Educational institutions can be very complex. Advancement professionals must have the capacity to navigate this complexity. As we interact with key external stakeholders, we must be able to convey the breadth of our institutional activity, and that means partnering with internal colleagues who can communicate the vision for and impact of their teaching and research at a deeper level.
Some of my most treasured moments as an advancement professional occurred when connecting generous and interested donors to the inspiring work of my academic colleagues. It was wonderful to play a part in nurturing key relationships, within and beyond the institution, that resulted in meaningful, strategic outcomes.
Academics at our institutions have a common denominator: the energy of those who live a life of scholarship and, in some contexts, research, and who pass that passion on through generations. As the daughter of an academic dean and professor and the wife of a schoolteacher, I have personally experienced the exuberance that a life of scholarship creates and how that exuberance generates such goodwill.
Advancement professionals need to be curious, spend time deepening our understanding of our institutions’ teaching and research, and get to know our colleagues leading this work. We would not exist without our academic colleagues, and without our teams, they would not benefit from the extra investment, connections, resources, and publicity. We are in this together.
CASE has long provided resources and service to support advancement professionals in their work with academic leaders. We’ve also offered various opportunities for academic leaders to learn about advancement—from our highly successful Development for Deans conferences to our international study tours for deans, presidents, and vice chancellors.
When I speak at convenings of academic and institutional leaders, I share the tenets of our work, our Global Reporting Standards, and our Strategic Intent of defining the competencies for the profession. Academic leaders understand, viscerally, the standards at the root of professions. They have their own discipline-based principles of practice and ethical codes. This is a source of shared experience for advancement professionals and academicians.