Wayne State University

Assistant Vice President, Alumni Relations & Executive Director, WSU Alumni Association
Location: Detroit, MI

Wayne State University (WSU) seeks a collegial, strategic, and entrepreneurial Assistant Vice President, Alumni Relations (AVP) to lead an industrious team of engagement professionals during a time of considerable forward momentum. As Michigan’s only urban research university and the third largest and most diverse university in the state, WSU is proud to hold the highest Carnegie Foundation ratings for both research intensiveness and community engagement. For more than 150 years, Wayne State has remained a steadfast partner in Detroit, engaging with the community and its people in ways that leave a lasting positive impact from educational access to research that solves real-world problems; from neighborhood service to workforce development; from economic innovation to public safety and social mobility. The diversity of people and cultures and the spirit and grit that animate them are mirrored in the university community.

The new AVP will join WSU at a time of considerable excitement and energy as Dr. Kimberly Andrews Espy was installed as the 14th University President in March 2024. Under her leadership, WSU will double-down on the university’s strengths: empowering social mobility, health equity, career agility, and the vibrancy of Detroit. WSU successfully completed the historic $776.5 million Pivotal Moments campaign in 2018 and is currently laying the groundwork for an ambitious $1 billion+ comprehensive campaign effort. With seventy percent of WSU alumni living locally in Southeast Michigan, the AVP will have ripe opportunity to ignite loyalty and pride in support of President Espy’s vision for robust student-alumni career linkages and institutional partnerships.

Reporting to the Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs, the AVP leads all alumni relations efforts, guiding a highly motivated and capable staff of 18 professionals with four direct reports. The AVP will serve on the Vice President’s senior team and will take an innovative yet purposeful approach to WSU’s existing alumni engagement efforts, prioritizing diversity and inclusion and focusing on multi-faceted engagement specific to the numerous career tracks and diverse backgrounds within the university’s 300,000 alumni. The successful candidate will develop, measure, and promote a range of engagement opportunities across the university, expand a regional approach to catalyzing volunteers, and build connection with and among alumni affinity groups, while ensuring a cohesive strategy across the team. The AVP will maintain a strong focus on fostering a high level of involvement and a culture of philanthropy that reflects WSU’s ambitions and distinctions, championing an integrated and collaborative approach to inspiring philanthropic support, volunteer leadership, and engaged networks.

The successful candidate is expected to have at least seven to ten years of experience with a track record of conceiving and implementing strategies that have resulted in significant increases in alumni engagement and participation. They should have a history of working collaboratively with fundraisers and designing alumni engagement plans. Strong management experience with staff, volunteers, and events teams is expected, as well as a track record of navigating a complex organization. Excellent organizational and interpersonal skills are necessary, with a philosophy of teamwork and hands-on implementation. The AVP must have a strong, metrics-driven approach to their work, an ability to work independently and set targets and goals for the Alumni Relations team based on campaign objectives and as directed by university leaders. In accordance with its core values and mission, WSU is especially interested in recruiting members of diverse communities and individuals who will promote and uphold the values embodied within the University’s Mission Statement.

Application Instructions

Wayne State University has partnered with Talent Citizen to assist in this recruitment. Please contact President Tracy D. Welsh, Managing Associate Rachel K. Partin, and Senior Associate Britni Russell-Bianchi to share your resume and cover letter via email at:

Wayne State University provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetics. The university encourages applications from women, people of color, and other underrepresented people. Wayne State is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.


The Talent Citizen Search Team

Tracy D. Welsh

President | She/Her
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Rachel K. Partin

Managing Associate | She/Her
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Britni Russell-Bianchi

Senior Associate | She/Her
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Alicia Paquette

Search Coordinator | She/Her
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