A Place in the Higher Education Program Curriculum? An Examination of Faculty Members’ Perceptions of the Importance and Inclusion of Higher Education Fundraising in the Curriculum
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology
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In light of rising expectations for fundraising knowledge of a variety of leaders in higher education — academicians and administrators alike (Perlmutter, 2016; Drezner & Huehls, 2015; Doan & Morris, 2012; Pritchard, 2011; Hodson, 2010), this study examined higher education program (HEP) faculty perceptions of the importance of fundraising knowledge for higher education program graduates and also examined the degree to which it is integrated in their respective HEP curriculum. The Faculty Perceptions of Fundraising Survey (FPFS) was sent to 272 faculty members who held membership in the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE). Of those contacted, 95 faculty members completed the survey for a response rate of 35%. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used for data analysis in this study; however, the primary method used was quantitative. Descriptive analysis revealed 97% of faculty acknowledge that knowledge of higher education fundraising has some importance for graduates of their HEPs with 48% of participants ranking fundraising knowledge as somewhat important and nearly half, 49% of participants, ranking fundraising as important or extremely important. However, the majority of participants (54%) perceived fundraising knowledge as a low priority for prospective higher education employers when compared with other higher education topics. Descriptive analysis also indicated that 80% of participants reported no course on higher education fundraising existed in their HEP. Further, 65% of participants described fundraising slightly included in the curriculum and 33% reported fundraising as not at all included in the curriculum. Inferential analysis, utilizing Spearman correlation, found statistical significance in four areas: (1) perceived importance and employer priority (p ˂.001); (2) perceived importance and degree of inclusion (p = .040); (3) perceived importance and prior training/education in fundraising (p = .001), and (4) perceived importance and prior involvement in fundraising related activities (p = .002). No statistical significance was found in other areas. Descriptive analysis also revealed the extent to which faculty perceived other higher education topics as included and important in the curriculum. The curricula topic of “Leadership” was ranked highest both as a “major part” of the higher education program curriculum (3.31) and as “important” in the curriculum (3.41). As result of qualitative analysis two primary themes, “competing curriculum space” and “faculty expertise” emerged as barriers that prevented the inclusion of a higher education fundraising course in the HEP curriculum.