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Updated 10:00 AM September 29, 2008




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U-M to offer higher ed philanthropy degree

The nationally recognized Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education (CSHPE) in the School of Education will offer a master's concentration in philanthropy, advancement and development beginning in fall 2009.

"This new concentration area will complement well our current graduate program offerings in higher education," says Deborah Carter, director of CSHPE. "I am pleased that we are able to expand our programs to offer future higher education leaders and practitioners an option in the area of philanthropy and advancement."

The 30-credit graduate program focuses on developing leadership skills related to a wide range of emerging professional opportunities including government relations, marketing, communications, alumni relations, fund raising and development as well as institutional, corporate and foundation relations.

"This is the most quickly expanding professional area in higher education and the University is already known as a leader in this field," says John Burkhardt, a clinical professor of higher education. "We are combining the strengths of the nation's leading higher ed program with those of the historical leader in philanthropy among public universities."

Private support for higher education and non-profits has become more important in providing buildings, financial aid, program and research support. At the same time the demand for educated professionals to do this work has increased, it has met with a shortage of available professionals.

As state government support for higher education has dropped with accelerated cuts since 2002, colleges and universities have continually expanded their efforts to seek private support, creating a growing need for development specialists at all levels, says Jerry May, vice president for development.

To help meet the need for advancement professionals, U-M Development staffers and School of Education faculty last year began a development internship program for U-M undergraduates, hiring 17 interns in summer of 2007 and 20 this past summer. This new master's degree program would be the next step in the University's efforts to expand the profession of fundraising.

The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) serves 60,000 advancement professionals at nearly 3,400 higher and secondary education institutions in 61 countries. Even with the sluggish economy, this year's CASE Fundraising Index predicts in the 2008-09 academic year that annual giving to education will grow by 5.3 percent.

U-M was the first public university to establish a permanent fund-raising unit, launch a modern capital campaign in the 1960s and have a goal of $1 billion for a campaign. The Michigan Difference campaign currently underway was launched with the goal of raising more than $2.5 billion, which it surpassed before the close of the campaign.

U-M's development staff, spread throughout the University and its 19 colleges and other units, includes fund-raisers and others in supporting roles such as processing gifts, research, communications and management, May says, adding that the demand for development people is growing nationwide. The success of Michigan's development program combined with the fact that the School of Education is home to the nation's top-ranked graduate program in higher education, makes this an ideal campus to launch a professional master's program focused on the practice of higher education fundraising.

While Indiana University and Vanderbilt University offer philanthropy programs, the U-M degree would be the first focused on higher ed philanthropy, he says.

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