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Vice President for Advancement

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Cambridge, Maryland, US
Closing date
Dec 15, 2021

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Academic / Research
Conservation science
Salary Type
Employment Type
Full time
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Vice President for Advancement


Guiding our state, nation, and world toward a more sustainable future.

The Opportunity

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) seeks an experienced, engaging, and mission-driven vice president for advancement (VPA). A "Globally Eminent, Locally Relevant" institution, UMCES has a long history of leadership in the science of coastal and ocean environments and their watersheds. For more than 90 years, we have been dedicated to advancing the environmental sciences through discovery, integration, application, and education, leading the way toward better management of Maryland's natural resources and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay - the nation's largest estuarine system.

UMCES is committed to leveraging our research infrastructure and intellectual expertise to address some of the most pressing environmental problems facing society, and the VPA will play an integral role in championing this mission and providing strategic vision and leadership for all fundraising and stewardship activities. Reporting directly to the president, Dr. Peter Goodwin, and as a member of the UMCES executive leadership team, the VPA is the primary fundraiser for UMCES and will work in close collaboration with the president, unit directors, and faculty to conceive of and execute fundraising efforts that will further UMCES and its priorities and strategic initiatives. The VPA personally manages a portfolio of high-level prospects and donors, among them UMCES' most important individual, corporate, and foundation supporters.

The ideal candidate must possess proven leadership and organizational skills, a keen understanding of fundraising best practices, a strong record of securing major and principal gifts, and a demonstrated ability to build a highly efficient and effective development program. The VPA must demonstrate a high level of integrity and trust, as well as a deep commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. The successful candidate will be a self-starter who thrives in an entrepreneurial and team-oriented environment, with a sense of urgency and a clear set of priorities, but with the ability to adapt to quickly changing circumstances. The VPA will have strong communication skills and be an open, achievement-oriented professional with a proven ability to lead and motivate colleagues and volunteer board members to keep them engaged, energized, and focused on results. All inquiries, applications, and nominations for this opportunity should be directed as indicated at the end of this document.

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Today our work is more important and wide-ranging than ever, and our faculty engage in applied science and advisory work across multiple disciplines encompassing such research areas as ocean, coastal, and estuarine science; climate and energy; environmental chemistry and toxicology; fisheries and aquaculture; molecular and microbial processes; terrestrial ecology and land management; water resources and watersheds; marine biotechnology; and environmental entrepreneurship. UMCES serves as a trusted scientific advisor to state and national leaders, providing world-class, unbiased research to inform public policy, while educating future scientists to meet the global environmental challenges of the 21st century.

With a current annual operating and research budget of approximately $50 million - roughly half of which comes from the state - UMCES encompasses a network of four laboratories spanning the Allegheny Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean, along with the Maryland Sea Grant Program, which operates in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. UMCES is home to some 350 scientific and support staff, including 75 faculty members and nearly 100 graduate students who engage in cutting-edge research and science application within the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem and in locations around the world. In 2016, UMCES was granted accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education to award Masters and PhD degrees, setting the stage for further advancement and expansion of our educational programming.

Our unusual combination of assets and strengths include:

  • Innovative science towards a public service mission. Outstanding research across diverse disciplines working at local, regional, national, and international levels with contemporary relevance to such issues as climate change, ocean and coastal health, and ecosystem management. Nearly all of our faculty are engaged in research activities that have applied science, advisory, and policy elements.

  • Stature and credibility within Maryland, a state that has a longstanding commitment to higher education, that supports and values basic and applied research, and that is dedicated to the health and sustainability of the Chesapeake Bay and its ecosystems.

  • An intimate organizational culture of collaboration, shared governance, and effective leadership.

  • Proximity to Washington DC and national policymakers. UMCES graduates have gone on to environmental policy roles in Washington, and DC is a potential marketplace for UMCES professional education opportunities.

As a comparatively small, independent research and education unit within a sizable, highly respected public higher education system, UMCES has both flexibility and strong institutional support to continue to play an outsized role in environment research, education, and problem-solving, and to demonstrate to the public why this work is crucial.

Vice President for Advancement

This is a rare and compelling opportunity for an entrepreneurial and mission-driven vice president for advancement (VPA) to assume leadership in designing, articulating, and implementing a comprehensive fundraising strategy for UMCES. This individual will be a proven producer, capable of actively building and managing a portfolio of high-net-worth individual and institutional funders, and clearly communicating and prioritizing the case for supporting UMCES' unique mission.

The broad challenges and objectives for the vice president for advancement are as follows:

  • Provide impactful leadership for fundraising efforts, building an infrastructure that supports UMCES' short- and long-term goals and creates local, regional, and national affinity;
  • Further develop a prospect research process to build the pool of individual high-net-worth prospects. Deepen alliances with current donors and board members, and launch systematic initiatives to identify and target individuals capable of making major and principal level contributions;
  • Grow UMCES' base of corporate and foundation support. Provide insights and develop new strategies and tailored cases for support to enhance the organization's relationships with the business and foundation communities;
  • Guide and support the president in his role as a chief spokesperson and fundraiser. Work closely with the president and senior leadership to support public awareness opportunities as they relate to fundraising;
  • Provide comprehensive, timely, and compelling stewardship. Prioritize the stewardship of all gifts and grants in ways that strengthen donor interest in, engagement with, and commitment to UMCES;
  • Plan and carefully manage the development budget, ensuring that dollars are spent efficiently and effectively in support of UMCES goals and objectives;
  • Manage a small team in support of the priorities of the office of the VPA.

Qualifications and Experience

The successful candidate should also possess many of the following personal characteristics and professional experience:

  • A deep respect for, belief in, and ability to articulate UMCES' values and mission, and a passion for strengthening the social, economic, and environmental well-being of the region;
  • A self-motivated and entrepreneurial approach to building and guiding an advancement program, and an ability to work independently to drive growth;
  • A track record of successfully cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding leadership gifts and grants at the six- and seven-figure level;
  • At least five years of experience building a development program, formulating and executing a successful fundraising plan;
  • Excellent written, presentation, and communication skills, and the experience and inclination to be an effective, outgoing spokesperson for UMCES;
  • Adept at fostering dialogue with multiple constituencies, building coalitions, and achieving results through influence, empowerment, and understanding of the dynamics of difference and privilege;
  • A personal commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and demonstrated ability to build relationships and successfully advance diversity, inclusion, and positive change;
  • A flexible and adaptable leader who can positively impact both strategic and tactical fundraising initiatives and work well with individuals from all backgrounds;
  • Integrity, imagination, strong listening skills, and a high level of energy;
  • Bachelor's degree required.

To Apply

Please submit a cover letter, resume, and contact information of three references using the UMCES job portal below. Review of applications will begin December 14, 2021 and the position will be open until filled.

UMCES Job Portal:

UMCES is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. The USM and UMCES value gender, ethnic, and racial diversity. Women, members of minority groups, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply.
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