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CEHD and U of M Word Marks


330 Wulling Hall
86 Pleasant Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Fax: 612-624-3377

Undergraduate Studies:

Graduate Studies:



David Weerts

Associate Professor; Faculty Director of Jandris Center for Innovative Higher Education (jCENTER)

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1999, higher education administration
M.S., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1996, higher education administration
B.S., University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 1993, major: communication and journalism, minor: business administration

Org Leadership, Policy & Dev
310A WullH
86 Pleasant St S E

Tel: 612/625-2289

Download Curriculum Vitae [PDF]

Areas of Interest

Higher education finance
Institutional advancement
Community engagement
Organizational theory


Over the past ten years, my work as both practitioner and scholar has focused on helping colleges and universities build strategic alliances with external partners to the mutual benefit of institutions and constituencies they serve. My ultimate goal is to help higher education leaders and external partners (policy makers, community partners, alumni, and donors) work together more effectively to better serve public needs while building long-term financial stability for public colleges and universities.

At present, I am engaged in three distinct lines of scholarship around these broad university relations themes. First, I am conducting a 20-year longitudinal study to explore factors associated with strong and weak state support for higher education institutions since 1985. By examining this issue through rational, political, and cultural frameworks, I hope to shed light on ways that state policy makers and higher education leaders might build stronger partnerships to better serve the educational needs of their citizens. This work is funded by the Spencer Foundation. Second, I have developed a line of research to examine how pre-college, college, and post-college experiences shape civic and philanthropic behaviors of college alumni. My research on this topic has been greatly informed by my practitioner experiences as a major gifts officer at the University of Wisconsin Foundation and University of Minnesota Foundation.

My final line of scholarship focuses on community engagement efforts underway at U.S. colleges and universities. Specifically, these studies examine boundary spanning roles of engagement leaders, factors that inhibit or enable the adoption of an engagement agenda, and how institutional mission and context shape the ways in which campuses become involved with their communities. My hope is that this collective body of work will help institutions increase their capacity to collaborate with external partners and better serve the public good.

Honors and Awards

  • H. S. Warwick Award for Outstanding Published Scholarship in Alumni Relations for Educational Advancement (with co-authors Alberto Cabrera and Thomas Sanford). Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) (2010)
  • Associate, National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education
  • Rising Scholars Award, National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good, University of Michigan (2002)
  • Bobby Wright Dissertation of the Year Award, Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) (2000)

Selected Publications

  1. Weerts, D. J., (2014). State funding and the engaged university: Understanding community engagement and state appropriations for higher education. Review of Higher Education, 38(1), 133-169.

  2. Weerts, D. J., Cabrera, A. F., & Pérez, P. (2014). Uncovering classes of civically engaged college students: A latent class analysis. Review of Higher Education, 37(2), 141-168

  3. Weerts, D. J., Freed, G. F., & Morphew, C. C. (2014). Organizational identity in higher education: Conceptual and empirical perspectives. In M. N. Bastedo (Ed.), Higher education: Handbook of theory and research (Vol. 29, pp. 229-278). New York: Springer.

  4. Weerts, D. J., (2013). Higher education systems in an era of public engagement: An organizational learning perspective. In J.E. Lane & D. B. Johnstone B., (Eds.), Higher education systems 3.0: Harnessing systemness, delivering performance (SUNY Critical Issues Series, 2, pp. 283-309). Albany, NY:  State University System of New York (SUNY).

  5. Weerts, D. J., & Ronca, J. M.  (2012). Understanding differences in state support for higher education across states, sectors, and institutions: A longitudinal study. Journal of Higher Education, 83(2), 155-185.

  6. Weerts, D. J. & Sandmann, L. R. (2010). Community engagement and boundary spanning roles at public research universities. Journal of Higher Education, 81(6), 632-657.

  7. Weerts, D. J., Cabrera, A. F., & Sanford, T., (2010). Beyond giving: Political advocacy and volunteer roles of college alumni. Research in Higher Education, 51(4), 346-365.

  8. Weerts, D. J. & Hudson, E. (2009). Engagement and institutional advancement. In L. R. Sandmann, C. H. Thornton, & A. J. Jaeger. (Eds.), Institutionalizing community engagement in higher education: The first wave of Carnegie classified institutions (pp. 65-74). New Directions for Higher Education. No. 147, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Wiley Publishing.

  9. Weerts, D. J., & Sandmann, L. R. (2008). Building a two-way street: Challenges and opportunities for community engagement at research universities. Review of Higher Education, 32(1), 73-106.

  10. Weerts, D. J., & Ronca, J. M. (2008). Characteristics of alumni donors who volunteer at their alma mater. Research in Higher Education, 49(3), 274-292.

  11. Weerts, D. J. & Ronca, J. M. (2006). Examining differences in state support for higher education: A comparative study of state appropriations for research universities. Journal of Higher Education, 77(6), 935-965.

  12. Updated September 2014