The University of Southern California (USC) is one of the most dynamic universities in the country. Its remarkable trajectory has been marked by transformational gifts that have enabled USC to recruit superb faculty and elevate programs across the university. USC’s vibrancy is matched by its home city of Los Angeles, a nexus of commerce, culture, and intellectual capital.

Under the inspirational leadership of President Carol L. Folt, USC has embarked on a new journey of transformation driven by a commitment to learn from the past and become the university of the future. The creative and entrepreneurial mindset that has helped vault USC to the top tier of U.S. research universities also permeates the Rossier School of Education, led by Dean Pedro Noguera, a nationally recognized authority on the social, economic and demographic trends that influence schools.

Founded in 1918, Rossier prides itself on innovation in all its programs, preparing teachers, administrators, and educational leaders to become change agents who drive for excellence and equity. It is a pacesetter in online graduate education, having pioneered in 2009 the first fully online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program offered by a major research university.

It supports forward-thinking scholars and researchers, whose work is having a direct impact on student outcomes in K-12 schools and higher education. USC Rossier is No. 11 in the US News & World Report rankings of graduate schools of education and has placed in the top 15 for the past four years.

To help Rossier continue on its path as one of the nation’s highest-performing education schools, it is seeking a highly skilled and talented Associate Dean for Advancement, who will report to and partner with its ambitious and nationally recognized Dean to lead advancement.

Associate Dean for Advancement


The Associate Dean will work with Dean Noguera to develop a robust culture of philanthropy and create an advancement program that will broaden the school’s base of support and enhance its long-term financial sustainability. This individual will oversee Rossier’s development, alumni relations, and event programs and should have demonstrated experience working with high-net-worth donors, foundations, corporate donors, and faculty partners.

Currently, two-thirds of Rossier’s philanthropic support is derived from foundations and corporate donors. Rossier has about 28,000 living alumni, most of whom earned master’s degrees from the school. Rossier seeks to expand individual giving beyond the alumni base, and the Associate Dean will strategically identify and engage supporters with a keen interest in supporting the work of the school, whether they be local or nationally based.

The Associate Dean will partner with advancement leadership to refine and implement a strategy to engage donors and prospects in order to achieve fundraising goals and build an enhanced, sustainable base of support for Rossier. The Dean’s fundraising priorities include scholarships for all programs, support for translational research and field-based partnerships, strategic initiatives, and recruitment and retention of faculty through endowed chairs (building on the school’s existing $70 million endowment) and other initiatives such as seed grants for innovative programs.

The Associate Dean will engage colleagues across the university, including those in central advancement and various administrative offices. Besides the Dean, this individual will work closely with members of the school’s Board of Councilors, which currently includes leaders from the educational, business, and nonprofit sectors, as well as with other leadership volunteers to engage the school’s top major and principal gift prospects. The Associate Dean will also manage and provide professional development opportunities for an advancement staff whose responsibilities include individual and institutional fundraising, alumni relations, special events, and administrative support.

The Associate Dean will have the opportunity to build a best-practices advancement program that enables Rossier to expand its leadership and impact, and fulfill its vision of “a world where every student, regardless of personal circumstance, is able to learn and succeed.”

Specific responsibilities are to:

  • Develop, implement, and lead advancement strategies that result in alumni engagement and philanthropic support for USC Rossier
  • Develop and manage all efforts to secure philanthropic support for USC Rossier
  • Conceive, implement, evaluate, and manage integrated fundraising programs and strategies to meet school goals and objectives
  • Lead the ongoing design and staffing of the fundraising infrastructure to create a sustainable, high-performing advancement function
  • Oversee goal-setting and operational planning for individual fundraisers as well as programs
  • Guide, direct, and evaluate professional and support staff and hold each team member accountable for his/her individual contribution
  • Utilize appropriate metrics for and ensure best practices in fundraising
  • Assign prospect portfolios to team members that correspond to their skill sets direct strategy for prospecting, researching, cultivating, and soliciting donations ensure timely qualification, cultivation, and solicitation of donors and prospects
  • Manage and grow a portfolio of major and principal gift prospects and donors, and maintain positive and enduring relationships that produce reciprocal benefits
  • Identify new opportunities for philanthropic support and partnership from a wide variety of sources
  • Keep the Dean apprised of the status of advancement initiatives, collaborate with the Dean in determining cultivation and solicitation strategies for Rossier’s top prospects, and provide briefs in advance of events and meetings with donors and prospects
  • As a member of the Rossier senior leadership team, advise on advancement, participate in strategic planning across the school, and ensure that advancement goals address its most pressing and future needs
  • Lead Board of Councilors development activities for Rossier, including identification and recruitment of members, training and orientation, development of meeting agendas and materials, and regular communication and engagement activities; actively cultivate and support Councilors’ involvement in development, networking, and outreach
  • Leverage high-profile alumni, volunteers, and other individuals of significance to the school and the campus
  • Collaborate with advancement colleagues across the university and represent Rossier’s needs and interests
  • Oversee budget for advancement activities, measure fundraising performance against benchmarks, and monitor and report return on investment
  • Oversee special events
  • Strengthen and expand school partnerships
  • Cultivate relationships with leaders in philanthropy for education, and
  • Other duties as assigned

Candidate Qualifications

The successful candidate will be an experienced professional who has led advancement teams in higher education and/or nonprofit organizations, understands both the higher education and K-12 educational landscapes, and has a desire to promote the Rossier School of Education and its mission. This person will have a minimum of eight years of advancement experience, with demonstrated success in major gift fundraising. Previous campaign experience involving the creation and execution of effective advancement programs is strongly desired.

The successful candidate must have the leadership ability and management experience needed to select, train, mentor and supervise staff at all levels and build a high-performing team. This person will have the vision and skills necessary to develop a robust, sustainable advancement program. The successful candidate also will have an excellent understanding of how to navigate and function within a large, complex, fast-paced and entrepreneurial environment. An ability to engage diverse internal and external stakeholders, strengthening their commitment to the organization and achieving their philanthropic support is essential. Critical to the role will be excellent communication, organizational, and leadership skills. An entrepreneurial spirit, a drive for innovation, and the ability to bring creative strategies to the table are all essential qualities. The successful candidate will have the ability to travel locally and nationally. A bachelor’s degree is required for the position. An advanced degree related to education or management will be appreciated.

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