The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Higher Education Administration: Ed.D.


Educational Administration and Higher Education


School of Education

First Advisor

Steven McCullar

Second Advisor

Michael Mills

Third Advisor

Alan Walker

Fourth Advisor

Erin Heath

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

higher education, fundraising, education, administration, leadership, human resources


Private giving to higher education has increased every year since 2010 and the need for private support has been steadily increasing as cuts to state appropriations have become the norm. Increasing tuition has become highly scrutinized and higher education institutions are favoring private support to solve the gap in funding. The average tenure for a development officer stays in their job is roughly 16 months. Development positions are becoming more crucial for the financial success of a higher education institution and keeping talented development personnel is an increasingly important challenge.

In this study, high performing development officers from around the country were interviewed about their relationships with their current and former supervisors and the development officers shared the factors that have led to them staying with their institution. The findings of this study can help leaders in university advancement settings better understand the effects of exchange relationships on employee engagement and the factors that high performing development officers take into consideration when gauging their satisfaction with their position and organization.

In this study, the researcher found that individualized career paths are necessary for the engagement and long-term satisfaction of development officers. Additionally, management should work alongside development officers in the goal-setting and evaluation processes and learn more about the personal and professional factors their high performers are using to determine their career paths. This paper highlights the various factors that can affect a development officer’s level of satisfaction in their role and at their organization.



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