, the college seeks a confident, creative, collaborative, enthusiastic and results-oriented major gift officer who has an understanding of and appreciation for the arts and humanities, to build upon the foundation of its advancement program.  The College of Arts and Letters has surpassed its second campaign goal of $20 million as part of the $1.5 billion Empower Extraordinary Campaign for MSU and has set an ambitious target for the next 18 months.  The Senior Director will be instrumental in helping the college achieve this aggressive new goal by identifying, cultivating and soliciting individuals for significant 6- and 7-figure support as well as periodic special purpose appeals and programs with business, industry and interested foundations. The chosen candidate must be an exceptional fundraiser, an accomplished motivator and mentor, an effective manager of people, and a visionary change agent who has a proven track record in successfully implementing comprehensive development programs.  Capital campaign experience is a plus.

Serving as the college’s chief development officer, the Senior Director will maintain a personal prospect portfolio of major donor prospects as well as employ a strategic moves management program to ensure constant positive movement along the development pipeline.  Leading by example, the Senior Director will oversee a team of 2 full-time development officers and one alumni relations professional, and work closely with the Dean, senior administrators, and volunteer leadership to ensure that the College reaches its full philanthropic potential. 

As MSU strategically positions itself through its second billion-dollar plus campaign, the Senior Director will assume a leadership role in planning and spearheading the campaign effort for the College.  This includes recruiting and training volunteers, articulating the case for support, identifying and cultivating prospects, developing and reviewing proposals, and actively soliciting contributions with a focus on gifts of $100,000 and more.




Knowledge equivalent to that which normally would be acquired by completing a four-year college degree program in the Arts, Humanities, Communications, Public Relations, Marketing, Business or other; five to eight years of related and progressively more responsible or expansive work experience in professional and higher education fundraising, public relations, marketing, development of budgets, preparation and presentation of case statements and analysis of operations; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.  Travel is required.

Desired Qualifications:

  • A Master’s degree; Arts, Humanities, Communications, Public Relations, Marketing and/or Business or the Social Sciences are preferred.
  • Eight years of successful fundraising experience (preferably in higher education) including several years at a director or manager level.   Experience in related fields such as public relations or marketing may be taken into consideration.
  • Demonstrated organizational, interpersonal and written/oral communications.
  • Demonstrated experience in facilitating major gifts through planned giving instruments.
  • Working knowledge of tax laws affecting charitable giving.

How to apply

If you have any questions regarding this position, please contact Shelley Semmler with Aspen Leadership Group at or Andrew Watkins, Executive Director of Constituency Programs at

All candidates must submit an application and resume through the Michigan State University Human Resources web-based system, the URL for this website is   Please indicate the position number 449003 when submitting your application.

Screening of applicants will continue until the position is filled.

MSU is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer.

MSU is committed to achieving excellence through cultural diversity.  The university actively encourages applications and/or nominations of women, persons of color, veterans and persons with disabilities.