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Vice President for Advancement, Higher Education & International Education

Institute for Shipboard Education | Semester at Sea
Colorado, United States
$150,000.00 - $170,000.00
Closing date
Apr 1, 2023

Job Title: Vice President for Advancement

Reports To: President & CEO

Location: Fort Collins, CO (Preferred); Remote available depending on the candidate

FLSA Status: Exempt, regular full-time

Schedule: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Salary Range: Typical starting range for a new employee in this role is $150,000 - $170,000/annually


Organization Description

Established in 1963, the Institute for Shipboard Education (ISE) is a 501(c) non-profit organization. In collaboration with academic partner Colorado State University, ISE delivers the Semester at Sea® (SAS) program, one of the longest operating higher education study abroad programs. Semester at Sea® provides its students a global comparative education through classroom and experiential learning in the field. The Semester at Sea® floating campus, the MV World Odyssey, carries around 550 students plus faculty, staff, and others. The duration of the semester voyage is typically 105 days, including visits to 8- 10 countries. ISE conducts two semester voyages annually and additional alumni travel programs. See for more information. 


Organization Mission

Journeys of discovery that spark bold solutions to global challenges


Position Description

ISE seeks an accomplished, strategic, and experienced leader to serve as its next Vice President for Advancement (VPA). The VPA will have demonstrated success in developing and leading programs in all aspects of Advancement, including a comprehensive development program, alumni relations, campaign planning, donor relations, development communications, and data analytics. The VPA will bring a demonstrated ability to set and achieve ambitious goals, inspire staff through mentoring and accountability, and nurture strong and effective donor relationships with a focus on strategic and long-term engagement for ISE. The VPA will be charged with creating and implementing a strategic plan for the Advancement program.

The VPA reports directly to the President and CEO and is a member of the senior management team. The VPA is charged with ensuring a fully integrated Advancement team that maintains a steadfast focus on the strategic initiatives and priorities as outlined by the President and the Board. They must bring strong communication, organizational, and leadership skills. The VPA must have demonstrated experience collaborating with key stakeholders internally, including finance, marketing and communications, and academic affairs.

To complement this work, the VPA must also have demonstrated experience working closely with highly engaged and dedicated volunteer boards to build a strong culture of philanthropy. In addition, the VPA will manage a portfolio of high net-worth individuals. The VPA represents ISE at key donor meetings, events, and fundraising conferences, articulating ISE's mission, strategic initiatives, and successes.


Essential Duties and Responsibilities (include but are not limited to the following)

The individual in this position must be able to perform the essential duties and responsibilities with or without reasonable accommodation: 

    Manage and nurture a strong Advancement team to achieve or exceed revenue and other key metric targets; manage margins, control costs, and capitalize on operational efficiencies; evaluate team members, develop a strong sense of teamwork, and establish an environment of mentoring and support; coach the team and bring a strategic focus to development.  Provide ISE with a strong, creative, energetic, strategic leadership on all fundraising initiatives and set new, ambitious, but attainable goals in order to increase annual operating funds and longer-term (endowments, multi-year pledges) philanthropic commitments. Build long-term relationships with alumni and major donors and increase the percentage of participation. Supervise and maintain a data-driven and goal-achievement-based Advancement culture. Identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward prospects for gifts and pledges from an active portfolio of key major donor prospects; maintain and manage a personal portfolio of important ISE donors. Oversee growth, maintenance, and enhancement of ISE’s development database; manage internal fundraising and direct mail/email systems; collaborate with the Marketing and Communications team to optimize the use of technology in garnering contributed revenue. Ensure that alumni relations are well-managed, with special attention to the Alumni Association Board of Directors (AABOD). Evaluate the current alumni programming structure, and develop a strategic plan to enhance the current alumni volunteer structure including the AABOD, various councils, as well as alumni programming. Provide support for the President & CEO regarding engagement and solicitation of major donors. Be a strong partner in developing meeting strategies and key goals for travel. Work closely with the Executive team to build a Culture of Philanthropy, engaging team members in donor relations. Be the staff lead for the Board of Trustees AdvancementCommittee, build a Culture of Philanthropy engaging board members with donors, and participate as appropriate in board retreats and other meetings. Oversee the editorial development of all Advancement-related print communications. Keep the President & CEO and Advancement Committee Chair of the Board informed of fundraising activities and progress with frequent reports and analysis Perform other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications and Skills

    8+ years of professional experience in non-profit and/or higher education Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree or equivalent experience preferred
    Demonstrated track record of effective solicitation, including a proven record of accomplishments in individual relations; leadership in the planning, implementation, management, and successful conclusion of a major campaign are highly desirable  Action-oriented, hard-working with an ability to make decisions in a fast-paced, changing, and highly collaborative environment; self-starting, self-motivating, and able to show results on time and in a highly ethical and professional manner; dedicated to meeting and exceeding the expectations and requirements of internal and external constituents  Strong competency in leading and motivating others to meet goals, establishing clear directions, setting objectives, and monitoring progress and results in a deadline-driven environment  Excellent strategist and communicator, working with peers, inspiring and managing supervisors and volunteers in their work with donors Creative, entrepreneurial, and willing to move beyond traditional formulas of fundraising Proven track record of ethical and strategic leadership Exceptional oral and writing skills; Excellent interpersonal skills and project management experience Support the mission of ISE; reflecting ISE values, candidates are expected to have the ability to advance the SAS commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion 

Preferred Qualifications and Skills 

    Familiarity with study abroad and international education  Experience with alumni programs Direct experience with Semester at Sea, including working with the Institute or sailing on one or more voyages in some capacity (student, faculty, staff, Lifelong Learner, voyage leadership team member)

Working Conditions

    This is a full-time (40 hours/week) position. Days of work and hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Occasional evening and weekend work may be required as job duties demand This position requires work performed in an office environment Frequent travel is required, up to 50% of the time. Travel may include time spent on a moving ship in the ocean, with little to no internet access at times

Physical Requirements of the Job 

    Lifting/carrying/bending/moving objects up to 30 lbs.  The majority of work time requires sitting, bending at neck, waist, legs and arms; twisting body; and changing positions at will. Occasional standing, walking, stooping, bending, kneeling, and reaching  Requires repetitive motions with hands and fingers such as keyboarding, use of telephones, cell phones, etc.  Requires close vision, distance vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to focus. Work requires close attention to detail and accuracy and varies in nature with periodic interruptions Computer and phone work at a desk for the majority of the day

Compensation & Benefits 

    starting range for a new employee in this role is $150,000 - $170,000/annually relocation assistance available to selected finalist outside of Fort Collins/Northern Colorado medical, dental, and vision insurance life insurance retirement contributions paid time off/leave paid holidays wellness program tech stipend LinkedIn Learning

Application Deadline: For full consideration, please submit your application on or prior to March 31. Applications will, however, continue to be accepted until the position is filled.

Application Advice 

    Only submit an application on the ADP Platform accessible from the Semester at Sea website: Use Google Chrome as your web browser. It interfaces with ADP better than other web browsers Please complete and save your prepared documents in advance of beginning the online ADP application Allow plenty of time to complete the application, upload materials, and submit the application Work cannot be saved; applicants cannot return to in-progress applications at a later time Once an application has been submitted, it cannot be altered or changed


Application Instructions

To receive full consideration, please submit your application materials as follows:

    Submit both a cover letter and resume; your cover letter should address your interest in the position and your qualifications as aligned with the requirements of the position. Submit your cover letter and resume as a single PDF file. Save your PDF document with the file name that leads with your last name and upload to the “Resume” option.

Failure to submit your application according to any or all of the above criteria may limit consideration for the position.


Please direct your position-specific questions to Human Resources at Please, no phone calls. 


The Institute for Shipboard Education|Semester at Sea® is an equal opportunity employer. We encourage anyone, regardless of race, age, creed, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, or any other classification protected by law, to apply.

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