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Funding Strategies for Institutional Advancement of Private Universities in the United States

Applications for African/Congolese Universities

by Jean-Pierre K. Bongila

Paperback e-Book PDF
Institution: University of San Francisco
Advisor(s): Robert Niehoff, SJ., PhD.
Degree: Ed.D.
Year: 2001
Volume: 256 pages
ISBN-10: 1581121733
ISBN-13: 9781581121735


This study examined the institutional advancement programs of successful American private/Catholic universities, two private universities in the United Sates, and two institutions in the Congo. Funding strategies constitute the backbone of advancement programs for successful American private universities/colleges.

This study also investigated the funding mechanisms that successful private universities in the United States utilized to obtain philanthropic dollars. Further, the research assessed the roles of the successful private university presidents and trustees, and determined how public relations impacted the institutional advancement results of those institutions. Finally, the results of this investigation suggested practical applications for the Congolese/African universities. Grunig s Four Models of Public Relations (1992) provided the conceptual framework of this research. Grunig developed the assumption that excellent private organizations, such as private universities/colleges in the United States, utilized the two-way symmetric model of public relations/communication, which accounted for the advancement effectiveness of those institutions.

Seven American universities, two major private institutions (HARVARD and STANFORD) and five Catholic institutions (DAYTON UNIVERSITY, GEORGETOWN, SAINT THOMAS (MN), SANTA CLARA and UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO) were selected, agreed to participate in the study, and represented a sample of the 270 American colleges and universities with endowments above $100 million in 1998.

These seven universities provided quantitative and qualitative data through a cross-sectional survey and interview questionnaire. Two Congolese Catholic institutions also participated in the study. All seven universities completed the survey questionnaire, and twenty advancement staff in the United States and seven financial officers in the Congo were interviewed in one-on-one, face-to-face sessions. This study found that successful American private/Catholic universities have established focused guidelines of institutional advancement. Within advancement programs, development activities, alumni affairs and public relations contributed to the success of the private universities. The presidents of those institutions dealt actively with major donors and embodied the qualities of advancement leadership, public relations, and deep involvement in advancement operations and practiced a two-way asymmetric communication with the donor.

Although many private small institutions are struggling financially in the United States, Congolese/African institutions of post-secondary education possess no experience with institutional advancement practices. African institutions of post secondary education could benefit from adopting some of the American funding strategies.

About The Author

Native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jean-Pierre Bongila is a P/T faculty at the University of San Francisco, an Associate Pastor at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of San Francisco, and a Resident Chaplain for the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Jean-Pierre moved to the United States 6 years ago; he received his MA and Doctorate in Educational Leadership with focus on Educational Advancement in higher education. His doctoral dissertation received the Alice Beeman Research Award for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation, presented by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).