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Mount Holyoke College

Director of Foundation Relations and Sponsored Research

Deerfield Associates Executive Search, Inc. has been retained by Mount Holyoke College, located in South Hadley, Massachusetts, to conduct a national search for a Director of Foundation Relations and Sponsored Research.

Established in 1837, Mount Holyoke College is the world’s longest-standing institution of higher education for women and is renowned for educating women leaders, from medical pioneers to Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights. Also offering several coeducational graduate programs, Mount Holyoke is a highly selective, diverse, nondenominational, residential, research liberal arts college.

Initially founded as the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, the school received its collegiate charter in 1888 and officially became Mount Holyoke College in 1893. Founder Mary Lyon argued that education of women was necessary for what she called “the great work of renovating the world.” From its earliest days, when Mary Lyon famously urged her students, “Go where no one else will go, do what no one else will do,” Mount Holyoke has been dedicated to the complementary goals of academic excellence and purposeful engagement in the world.

Today, the college offers 50 departmental and interdepartmental majors, including the option to design a special major. Undergraduates receive a bachelor of arts, and the College offers graduate education and credentials through PaGE (Professional and Graduate Education). Additional course offerings and majors are available through the Pioneer Valley’s Five College Consortium, which includes Amherst College, Smith College, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Additional information about Mount Holyoke College may be found at

The College is highly selective. It enrolls 2,200 students from 47 states and 57 countries. Twenty-nine percent of Mount Holyoke’s students are international citizens, and 27 percent of domestic students identify as African American, Asian American, Latina, Native American, or multiracial. Over half of incoming first-year students were in the top 10 percent of their high school classes.

Mount Holyoke’s more than 200 full-time faculty members are both innovative teachers dedicated to their students, and also active scholars, research scientists, and creative artists passionate about their disciplines. Faculty members have previously won Pulitzer and Guggenheim awards, NASA grants, and Carnegie Fellowships, and 96 percent have a doctorate or other terminal degree. Eighty percent of the faculty speak more than one language, representing more than 50 languages in all. The student to faculty ratio is 10 to 1, creating a tight-knit, diverse, and international community focused on academic excellence.

Students also benefit from three academic centers: the Weissman Center for Leadership, the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives, and the Miller Worley Center for the Environment. These centers support the academic program through public lectures by visiting scholars, conferences on issues of pressing concern, mentoring and internship opportunities, and hands-on learning experiences. The college has also established the Lynk, which allows students to connect their academic work with practical applications of the liberal arts and sciences, including experiential learning on- and off-campus. Lastly, Mount Holyoke places strong emphasis on global education, from recruiting international students and faculty to offering traditional study abroad programs to identifying international internships and research opportunities.

The Plan for Mount Holyoke – 2021

In Fall 2015, a strategic planning committee convened to begin framing the Plan for Mount Holyoke. After an initial assessment, the committee focused on four core priorities: the liberal arts and academic innovation, student experience, collaborative governance, and workload and compensation with respect to faculty and staff.

A draft plan was presented to the board of trustees in May 2016. Following that meeting, the committee continued its work, including: crafting a detailed five-year implementation plan; clarifying alignment of divisional and departmental goals including those of the Alumnae Association; developing a fundraising plan that supports the College’s strategic priorities; building a dashboard to document progress; and establishing a sustainable, five-year financial plan. More information about the Plan for Mount Holyoke and the strategic planning process may be found here:

Director of Foundation Relations and Sponsored Research

The Director of Foundation Relations and Sponsored Research takes the lead for planning, implementing, and directing a comprehensive program of foundation, corporate, and governmental support. The Director provides the expertise to advance Mount Holyoke’s interests by researching and identifying sources of support and proactively seeking opportunities to generate new proposals based on corporate and foundation guidelines and interests, and maintains strong communications and strategic relationships with donors and program officers. The Director handles many challenging and diverse projects simultaneously, including writing and editing proposals, preparing grant reports and grant- related correspondence, and conducting stewardship activities. The Director maintains respectful relationships and partnerships with the President, Dean of Faculty, center directors, faculty members, and colleagues and departments throughout the College. The Director of Foundation Relations and Sponsored Research has a dual reporting relationship to the dean of Faculty and the Vice President for Advancement.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Lead the College’s fundraising priorities in the foundation, corporation, and sponsored research area.
  • Maintain in-depth knowledge of College priorities.
  • Identify and research funding sources and opportunities, follow funding leads, and work with appropriate faculty and departments to submit highly competitive institutional grant proposals.
  • Work with the Dean of Faculty’s office, the Sponsored Research Officer, and the faculty as a whole to support faculty proposals both to government and private funding sources, for research and curriculum development grants. This includes, but is not limited to, assuring that faculty are informed of grant opportunities and potential collaborations, and assisting them with proposals, budget preparation, and grant submission.
  • Supervise the Associate Director of Foundation Relations, Sponsored Research Officer, and Foundation Relations and Sponsored Research Coordinator.
  • Monitor consistent and appropriate stewardship for institutional grants, including reports, letters, and visits as warranted.
  • Oversee preparation of internal monthly and quarterly reports of activity across all grant- seeking phases.
  • Work with Sponsored Research Officer to organize faculty workshops on pre- and post-award issues.
  • Monitor the College’s internal faculty grants process, which is staffed by the associate director.
  • Create and assess quantitative goals and objectives for grant activities, with the overall objective of increasing proposal volume, success rates, and dollars raised.
  • Collaborate with Five College corporate and foundation relationship colleagues as well as peer liberal arts college colleagues (SCAFRO).


  • Exemplary listening, speaking, writing, and editing skills.
  • Strong project management and strategic planning skills.
  • Ability to create and manage budgets.
  • Proven understanding of effective identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship techniques and strategies.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with a wide variety of constituents and inspire team work among office colleagues.
  • Willingness to work extended hours when necessary in order to meet deadlines.
  • Ability to condense complicated information and communicate it in general, lay terms.

Education and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s highly preferred.
  • Minimum of 5 years professional experience in higher education foundation sponsored research required with emphasis on writing proposals and managing complex budgets; other related experience in grantsmanship, fundraising, communications, nonprofits or project management may be considered.
  • Experience with supervising and directing staff preferred.
  • Experience working in a liberal arts college environment preferred.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative

Diversity at Mount Holyoke has long been a mark of distinction and a source of pride. The college acknowledges and values the intersections of race/ethnicity, gender, class, sexual orientation, ability, age, national origin, and religious/spiritual identities in the classroom, in cocurricular activities, and in personal relationships. The College’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is based on continual engagement and communication across campus.

Therefore, President Stephens charged a steering committee of faculty, staff, and students to spearhead a new initiative focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. The group worked with outside counsel to review existing activities and identify new areas for conversation. This was followed by a learning conference for the entire community in March 2017. Ultimately, the committee’s recommendations will be developed into a clear plan of action prior to the start of the 2017–2018 academic year. More information about the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative may be found here:


As of December 31, 2016, Mount Holyoke’s endowment was valued at $691 million and its operating expenses for the 2015-2016 fiscal year were $143 million. Distributions from the endowment contribute 26 percent of the college’s annual operating budget.


Mount Holyoke College Benefits

Mount Holyoke College is an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to diversity in education and employment.

Mount Holyoke College offers a dynamic and supportive work environment, competitive salaries and a generous benefits package including a retirement plan, paid vacations, and medical insurance.

Contact Information

To explore this superb career opportunity on a highly confidential basis please send a letter of interest and a resume (both as Microsoft Word documents) to:

Doug Cooney, Executive Search Consultant, Deerfield Associates Executive Search, Inc.
572 Washington Street, Suite 15, Wellesley, MA 02482
Telephone: 781.237.2800

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