College of Education and Human Development

Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development

David Weerts

  • Professor; Associate Vice Provost for Public Engagement, University of Minnesota System

David Weerts

Areas of interest

Higher education leadership, finance, and organizations
State-university relations
Public engagement
Institutional advancement


PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison, higher education administration
MS, University of Wisconsin-Madison, higher education administration
BS, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, major: communication and journalism, minor: business administration


Over the past fifteen years, my scholarly work has focused on helping college and university leaders build productive relationships with external partners including state policy makers, community partners, alumni, and donors. In pursuing this agenda, my research lies at the intersections of state-university relations, community engagement, institutional advancement, higher education leadership, and organizational development. My recent studies include historical analyses of state-university relations, longitudinal analyses of state appropriations for higher education, latent variable analyses predicting alumni support behaviors, and case studies of university-community engagement practices. These investigations rely on variety of disciplinary frames from economics, political science, sociology of organizations, social psychology, history, and religion.

My work on these topics has been greatly informed by my experiences as a major gifts officer at the University of Wisconsin Foundation and University of Minnesota Foundation, and as past director of the Center for Innovative Higher Education.

Courses taught

OLPD 8702—Administration and Leadership in Higher Education
OLPD 8703—Public Policy in Higher Education


Weerts, D. J. (2021). The organizational ecology of state support for public flagship universities. Teachers College Record, 123(8) ID 23776

Weerts, D. J. (2019). Resource Development and the Community Engagement Professional: Building and Sustaining Engaged Institutions. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement23(1), 9-34.

Weerts, D.J. & Cabrera, A. F. (2018). Alumni giving as civic expression. Philanthropy & Education 2(1), 1-24.

Weerts, D. J. (2017). From covenant to contract: Changing conceptions of public research universities in American society. The Good Society, 25(2-3), 182-208.

Weerts, D. J., (2016). Engagement champions: How trustees connect campus and community, boost institutional engagement, and serve the public good. Trusteeship, July/August, 18-23.

Weerts, D. J., (2015). The public-good variable: Can public engagement boost state support for higher education? Change, 47(3), 20-25.

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.

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

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.