University of Toronto

Executive Director
Posted Date: 
Monday, September 23, 2019
Closing Date: 
Thursday, November 14, 2019

Job Description

The Opportunity

The Faculty of Arts and Science Office of Advancement is seeking a high-performing advancement professional to fill the role of Executive Director, Advancement. Possessing a significant track record of success in increasingly senior advancement leadership positions in large-scale, complex settings, the Executive Director, Advancement will bridge and leverage key relationships both within and outside of the University with the dual goals of securing outstanding fundraising revenues and alumni engagement in support of the highest academic and institutional priorities of the Faculty of Arts & Science and the University of Toronto.

The Executive Director, Advancement reports jointly to the Dean, Faculty of Arts & Science and to the Vice President, Advancement (or his/her designate). The Executive Director is a member of the Dean’s senior executive team and also a member of the Vice-President, Advancement’s University-wide Senior Advancement Leadership Team.

The Executive Director, Advancement is responsible for the development and execution of advancement plans and strategies to accomplish ambitious divisional fundraising and alumni engagement goals, as well as the related personal and team results, in close consultation with the Dean, Faculty of Arts & Science, and the Vice President, Advancement (or his/her designate). The Executive Director, Advancement is accountable for the development and fulfillment of the Faculty of Arts & Science’s advancement plans and strategies that support the Faculty of Arts & Science’s academic mission.

The Executive Director, Advancement, will provide exemplary leadership to a team of advancement professionals, in order to increase the impact and effectiveness of staff in advancing the Faculty of Arts & Science’s goals and to build the Faculty of Arts & Science’s capacity in major gifts, stewardship, annual leadership giving, and alumni engagement. By example and direction, the incumbent will significantly help create an organization and culture that values excellence, initiative, effectiveness and community and drives outstanding fundraising results.


About The Faculty of Arts & Science

The Faculty of Arts & Science at the University of Toronto is Canada’s largest and most research-intensive undergraduate and graduate enterprise, deeply committed to excellence, discovery and diversity.

The Faculty of Arts & Science is made up of 29 departments, seven colleges, and 46 interdisciplinary centres, institutes and programs and is the core of a three-campus graduate program that focuses on doctoral education and research. Unique in the world, the Faculty of Arts & Science combines three major sectors—the humanities, sciences and social sciences.

With over 32,000 undergraduate and graduate students, the Faculty of Arts & Science is home to 930 world-class scholars teaching approximately 2,400 courses arranged in 300 undergraduate programs and 70 graduate programs.

Residing in more than 190 countries around the world, the Faculty of Arts & Science has nearly 260,000 alumni that include the caliber of: Margaret Atwood, Joy Fielding, Michael Ondaatje, Rohinton Mistry, Farley Mowat, Stephen Leacock, David Cronenberg, Atom Egoyan; former Prime Ministers: William Lyon Mackenzie King, Lester B. Pearson, Arthur Meighen, and Paul Martin; former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson; Nobel Peace Prize recipients Lester B. Pearson and Dr. James Orbinski.


Advancement at the Faculty of Arts & Science

The Advancement Team is an administrative unit of the Faculty of Arts & Science and has two key functions: private-sector revenue generation and stakeholder relationship building in support of the Faculty and its units’ academic priorities. A high-performing team of about 20 staff are responsible for the cultivation and stewardship of alumni and friends, and raising awareness among current and prospective stakeholders about the importance of investing in the Faculty.

The Faculty of Arts & Science Advancement staff have responsibility for fundraising, alumni engagement, advancement communications and special events. The office works in partnership with the Vice-President, Advancement and the Division of University Advancement (DUA) to ensure alignment and consistency with the overall goals of the University and outstanding results for the Faculty.

With the remarkable conclusion of the Boundless Campaign in December 2018, the Faculty of Arts & Science successfully raised $325 million supporting transformative projects such as $25 million to expand undergraduate programs, $25 million for undergraduate scholarships and $25 million to attract and support the world’s best graduate students.

Advancement at the University of Toronto

The Division of University Advancement (DUA) promotes and supports the University of Toronto by engaging a worldwide community of more than 600,000 alumni, plus many donors and friends.  DUA encompasses a highly skilled team of staff focused in the areas of development, alumni and volunteer engagement, advancement services, and advancement marketing and communications.  The uniquely integrated structure of University Advancement encourages each division to bring its particular strengths and expertise to the common cause of advancing U of T’s relations with alumni, donors, and friends.

Having just completed the largest campaign in Canadian University history, the University of Toronto’s Boundless campaign brought together more than 100,000 donors in 99 countries to raise $2.641 billion and saw a tripling of alumni engagement. This incredible achievement reflects our supporters’ shared belief in U of T’s ability to imagine a brighter future for the city, the country and the world.

The Boundless campaign created incredible impacts for the University, by opening doors of opportunity for students through scholarships and bursaries; building major facilities to enhance undergraduate education for future generations; fuelling innovative and award-winning research, faculty and programs; and increasing engagement with alumni around the world.

Following the success of the campaign, the Division of University Advancement at the University of Toronto is even more committed to a transformative agenda deeply rooted in the University’s vision for growth and innovation.  We are focused on doubling fundraising performance on a sustainable basis; doubling the number of newly engaged alumni by 2023; achieving Advancement goals through the foundational integration of Alumni Relations and Development both centrally and through collaborations with divisional colleagues; creating an organization and culture that fosters leadership, initiative, effectiveness, and community; and contributing to the creation of an external relations strategy for a transforming image, reputation and standing of U of T along an axis of differentiation and excellence.

The Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate will have the proven experience, intellect, energy, and creativity to partner successfully with a fast-paced, innovative Dean who is actively engaged in Advancement success. With strong IQ and EQ abilities, the Executive Director will be an individual with highly developed interpersonal skills. With a focus on results, collaboration and collegiality she or he will enjoy connecting with people to persuasively convey the excitement and impact of the remarkable teaching and research done at U of T. The successful candidate will be an enterprising individual with strong internal drive, commitment to ambitious goals and a balance of enthusiasm and tenacity.

As an alumni and donor-centred team player, the successful candidate will appreciate the sum of the parts, and will take the broader University perspective in considering Faculty priorities and individual unit needs. The ideal candidate will bring broad experience in both fundraising and alumni engagement and will bring ideas about how the two areas intersect and can be leveraged to support the goals of the academic units.  Previous experience in academic advancement is preferred, including success in moving forward complex transformational gifts that significantly support the impact of the institution.

The Executive Director will collaboratively lead the development and communications of a clear strategic vision and mission for the Faculty of Arts & Science Advancement office and a strong plan to successfully implement all elements. Able to shift between thinking at the macro level and operating at the micro level, the ideal candidate will embrace the breadth and scale of the division, and the complexity that this therefore layers onto Advancement activities.

Strategic and thoughtful, the new incumbent will take the necessary time to review the landscape and understand the players before making thoughtful decisions about how to most effectively deploy various resources. The Executive Director will have a client-service mindset, and will constantly strive to find the right equilibrium between front-line fundraising, team leadership, and engagement with academic colleagues and units. The Executive Director will have a significant fundraising portfolio and will be accountable for delivering these results, in addition to balancing successful team leadership and internal engagement responsibilities.

The ideal candidate will be an inclusive listener who believes in seeking input and alignment. Diplomatic and pragmatic, the successful candidate will understand the importance of authenticity and candour in developing trusting relationships, hearing feedback, and offering guidance. Transparent and open, the Executive Director will maintain ongoing, proactive communication within and beyond the Faculty.

The new incumbent will be a strong lateral thinker who can see strategic connections between ideas, needs, opportunities, and activities. Valuing input from others, both in the Faculty and beyond, the successful candidate will proactively seek out collaborations with Advancement colleagues and other partners across the University. Patient and attentive, the Executive Director will ably guide others through complicated, nuanced situations and conversations, both internally and with donors.

The Executive Director will be an exceptional planner with strong business acumen who is able to flexibly direct the priorities and focus of the team. Consistent in behaviour and decision-making, the successful candidate will model the importance of inspiration, discipline, collaboration, and follow-through in day to day activities.

An experienced and effective delegator who provides clear direction and expectations, the ideal candidate will empower individuals to take ownership of their roles and their professional growth.  Present both physically and mentally, the Executive Director will connect regularly with the team to provide motivation, encouragement, and a sense of team cohesion. A supportive mentor who brings exceptional emotional intelligence, the successful candidate will be a confident and adept manager who is comfortable leading directors who in turn manage others.

Key responsibilities

  • Leads Faculty of Arts & Science’s advancement functions, ensuring the alignment of the Faculty of Arts & Science’s development and alumni activities with its academic and institutional priorities and with University-wide advancement initiatives – this includes respecting, abiding by and implementing Provostial and Governing Council guidelines, policies and best practices.
  • In close collaboration with the Dean, senior academic and administrative leadership of the Faculty of Arts & Science, and senior advancement leadership within the DUA, develops and implements strategies, initiatives, campaigns, and annual business plans that successfully integrate development and alumni engagement activities, deliver increasingly impressive fundraising results that meet and exceed set goals and ultimately advance the Faculty of Arts & Science’s overall academic mission.
  • Develops multi-year campaign strategies supporting the Dean’s priorities. Campaign strategies will frame the Faculty of Arts & Science’s unique strengths and opportunities, align closely with University-wide campaign structures and practices, integrate alumni and development strategies, drive fundraising and alumni engagement results that meet and exceed set goals, and rally the Faculty of Arts & Science’s community around a compelling vision for the Faculty’s longer-term aspirations and goals. Multi-year campaign strategies serve as the platform for the fundraising and alumni engagement goals detailed in annual business plans (referenced above/below).
  • Directs the Faculty of Arts & Science’s advancement staff, implementing measures to develop and maintain a strong team environment and a goal-oriented and evaluative approach to all advancement activities.
  • Oversees the development, implementation and management of the departmental budget and ensures that all HR and appointment practices comply with University policies and guidelines.
  • Provides input and advice to the Dean, the Faculty of Arts & Science’s Administrative leadership and Chairs with respect to advancement implications of campus projects, initiatives and priorities.
  • Advances community building and outreach activity as an executive committee representative of the campus by attending events, speaking engagements, and advancing the Dean’s community objectives, while always employing excellent judgment in balancing these demands with critical frontline fundraising focused activities.
  • Contributes to the University-wide Senior Advancement Leadership Team, and works closely with the AVP Divisional Relations and other members of the DUA’s leadership team as a member of the University’s senior advancement community.
  • Represents the Faculty of Arts & Science in important fora and works to ensure that University-wide initiatives appropriately recognize the distinctive nature of the Faculty of Arts & Science’s identity and requirements.
  • Initiates or participates in other projects to cultivate liaison or promote community outreach and generate goodwill toward the Faculty of Arts & Science and the University as a whole.
  • Represents the Faculty of Arts & Science on various University committees and boards involved in advancement activities



  • Partnering with and supported by the DUA leadership, prepares an annual business plan driven by the multi-year campaign strategies.  Annual business plans outline the Faculty of Arts & Science’s detailed advancement and alumni engagement goals, priorities and objectives. Establishes fundraising priorities and goals in conjunction with various stakeholders both within the faculty and within the DUA and ensures that goals are achieved.
  • Working in close collaboration with the DUA Prospect Management office, oversees the management of the Faculty of Arts & Science major gift prospects, ensuring gift officers have strong prospect portfolios and supports that enable them to meet University-wide major gift performance standards, and ensuring major gift prospects enjoy tailored cultivation and stewardship strategies that are designed to enhance their interest and involvement in the Faculty of Arts & Science and the wider University; maximizing their satisfaction and giving over time.
  • Defines ambitious goals and desired outcomes for the incumbent’s own major gift prospect portfolio; identifies, cultivates and solicits prospective donors, and effectively stewards all donors.
  • Oversees the design and implementation of an overall donor relations program that complements other University initiatives while focusing on stewardship of all donors to the Faculty of Arts & Science.
  • Ensures the coordination of the recognition of donors at all levels pursuant to University guidelines for stewardship.
  • Recruits strategic volunteer leadership and manages volunteer committees established to support the Faculty of Arts & Science’s advancement activities, to help broaden the base of meaningfully engaged prospects and donors and to help create and project an environment of meaningful engagement with, as well as warmth and appreciation for, the Faculty of Arts & Science’s donor community.
  • Ensures that the Faculty of Arts & Science’s fundraising priorities, funding proposals, gift agreements, and gift announcement strategies are developed to the University’s standards in close collaboration with senior DUA leaders and in compliance with all relevant Provostial and Governing Council policies for approval, so that they protect academic integrity, embody/exemplify best practice, manage reputational issues, support equity across the University, and achieve optimal results.
  • In service to the Dean’s stated fundraising priorities, establishes the infrastructure to support the needs and aspirations of the Faculty of Arts & Science’s academic units within the Faculty of Arts & Science’s overall advancement strategy and annual plan. Advises Chairs and Directors on strategic plans and policies relating to advancement and ensures the development and implementation of appropriate, effective and coordinated programs at the departmental level. Works proactively to strategically engage and leverage the Faculty of Arts & Science departmental leadership and staff in support of the Faculty of Arts & Science’s Advancement mission.
  • Works with senior academic leaders and their faculty to advance prospects and steward donors.
  • Oversees the gift planning activity for the faculty, ensuring that the program is fully functional.
  • Maintains communications with key stakeholders (departments, alumni, students) on development strategies, activities and achievements.


Alumni Relations

  • Oversees the development and implementation of the Faculty of Arts & Science’s alumni relations activities, ensuring consistency with the Faculty of Arts & Science’s advancement strategic goals and objectives and with University-wide standards and best practices for alumni engagement and programming and ensuring integration with desired development outcomes.
  • Working in close collaboration with the AVP Alumni Relations and her senior team, enables the development of plans and strategies in support of both acquiring and deepening alumni engagement. Actively collaborates with DUA Alumni Relations’ team on the alignment, evolution, and continuous improvement of alumni engagement strategies and seeks to lever these efforts to support philanthropic goals.
  • Facilitates and ensures close collaboration of the Faculty of Arts & Science advancement staff (notably alumni relations team members) with DUA alumni staff on University-wide alumni programs through a functional dotted line reporting relationship to DUA’s AVP Alumni Relations.
  • Selectively builds relationships with high profile and/or highly motivated alumni and in consultation with DUA determines the best way for larger scale alumni engagement and follow up. Ensures the development of effective volunteer identification and recruitment programs to develop resources for various Faculty of Arts & Science needs.
  • Works with the AVP Alumni Relations and AVP Divisional Relations in the development of annual business plans and strategies that communicate ambitious, clear, measurable goals for alumni engagement, and ensures that the Faculty of Arts & Science’s engagement data is recorded in University-wide systems.


Advancement Communications

  • Partners with FAS Advancement Communications to support the development and implementation of the Faculty of Arts & Science’s advancement communications strategies and alignment of all messaging with the Faculty of Arts & Science’s overall communications priorities.
  • Works closely with the DUA’s advancement communications and marketing unit to develop persuasive advancement communications materials that project a compelling vision for the Faculty of Arts & Science’s unique strengths and opportunities.


Operations and Finance

  • Develops, implements and manages the overall Faculty of Arts & Science advancement budget.
  • Develops plans for use of budgetary resources in collaboration with the Dean, Faculty of Arts & Science and the Vice President, Advancement.
  • Tracks financial performance including revenue/experience and budget controls.


Human Resources Management

  • The Executive Director gives guidance and direction to staff on an ongoing basis to ensure fair and equitable treatment.
  • Oversees staff and provides direction to managers responsible for areas including annual giving, major gifts, stewardship, alumni relations and special events.
  • Provides FAS Advancement Communications Director with input on communications and media staff performance.
  • Has full managerial authority over the staff in the work unit/department (see Organizational Chart; page 13).
  • Working in close collaboration with the Dean, the Faculty of Arts & Science Chief Administrative Officer and Director Administrative Human Resources and AVP Divisional Relations, plans strategically for and defines the organizational structure for the advancement unit, including the development of its organizational structure, organizational change, hiring, layoff, demotions, creating and eliminating positions, defining classifications and the qualifications for positions.
  • Provides direction to staff on the kinds of equipment used, the methods and techniques of work, the work assignments, duties and responsibilities of positions and the classifications and qualifications of positions as well as other management rights contained in appropriate collective agreements.
  • Defines duties and responsibilities of staff including defining hours of work, the schedules of work, and the methods and techniques of work.
  • Determines work assignments for staff based on understanding of needs, individual skill, project, requirements and availability of resources.
  • Ensures work tasks are completed on schedule and standards and policies are followed by staff.
  • Approves work of staff to ensure quality of work.
  • Has budget responsibilities related to the human resources management.
  • Hires staff based on assessment of candidates and understanding of the department’s needs.
  • Discusses performance with employees to provide feedback and address performance related issues as part of the employee development process.
  • In consultation with the Faculty of Arts & Science Human Resources, disciplines employees where necessary and appropriate.
  • In close collaboration with the AVP Divisional Relations and the Faculty of Arts & Science Human Resources, evaluates employee performance based on assessment of individual’s work and achievement of performance goals, determines appropriate salary adjustments for employees based on performance and organization salary structure, terminates employment when necessary (e.g., for cause or as a result of organizational restructuring).
  • Consults with HR when dealing with serious issues that affect employment relationships.
  • Strategically manages labour relations implications of business disruptions; participates as representative of department in broader strategic management initiatives related to planning for business disruptions in the University.
  • Develops plans and work processes for department projects based on understanding of project requirements and timelines.
  • Guides department staff by providing the necessary direction and training to complete department/project work, based on knowledge of department procedures and specialized expertise.
  • Recommends training courses, seminars and conferences for staff to update and enhance their skills and knowledge.
  • Resolves technical problems and staff-related issues that arise during department/project work on a timely basis, to ensure work can be completed with minimal delay.
  • Manages conflict between staff members.
  • Discusses informal complaints and step 1 grievances from unionized staff with employees, Human Resources and Labour Relations.
  • Resolves informal complaints from unionized staff, in consultation with Human Resources and Labour Relations.
  • Determines appropriate disposition of the grievance, in consultation with Human Resources and Labour Relations, based on knowledge of collective agreements and labour relations procedures.
  • Provides documentation and information to legal counsel in preparation for grievance arbitration hearings.
  • Presents evidence at arbitration hearings on behalf of management where unionized staff is involved.
  • Recommends exceptional pay adjustments for unionized staff based on evaluation of performance.
  • Maintains positive relations with union representatives.


Experience & Competencies

Required Experience & Education

  • University degree(s), preferably including a professional or graduate degree, or similar.
  • Significant and progressive direct fundraising experience and a proven track record of executive advancement responsibility and leadership in annual, major and planned giving programs in a large complex organization, preferably in an educational or medical institution.  Ideally a proven track record in securing 7 and 8 figure gifts.
  • Experience in a management capacity and directing the work of others.
  • Experience in organizing complex programs and events.
  • Demonstrated volunteer management experience.
  • Highly knowledgeable and experienced in both new and traditional channels of revenue generation.
  • Proficient with and demonstrated experience working with Microsoft Office suite.
  • Experience working with Arbor or a similar donor and alumni database management system.
  • Demonstrated strategic conceptualization, analytical and planning skills. Knowledge of current trends as they relate to duties and responsibilities of the role.


Abilities, Qualities, and Attributes

  • Vision, the ability to think and plan strategically, and a creative, entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Demonstrated experience and success managing, motivating, and mentoring volunteers and advancement professionals, bringing out the best in teams and individuals.
  • The ability to mentor, coach, motivate and inspire colleagues and volunteers.
  • High level of initiative, maturity, tact and diplomacy; excellent judgement and discretion.
  • A deep understanding of and sympathy for the mission of an academic and research-intensive university.
  • The ability to serve as an articulate, credible representative of the University with diverse constituencies and particularly with the sophisticated individuals who support the institution.
  • The ability to understand the research and teaching dimensions of a proposed project, to conceptualize them in an integrated proposal, and to make a compelling case to a donor for philanthropic support.
  • An engaging personal style, a sincere interest in people, patience, a willingness to listen, and the capacity to engender trust and to establish lasting relationships.
  • Reputation for integrity, openness, decisiveness and sound judgement.
  • A high level of comfort interacting with academic leaders as well as donors and volunteers.
  • The ability to navigate and be effective within a complex matrix organization that values collaboration and teamwork as well as individual initiative and creativity.
  • Excellent attention to detail and superb organizational skills, including the ability to set ambitious fundraising goals and to establish an internal system for meeting deadlines, tracking, follow-up, monitoring, and reporting of progress.
  • Ability to work in a hectic and results-oriented environment with a strong focus on results; ability to meet deadlines and budgets.
  • A high energy level, an appropriate degree of sophistication and self-confidence, optimism (and the ability to engender optimism in others) and a sense of humour.
  • Exceptional oral and written communication, presentation and interpersonal skills.
  • Exceptional analytical, problem-solving, communication and persuasive skills.
  • Cultural sensitivity and capacity to work with international students and donors.


Other Considerations

  • Valid driver’s license and access to personal vehicle required.
  • Valid passport for international travel required.
  • Cultural sensitivity to work with international students and donors.


Application Process

For more information, interested individuals are invited to contact Tara George, Partner/Lead, Search + Talent via email at by November 14, 2019.

To view the full Executive Brief, please visit:

Candidates who are interested in applying for this position should please send a resume and letter of interest to the email address listed above. All inquiries and applications will be held in strict confidence. If you require accommodation during the recruitment and selection process, please let us know. We will work with you to provide a seamless recruitment experience.


The University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from racialized persons / persons of colour, women, Indigenous / Aboriginal People of North America, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ persons, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.

Canada’s leading teaching and research University, the University of Toronto is ranked one of the Greater Toronto’s Top 100 Employers 2019 and one of Canada’s Top Family-Friendly Employers for 2019. Committed to enhancing the diversity and experience of both staff and students, U of T offers employees challenging work, flexible family-friendly programs and opportunities for professional and personal development.