Reports & Commentaries
M&L Special Reports

Managing Rising Expectations: The CDO’s Complex Role in American Research Universites

Almost everyone would agree that fundraising has become more critical over time as American research universities compete for star faculty, gifted students, and resources to sustain quality on campus. The pressure to raise philanthropic funds has increased substantially since the recession of 2008 as university endowment returns have declined, political and moral pressure has moderated tuition hikes, and federal grant-making has declined in real terms, thus reducing overhead recapture for the research enterprise on campus. With this context in mind, some colleagues and I wanted to measure the attitudes of current chief development officers (CDOs) and, for sake of comparison, the opinions of associate vice presidents (AVPs) about leadership and management of development operations in research universities. The fundamental question we wanted to answer was this: What are the critical competencies and skills needed to succeed in this pressured environment and how are they changing over time?

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