California, United States
Salary Not specified
Feb 23, 2021
Mar 24, 2021
Employment Type
Full Time




San Marcos, California

California State University San Marcos (Cal State San Marcos or CSUSM) seeks an experienced, inclusive, and aspirational vice president of university advancement to build a best-in-class advancement operation and expertly lead all fundraising and alumni engagement efforts. The vice president will join CSUSM at a transformative moment in its history, partnering with President Ellen Neufeldt early in her tenure and contributing to the completion of a strategic planning process that will set the foundation for future ambitious fundraising initiatives, enabling the university to lead the way forward in student success and social mobility; social justice and equity; community engagement; and innovating for the future. This is an outstanding leadership opportunity for a seasoned advancement professional to partner with Dr. Neufeldt and the broader university community to plan, direct, and implement a comprehensive development program, including donor stewardship and development operations, across all channels of fundraising, including annual fund; major gifts; alumni, corporate and foundation relations; and events. 

Reporting to President Neufeldt, the vice president is responsible for designing and executing a comprehensive, integrated advancement strategy and the necessary infrastructure to build a high-performing operation that will drive new private support, maintain and elevate current donors, and bring fresh ideas that respond to the evolving nature of philanthropy. By assessing existing fundraising practices and seeking input from key stakeholders, the vice president will ensure a holistic approach to cultivating and strengthening a culture of philanthropy both internally and externally. The vice president also serves as executive director of the CSUSM Foundation and is responsible for the financial and operational leadership of the foundation.

Success for the next vice president will, in part, be defined by an ability to engage and guide all members of the CSUSM community – faculty, staff, students, alumni, trustees, and senior administrators – in the university’s advancement efforts. The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated ability to establish and maintain strong, collaborative working relationships and a successful track record of elevating the performance of fundraising programs, resulting in sustainable philanthropic growth for an institution. In addition, the next vice president will bring a thoughtful, energetic, and entrepreneurial approach to fostering lifelong relationships between CSUSM and its alumni, parents, and friends, including members of local sovereign Tribal communities, as well as working in partnership with industry, community leaders, and donors to leverage the university’s existing relationships in the region to philanthropic gain. The vice president will play a central role in enhancing the visibility and fundraising capabilities of the institution, and will position the president to connect with philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and business leaders who are not currently engaged with the university. This will involve working closely with the Office of Community Relations and University Engagement (CRUE), which is situated under the umbrella of the Office of the President, to horizontally serve and nurture a community engagement ecosystem at CSUSM.

The vice president will lead, manage, and develop a team ready to address the ongoing challenges and aspirations of the university. This individual will establish an overarching vision to build upon the success of the program to-date, elevating the productivity of the division and leading the evolution of the advancement enterprise as it adapts to a changing social, educational, and technological climate. By promoting a metrics-driven work environment that stimulates high professionalism, achievement, calculated risk-taking, and a commitment to building long-term relationships, the vice president will motivate the team to meet and exceed ambitious goals. The ideal candidate will be a seasoned, sophisticated, and experienced team leader adept at maximizing, leveraging, and advocating for a talented staff, and facilitating team success.

The ideal candidate will possess a minimum of nine years of progressively responsible leadership experience in a comprehensive advancement operation, preferably within public higher education, and a keen understanding of and ability to implement best practices in all major development and alumni relations functions, including campaigns. The vice president must be able to create a results-oriented work environment that encourages innovation, promotes diversity, and rewards collaboration. The vice president will possess a track record of significant personal success in donor cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship at principal gift levels, as well as in fostering new and effective means of alumni and volunteer participation in the life of the university and its students. The ideal candidate must be a self-starter who operates with a sense of urgency, and thinks strategically, analytically, and entrepreneurially with an ability to transform new ideas into executable and enduring programs. The successful candidate must possess extraordinary communication and listening skills; demonstrate a high level of creativity, humility, integrity, and trust; and possess the flexibility and willingness to adapt in a complex environment.

CSUSM is especially committed to recruiting candidates from historically marginalized or underrepresented backgrounds and identities, as well as individuals who foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in their leadership. An active and visible leader on campus and in the broader community, the vice president will hold a deep appreciation for the mission, history, achievements, and aspirations of the university. The successful candidate must also possess the authenticity and cultural competency necessary to be an effective representative of the university, and the desire and ability to build bridges and collaborative relationships across the CSUSM community as a key liaison to its diverse internal and external constituencies. A bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree is preferred.

One of 23 campuses of the California State University system, Cal State San Marcos has seen remarkable growth during its nearly three decades of history and had an incredible impact on student success and social mobility. Today, CSUSM’s over 16,000 students are enrolled across 43 baccalaureate and 39 minor programs, 25 master’s programs, eight credential programs, and a joint doctoral program with UC San Diego. Programs are offered by the College of Business Administration; the College of Education, Health, & Human Services; the College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral & Social Sciences; and the College of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics, as well as through its Extended Learning unit. The student body is extraordinarily diverse, and the campus is proudly reflective of its surrounding community. An Hispanic Serving Institution, about 42% of students are Hispanic/Latin-x. Furthermore, more than 55% are first generation college students. Located in close proximity to large military bases, about 10% of students are veterans or are military-affiliated. CSUSM is a major economic driver for the region and one of the largest employers in northern San Diego County. CSUSM acknowledges that the 304-acre campus sits on the traditional territory and homelands of the Luiseño/Payómkawichum people and remains shared space among the Kuupangaxwichem/Cupeño and Kumeyaay and Ipai peoples. To learn more about CSUSM, please visit:

CSUSM has retained Ms. Rachel Ellenport of the national executive search firm Isaacson, Miller to assist in conducting this important recruitment. For more information, to submit a nomination, or to apply for this role, please visit:  

The CSU is an Equal Opportunity Employer and supports diversity and inclusion in its recruitment, hiring, retention, and promotion policies and practices. It is CSU policy to provide equal opportunity for all persons regardless of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, and veteran status.

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