Campus News

SEC Academic Fellow learning about development

Tom Reichert

Editor’s note: Tom Reichert is one of four UGA faculty members currently serving as a fellow in the SEC Academic Leadership Development Program. This is the second column in a series of first-person accounts of his experiences that he is writing for Columns.

This year I’m fortunate to be one of four University of Georgia SEC administrative fellows. The other UGA fellows are Tracie Constantino, Sarah Covert and Julian Cook. We are four of the 35 or so fellows learning about higher education administration as part of the Academic Leadership Development Program of the Southeastern Conference. The four of us are exploring areas of administration under the guidance of Meg Amstutz, associate provost for academic programs.

My goal this year is to learn about fundraising and development. As department head, it became clear to me early on that I actively need to engage in fundraising to help secure the resources my faculty and students need to get to the next level.

Our college does great work in this area, but my department was not systematically engaged with alumni and professionals on a meaningful scale. Besides, “development” was for me-as with most faculty-a foreign concept.

This year, Tom Landrum, vice president for development and alumni relations, agreed to mentor me in all things related to development. We’ve met regularly to discuss everything from an overview of UGA’s development structure to a study session on the UGA Foundation’s year-end financial statement.

I’ve also had assigned reading. For example, I read a book about fundraising indicators and another book titled New Strategies for Educational Fundraising. Needless to say, I now know the difference between annual giving and major and principal gifts. I also know the differences, though they are often subtle, between advancement, development, stewardship and donor relations. I’m gaining a better understanding of how these functions intersect with alumni relations, efforts by the Athletic Association and the Foundation.

In December, I traveled with Vice President Landrum to Washington, D.C., to meet with leadership of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. I learned that UGA is a member of this organization and that it provides resources, training and advocacy for higher education. In January I had the opportunity to meet with the director of CASE’s European office in London. In that meeting, I learned that higher education in the U.K. and EU faces important challenges in marketing and development.

This semester I’ll invest time meeting with directors in the development division, including Mac Corry, associate vice president for development, and David Jones, senior director for annual giving, among others and Cindy Coyle, executive director and chief financial officer of the UGA Foundation.

I also have been traveling to observe Bob Boehmer, new East Georgia State College president, as he launches his school’s first capital campaign. UGA is in a silent phase of its comprehensive campaign, so I’ll be able to observe differences between campaigns at both schools. Last, I’ll be working with Vice President Landrum to assemble a plan to enhance my department’s development efforts.

Leadership fellows also attend two conferences during the year. I’m especially looking forward to sessions about development.