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Job Opening: UC Davis Director of Sustainability

Apply by Monday, April 8

Provide leadership for the one of the most sustainable universities in the world! Apply to be the Director of Sustainability for UC Davis, where you can be part of a dynamic, collaborative team committed to expanding sustainability beyond climate change and resiliency into equity and environmental justice.  In addition, UC Davis career employees receive extremely competitive health and retirement benefits including:

  • 18 days of yearly vacation accrual, 14 holidays, and paid sick leave accrual start on your first day of employment
  • One of our state's best pension benefits and a retirement savings program
  • An impressive selection of medical, dental, vision and life insurance
  • Plus, much more...

LEARN MORE and APPLY by April 8th

EXPLORE UC Davis' Competitive HEALTH and RETIREMENT Benefits

Job summary

DIRECTOR OF SUSTAINABILITY (DS) is a high-profile leader who collaborates with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders to keep the university in forerunner status as the top ranked university for sustainability and guide UC Davis into the next generation of sustainability. DS is accountable for leading sustainability efforts for UC Davis and expanding sustainability beyond climate change and resiliency into equity and environmental justice.

DS coordinates engagement initiatives, events, and programs, produces timely and accurate performance reports and advises on system and infrastructure planning and policies. The DS provides vision, direction, and support for sustainability in all its dimensions, from infrastructure and operations to programs that enhance understanding and motivate action towards a more environmentally and socially sustainable and resilient future. This effort cuts across disciplines, academic departments, and administrative units. While Sustainability is housed in Design and Construction Management (DCM), successful development, management and implementation by DS requires: participation and integration across multiple UC Davis divisions (e.g., Finance, Operations and Administration, Student Affairs, Research, Health, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion); involvement with students, faculty and staff; other UC campuses and UC Office of the President; Global Affairs and the greater international higher education community; government agencies, and non-governmental organizations.

DS functions independently with significant responsibility to determine objectives, identify potential issues, develop possible solutions, propose and implement UC and UC Davis policies, recommend actions to senior leadership to achieve initiative and program goals, collect data and produce extensive and frequent performance reports and implement approved actions. DS represents UC Davis in public forums, and on multiple committees and boards organized by regional government agencies and non-governmental organizations. The management responsibilities associated with the position are critical due to the high-profile and complex nature of sustainability initiatives and programs and carrying significant financial, compliance, and public relations risk. DS oversees staff with highly specialized functions and is responsible for an annual unit operating budget with funding from multiple sources

Department purpose

The Sustainability unit resides within Campus Planning, ensuring compliance with sustainability policy targets and goals included in the design and implementation of UC Davis projects; and developing and maintaining positive and productive relationships across campus and with a wide variety of UC-wide committees and external committees, organizations, institutions and agencies to further campus sustainability and resiliency goals.

Essential responsibilities

Sustainability Planning - 50%

  • Recognized as an organization-wide expert with significant impact and influence on organizational policy and program development.
  • Represent and hold a leadership role in the UC Systemwide Sustainability Committee, Campus Advisory Committee on Sustainability (CACS) and similar university-wide committees at the Davis and Sacramento campuses.
  • Lead UC Davis on all matters related to Sustainable Practices Policy.
  • Monitor and analyze government issues, current and emerging regulatory and practice trends, and issues related to sustainability and resiliency that impact UC Davis in order to protect the interests of the campus and provide policy and political advice and strategies to senior campus leaders and the UC Office of the President. Responsible for Climate Action and Resiliency Plans.
  • Strategize, provide vision for, and manage sustainability policy requirements and sustainable systems planning for all UC Davis facilities and sustainability initiatives like Zero Waste.
  • Develop and recommend standards, policies, and ideas to promote sustainability efforts in coordination with senior management; identify desirable sustainability initiatives and assess their cost effectiveness, technical feasibility, and acceptance within the University community; analyze and report the effectiveness and results of sustainability projects.
  • Identify and pursue grant funding, rebate programs, or other revenue generating and savings programs.
  • Strategize and coordinate with relevant campus units and staff on pertinent policy and regulatory compliance.
  • Direct staff and consultants on projects in Davis, Sacramento, and outlying facilities.
  • Prepare green house gas inventories and other the sections related to sustainability for the UC Davis Long Range Development Plans, Environmental Impact Reports, and the Physical Design Frameworks.

Program Management - 30%

  • Lead the Sustainability unit by supervising program managers and assistants; direct workload planning, provide mentorship and leadership for sustainability staff and coordinate with DCM leadership to identify professional development training initiatives for staff.
  • Administer and monitor budget and expenses from multiple funding sources.
  • Represent and promote the campus on sustainability matters, both internally and externally.

Reporting - 10%

  • Strategize, provide vision for, and supervise the accurate and timely preparation of documents for reporting and compliance to UC and UC Davis policies, responses to ratings and ranking surveys, greenhouse gas inventorying, water use and conservation, waste management, and other, similar reporting and analysis functions.

Community Engagement - 10%

  • Strategize, provide vision for, and supervise communication, engagement, and outreach efforts.
  • Develop, implement, and promote engagement programs to enhance, encourage and ensure awareness of and participation in sustainability efforts.

Job Expectations

  • Highly collaborative and willing and able to work with many stakeholders.
  • Excellence in verbal and written communication, presentation, and project and event management. Composure, confidence, and gravitas to work with faculty and senior campus leadership.
  • Highly motivated and result oriented.
  • Must maintain flexibility in a continuously changing and fast-paced environment. Must make well-planned decisions.
  • Stay current on applicable environmental laws and regulations to effectively manage the overall program and recommend strategic approaches to difficult decisions.
  • Translate highly technical information so that non-technical decision makers can understand implications and trade-offs.
  • Read and follow UC Davis Principles of Community. UC Davis is a diverse community comprised of individuals having many perspectives and identities. We come from a multitude of backgrounds and experiences, with distinct needs and goals. We recognize that to create an inclusive and intellectually vibrant community, we must understand and value both our individual differences and our common ground. The UC Davis Principles of Community is an aspirational statement that embodies this commitment, and reflects the ideals we seek to uphold.


Minimum Qualifications                          

  • Bachelor’s degree in Sustainability, Environmental Studies, Natural Resource Management Planning or related field.
  • Minimum 5 years of progressively-responsible experience in leading sustainability planning, regulatory compliance and community engagement in a university, municipal or corporate setting, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Expert knowledge and understanding of sustainability and environmental policies, external regulations, theories as well as local, national, and global sustainability initiatives and best practices.
  • Expert ability managing overall program, consultants, and staff, setting goals, developing implementation strategies, managing budgets and anticipating issues likely to arise as the result of campus projects and programs.
  • Expert analytical and critical decision-making skills; advanced problem-solving skills to evaluate complex or new issues and identify options for resolution when no precedent exists. Expert analytical skills to probe, challenge and to question the status quo.
  • Expert written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills including expert level political acumen and negotiating skills.
  • Advanced ability to foster collaboration, create partnerships and maintain positive relationships; extensive experience developing and maintaining collaborative working relationships among stakeholders, and partners in the University, industry, government, the non-profit sector, and the community.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in a related field.
  • Expert level knowledge of a broad range of academic and institutional issues related to a major research university environment.
  • Extensive experience working with federal, State, local elected officials, business, civic and community leaders.
  • Experience in higher education.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of the University’s organization, operations and relevant public policy issues, including knowledge of Regental Policy regarding the University budget and legislative process, primary sources of state funding for UC, and communications with elected officials.
  • Knowledge of the relationship between UC Davis’ state, federal, and private research, education and its public service missions.
  • LEED Accredited Professional
  • ISSP Certified Sustainability Professional

Physical Demands

  • Work at a desk for extended periods of time.
  • Ability to walk project sites that may include uneven terrain.

Special Requirements

  • Background Check: This position is a critical position and subject to a background check. Employment is contingent upon successful completion of background investigation including criminal history and identity checks.

Work Environment

  • The Smoke and Tobacco Free Environment policy is intended to provide a healthier, safer, and more productive work and learning environment for the entire UC community. The University of California prohibits smoking and tobacco use at all University owned or leased properties, or facilities operated by UC staff or faculty. Smoking and tobacco use are strictly prohibited in indoor and outdoor spaces, parking lots, residential space, and University vehicles.

LEARN MORE and APPLY by April 8th

EXPLORE UC Davis' Competitive HEALTH and RETIREMENT Benefits