Chief Advancement Officer, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
June 8, 2018
Full Time - Experienced
Chief Advancement Officer, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) has come a long way since Virginia Tech's modest beginnings as Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1872. Through its land-grant mission of teaching, research, and Extension, the college has been instrumental in helping agriculture and other life-science industries make significant strides in improving people's lives. Today's college is adapting to society's expectations and needs by focusing its resources and efforts on improving human health and nutrition, sustaining agriculture and the environment, reducing the reliance on fossil fuels, and developing cures for devastating and debilitating diseases.
Nationally ranked among the top institutions of its kind, CALS focuses on the science and business of living systems through learning, discovery, and engagement.
Academics – The college offers a wide range of educational programming that provides hands-on learning opportunities, including associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. During the 2017-2018 academic year, CALS enrolled 2,729 undergraduate students and 425 graduate students.
Research – Scientists and students tackle current and emerging issues in agriculture and life sciences through innovative, cutting-edge research that addresses some of the most pressing issues of our time. At approximately $115 million per year, CALS is ranked fifth among peer colleges in the National Science Foundation’s annual survey of higher education research expenditures. The college receives more funding annually from the National Institutes of Health than any other unit at Virginia Tech.
Extension – Through a system of on-campus specialists and locally based educators, Virginia Cooperative Extension delivers education in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, community viability, and 4-H youth development. Extension reaches more than 1.8 million people each year with face-to-face programs and another 1.7 million via educational information.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is a public land-grant university serving the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world community. Through its focus on teaching and learning, research and discovery, and outreach and engagement, the university creates, conveys, and applies knowledge to expand personal growth and opportunity, advance social and community development, foster economic competitiveness, and improve the quality of life. The Commonwealth of Virginia’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 34,000 students. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.
Context for Recruitment and Position Summary
Much more than “cows and plows,” the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is not your typical “ag school.” The college has expanded significantly into the life sciences, as few of its peers have, giving CALS a breadth that extends far beyond its historical focus on production agriculture and applied research therein. CALS’ progressive profile is positioning it to help solve the grand challenges of tomorrow and access new resources related to human health and wellness, family nutrition, community health, sustainability of natural resources, food security, and precision agriculture, among other areas. The work of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station and Virginia Cooperative Extension ensure that CALS is enhancing the quality of Virginians’ individual and family lives, as well as the social and economic vigor of the Commonwealth overall. Moreover, the vast, state-wide network of agricultural research and Extension centers and Extension field offices afford CALS a multitude of wide-ranging relationships with local, state, and federal governments in partnership with tens of thousands of citizens, who, through local Extension Leadership Councils, help design, implement, and evaluate needs-driven programs. With well over 100,000 youth participating annually in 4-H and youth development programs, and more than 45,000 volunteers, among other varied constituencies, Extension substantially augments CALS’ 21,000 living alumni to form the basis of a robust pipeline of stakeholders. State-of-the-art CALS facilities, agriculture and natural resources initiatives to help sustain environmental resources and profitability related to agricultural and forestry production, and Virginia Tech’s new business engagement center are fostering expansion of corporate partnerships. Having started with a focus on agriculture and the home, CALS now addresses a wide range of critical issues on a community, state, national, and global scale. Whether working in the classroom, in one of the 108 Extension field offices in Virginia, in an urban community in Fairfax County, in a research lab, or in Senegal, Africa, CALS is educating current and future leaders, and helping communities to become more sustainable and thrive.
Amid this favorable context, CALS is well-positioned to continue its ascendant path, and its advancement team will lead the college in identifying new philanthropic pathways and partnerships to achieve sustainable success. Serving as a member of the Dean’s senior management team, the Chief Advancement Officer (CAO) is responsible for planning and implementing an integrated approach to CALS’ advancement program by overseeing development, alumni relations, and communications programs to maximize the support and exposure of the college. The CAO serves as chief development officer and manager of the college’s advancement program, with responsibility for securing private philanthropic support and producing targeted alumni and constituent engagement opportunities, as well as strategic communications that shape and extend the college’s brand while furthering stakeholder engagement, programmatic initiatives, or otherwise highlighting college and Virginia Cooperative Extension priorities. The CAO will lead all campaign-related activities for the college, including the college’s participation in Virginia Tech’s next comprehensive campaign, and will be a central figure in all related college planning and strategy. Dually reporting to the CALS Dean and to the centrally-based Associate Vice President of Development for Colleges, the CAO oversees a staff of approximately 10.
Required qualifications and experience: dedication to the mission and goals of CALS and Virginia Tech; bachelor’s degree required, advanced degree preferred; minimum of seven to 10 years of experience in progressively responsible development leadership positions, which includes work in all functional areas (individual giving, institutional giving, planned giving, stewardship, alumni relations, board relations) and participation in a major capital campaign, for an institution of higher education, nonprofit organization, or other environment of similar complexity with multiple stakeholders; previous work experience in higher education and/or in a hybrid centralized-decentralized fundraising model involving multiple units is preferred; demonstrated ability to provide management oversight, leadership, and direction with at least five years of significant supervisory experience, including experience creating and managing a budget; particular strength in developing the case for support and strategic and complex fundraising plans, and executing against those plans to achieve goals and objectives; hands-on experience with six and seven-figure gifts and greater, including cultivation through solicitation and stewardship, as well as experience working with alumni and annual fund strategies; demonstrated ability in planning and executing strategic communications to complement advancement initiatives and achieve goals; experience identifying, nurturing, and motivating volunteers; skill at goal setting and measuring success, and agility in addressing alternate program directions to meet goals when necessary; ability to extract and analyze data to make effective, efficient decisions about donor strategy and process.
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Virginia Tech has retained Diversified Search to assist in this confidential search processes. Inquiries, nominations, and applications (current resumes and cover letters) should be directed electronically to:
Gerard F. Cattie, Jr.
Practice Leader – Development & Philanthropy
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