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The Advancement Academy, launched in February 2015 by The University of Texas System, is designed to support the over 900 UT advancement professionals, including 300 frontline officers and development leaders, working throughout the state. The Academy provides complimentary, superior training opportunities customized for UT advancement professionals and desires to establish an esprit de corps among its advancement learning community. Professional development programs are created to align with career paths – new hires, rising stars, and high performers. To date, the Academy has offered 25 learning opportunities to almost 800 UT advancement professionals.
The curriculum follows four tracks:
Leadership and Management
It’s been said a team or organization can’t rise above the level of its leadership. This learning track distinguishes between leadership and management skills and offers programs to assist vice presidents and senior leaders in decision making, office culture, communications, succession planning, and managing the team. Just as important, the track also offers programs to help the mid-manager and first-time manager be successful.
Major and Principal Gifts
In this track, the art and science of fundraising comes to life with strategies and skills for all levels. Included in this track is corporation, foundations, and planned giving. Where possible, professionals in supporting services such as research and stewardship are included in the training.
Annual Giving and Alumni Relations
Here, best practice in annual giving is showcased with strategies for various audiences, skills in segmenting, multi-channel approaches, measuring results, and looking for trends. Also featured are specific strategies and programs that drive alumni participation.
Advancement Services and Constituent Relations
A wide range of programs is offered on database management, records, research, reports, Regents’ rules, gift receipting, endowment compliance, stewardship, and board development.
These professionally presented workshops allow participants to acquire knowledge, skills, best practice, and strategies at the appropriate time in their career paths. A special “boot camp” was developed which provides new hires and recently promoted individuals the additional tools to be successful.
It is our goal that UT institutions will have an innovative learning community for advancement professionals, institutional leaders, and volunteers who want to improve leadership, fundraising, and communication skills; donors will be better served; and UT institutions will attract, retain, and develop high performing individuals who are well equipped to implement philanthropic, donor-centric strategies and engage various constituencies in support of institutional priorities.
“The feedback from my team on the overall program was excellent. I can't tell you enough how superior the UT System Advancement Academy programs are to many of the national conferences I have attended."
-Amanda Billings, VP for Development, UT Southwestern
"I appreciated the range of examples from other [UT] institutions. It was a great source of inspiration and ideas as we build on our own campaign."
-Kyla Achard, UT Austin