The unit formerly known as the Division of Development and Alumni Engagement is gearing up for the public phase of Western Carolina University’s comprehensive fundraising campaign by making some internal changes aimed at better positioning the campaign for success. In addition to the recent appointment of an assistant vice chancellor and wrapping up searches that are currently underway to fill vacant development director positions, the division has changed the sign on the front door of its suite. Effective July 1, the unit is known simply as Advancement.

The new name for the unit was approved recently by the university’s Executive Council and is based on a recommendation after a comprehensive administrative program review completed by Washburn and McGoldrick, a national consulting firm that has worked with educational institutions across the country.

The more succinct name “Advancement” is designed to recognize the change in leadership last year from an associate vice chancellor to a permanent vice chancellor and to more accurately represent the comprehensive nature of the role of the unit, said Lori Lewis, the division’s vice chancellor. “We are not only responsible for alumni engagement and fundraising but also outreach and communication to all constituents about the impact of gifts as well as the importance of financially supporting and being involved with WCU,” Lewis said.

Although the university once had a Division of Advancement and External Affairs, the change of name for the unit does not reflect a return to that old organizational structure, Lewis said. WCU’s external affairs functions – including marketing, communications, public relations, government relations and special events – which were part of the previous division that was dissolved in 2013, remain under the executive leadership of Chief of Staff Melissa Canady Wargo in the Chancellor’s Division.