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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Norena Badway

First Committee Member

Lynn Beck

Second Committee Member

Dennis Brennan

Third Committee Member

Edward Leland


This study is designed to identify traits that enable the novice professional to advance toward expertise in fundraising in higher education. The goal was to develop a conceptual framework that explains how the novice professional can advance toward expertise in fundraising in the higher education sector. This study found that CFREs employed in higher education tend to be Caucasian females between 41 and 60 years of age who move between jobs more commonly and tend to have less formal education than the older males now heading toward retirement. Male or female, younger or more mature, CFREs in this study tended to have fallen into their current careers by accident or without formal training for the profession. CFREs tend to rely upon annual conferences and informal networking for professional development rather than formal education. CFREs in this study identified several traits requisite for expertise in the field, even if they did not exhibit some of those traits themselves. Based upon these findings, a model for skill acquisition in higher education fundraising is proposed, and based upon that model a set of recommendations is offered for revisions to the current qualification and testing of CFREs and for the development of curriculum that will foster expertise. This curriculum is both replicable at multiple sites and expandable to other institutions and to online delivery, providing the industry with a means by which to prepare more fundraising professionals to meet the growing need in the sector.





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