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Assistant Vice President, Alumni Engagement

Eastern Michigan University Foundation
Michigan, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Jun 3, 2024

At Eastern Michigan University, we pride ourselves on being an Institution of Opportunity. EMU is the most diverse public university in the state of Michigan. Of our ~14,000 students, almost 30% are first generation college students. Our community of 170,000 living alumni, predominantly located in the State of Michigan, share the common bond of receiving a life-changing education at Eastern.

The Eastern Michigan University Foundation (EMUF) is seeking an Assistant Vice President for Alumni Engagement to help advance this mission of access and opportunity. As a member of the EMU Foundation leadership team you will be empowered to oversee the entirety of alumni engagement programming across all five of EMU’s Colleges, Intercollegiate Athletics, and many affinity groups. You will also oversee exciting efforts to provide strategic direction and oversight of creative, innovation and bold communication strategies to engage alumni. EMUF has recently invested in advancement database support, services, events and communications platforms.  The opportunity to have immediate impact in advancing our alumni engagement efforts is significant!

Reporting directly to the Vice President for Advancement & Executive Director of the EMU Foundation, you will drive a significant portfolio of activity in the Advancement Division. Overseeing a team of five talented professionals, you will have ample opportunities to shape the future direction of alumni engagement for EMU. You will establish partnerships, while adding value and structure to existing campus alumni engagement efforts. You will collaborate with fundraising and other colleagues in the Division of Advancement. Your leadership of our strategic communications efforts will connect alumni back to EMU like never before, and serve the continued growth and productivity of our division for years to come.

The EMU Foundation offers flexible, hybrid  work arrangements, and a full benefits package including: comprehensive health care, retirement plans, paid vacation days and holidays, and sick and personal time.  

Diversity Statement: The EMU Foundation is committed to making diversity, equity, and inclusion central to our Mission, creating greater philanthropic impact for donors and greater value for Eastern Michigan University. We believe that  having varied perspectives helps generate better ideas to solve the complex problems of a changing—and increasingly diverse—world. 


Position Description:

The Assistant Vice President (AVP), Alumni Engagement will provide vision and leadership for alumni programs (both university-wide and school/college-specific) and related initiatives offered under the E-Alumni brand. The AVP will be responsible for the strategic planning, creation, delivery, and maintenance of a comprehensive suite of alumni programs, all advancement communications, and volunteer opportunities meant to increase alumni connection, engagement, and philanthropic support. 

Reporting to the Vice President of Advancement & Executive Director of the EMU Foundation (EMUF), the AVP is a member of the EMUF leadership team and must have excellent collaboration and communication skills to develop and maintain partnerships with advancement staff, frontline fundraisers, and other EMU colleagues. The AVP is also a highly visible leader across the broader university community. The AVP will work to establish and grow effective partnerships with college deans, school leaders, and other key university partners. The AVP will also strengthen a critical strategic partnership with the EMU Division of Communications. Additionally, they will work alongside Executive Officers including the Offices of the President and Provost, Intercollegiate Athletics, Chief Diversity Officer and Enrollment Management, to help support all institutional priorities through effective alumni engagement.

Essential Duties:

    Provide vision, direction and leadership for the Alumni Engagement team.  Manage the strategic planning process for alumni engagement and measure programmatic progress and alumni engagement. Establish organizational plans to meet engagement and philanthropy goals and oversee a comprehensive program that focuses on continued growth, innovation, and engagement.  Responsible for the design, planning, and implementation of programs, communications, services, and volunteer opportunities meant to increase alumni loyalty and engagement with the university.  Apply specific strategies for varying alumni populations, including affinity & identity groups, recent alumni, future alumni, and alumni volunteers.  Provide strategic guidance and support for other alumni volunteer groups, including the school/college alumni councils, affinity groups, alumni chapters.  Collaborate with colleagues in the Advancement division to enhance cultivation and stewardship strategies through personal alumni outreach and visits.  Oversee the development and implementation of marketing communication plans to increase alumni participation by identifying segmented target groups and creating innovative communication campaigns.  Provide oversight of the design, planning, direction, and implementation of division communications, electronic newsletters, mailings, targeted email campaigns, social media, giving day, and other communications meant to build and enhance engagement, ensuring consistency in brand, themes, and messaging with development and university communications.  Closely collaborate with the EMU Division of Communications, to enhance efficiencies and broaden communications impact. Maintain a partnership with the E-Alumni Advisory Board President and the members of the Board.  Supervise a diverse staff, effectively managing performance to meet individual and team initiatives; foster a collegial and highly productive work environment.  Recruit, hire, train, coach, evaluate, and mentor staff. Establish and communicate performance expectations in a manner that motivates and empowers staff to fulfill job duties.   Encourage, support, and ensure employee participation in training and development programs.  Develop goals and set operational standards for the Alumni Engagement  and Advancement Communications team. Conduct periodic review, assess department’s performance, and implement strategic changes/enhancements as needed.  Execute and evaluate alumni engagement programs, communications campaigns, and events. Evaluate the success and effectiveness of annual engagement efforts through statistical and qualitative analysis.  Manage an annual budget. Develop revenue and expense projections, approve expenditures at team level and monitor transactions for compliance with EMU Foundation policies and procedures.  Establish priorities and determine operating budgets of affiliated alumni volunteer councils and affinity groups; oversee related expenditures.  Network with outside professional groups and organizations to keep abreast of current industry trends and best practices related to alumni engagement and advancement communications.  Represent EMUF at industry or community meetings at the request of division leaders.

Supervision Received:

Vice President of Advancement and Executive Director, EMU Foundation

Supervision Exercised:

Manage a staff of 5 FTEs.

Provide ultimate oversight to a robust Advancement Student Ambassador Program (10-15 part-time, highly engaged employees)

This position and all members of the Alumni Engagement team are employees of Eastern Michigan University Foundation (EMUF).  


Qualifications and Skills:

The ideal candidate will bring many of the following professional qualities and experiences:

  • A Bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree is preferred. 
  • A minimum of seven years of experience in the planning, development, and implementation of programs, policies, and procedures in a complex higher education environment. 
  • A minimum of five years of experience managing personnel, preferably in an advancement, higher education, or nonprofit environment. 
  • Professional understanding of, and interest in, advancement best practices and general operations.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 
  • Proven success in leading alumni engagement programs and fundraising with demonstrated effectiveness in working with high-level volunteers, donors, and senior leaders. 
  • Demonstrated success building partnerships within an organization. Positive and collaborative professional philosophy, recognizing that this position is integral to the achievement of the goals and objectives of EMUF. 
  • Excellent written and oral communication and presentation skills. 
  • A disposition to listen and circulate widely; outstanding interpersonal skills. 
  • Exceptional reasoning, problem-solving, and analytical skills, including an ability to translate ideas and concepts into clear, actionable steps. 
  • Superb organizational skills and the ability to multitask. 
  • Ability to work independently as well collaboratively with team members. 
  • Some travel, nights and weekends required.

Application Information:

To apply, please complete the following application, including a resume and cover letter: Assistant Vice President, Alumni Engagement - Ypsilanti, Michigan, United States

For questions, please contact Maher Salah at

This position is classified as Hybrid, with the expectation to be on site at least 3-days per week, residing within a commutable distance to EMU’s campus.

The EMU Foundation is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer that is strongly committed to achieving excellence through cultural diversity. The Foundation actively encourages applications from women, persons of color, and applicants with disabilities, veterans, and members of other underrepresented groups.

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