The University of California, Merced is the newest of the University of California system’s 10 campuses and the first American research university built in the 21st century. With over 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students, UC Merced offers an environment that combines a commitment to diversity, inclusion, collaboration, and professional development. With bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs, strong research and academic partnerships, and community involvement, the UC Merced campus is continually evolving and requires talented, knowledgeable, and dynamic educators, researchers, management, and staff.

Ranked among the best public universities in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, UC Merced is uniquely equipped to provide educational opportunities to highly qualified students from throughout California. The campus enjoys a special connection with nearby Yosemite National Park, is on the cutting edge of sustainability in construction and design, and supports the economic development of Merced and the region.

In fall 2016, UC Merced broke ground on a $1.3 billion public-private partnership that is unprecedented in higher education. The Merced 2020 Project will nearly double the physical capacity of the campus by 2020, enhancing academic distinction, student success, and research excellence.

The Position


Reporting to the vice chancellor for student affairs and serving as the senior aide, the chief of staff (CoS) for the Division of Student Affairs serves as the key advisor on matters connected to the division’s mission of student success. The CoS will work closely with the vice chancellor and the student affairs leadership team on efforts that support the division’s strategic initiatives and annual goals around student success. On behalf of the division, the CoS liaisons on high-level strategy and initiatives with key campus partners, including: Academic Affairs, External Relations, Planning & Budget, Human Resources, Information Technology, and Communication. Aligned with the division’s strategic initiatives on student success, the position supports the efforts of the unit leads within the division around the coordination of resource allocation, personnel, and continuous and integrated improvements. Working closely with students, the CoS will coordinate efforts to create student input in divisional decision-making and avenues for student voice in campus planning. The CoS serves as a delegated authority in the vice chancellor’s absence on a wide range of matters, including budget, personnel, and general business operations. The CoS is empowered to make decisions on behalf of the vice chancellor and is charged to ensure the success of key divisional objectives. Further, the CoS is independently responsible for the assessment of inquiries and initiatives directed to the vice chancellor, determines the proper course of action for such requests, and delegates to the appropriate individual for resolution. The CoS works closely with the executive assistant in order to ensure efficient operations within the Office of the Vice Chancellor.

Key responsibilities include:

  • On behalf of the vice chancellor, coordinates with other senior leaders and departmental directors on strategic matters impacting the division, the institution, its staff, and its students. Analyzes and summarizes key items that come before the division, assessing items for short- and long-term implications at the institutional, divisional and unit level and makes recommendations directly to the vice chancellor. Oversees analysis and policy development for issues and processes.
  • The CoS will have coordinating oversight for operational, administrative, and personnel policies and procedures within the division. These activities include recruitment, retention, promotion, talent identification, development, and performance management. In this capacity, the CoS manages a number of highly-confidential activities. The CoS will undertake continuous review of processes and procedures in order to be certain divisional activities align with institutional objectives and makes recommendations to improve efficiency and consistency.
  • Responsible for coordination of items referred to the vice chancellor’s office. Routes items to the appropriate entity or works directly with the vice chancellor to ensure timely and efficient response. Coordinates elements of the vice chancellor’s correspondence (including on-line) and day-to-day agenda. Regularly engaged in review of highly confidential matters.
  • Represents the vice chancellor on institutional committees and, as appropriate, is delegated signature authority in the vice chancellor’s absence.
  • Provides administrative leadership on initiatives, including the design and management of projects and programs, integral to student success. Coordinates divisional events and activities, working with other staff in the division, including but not limited to the annual All Staff Meeting, workshops and professional development programs, and senior level searches.
  • Provides risk assessment and mitigation analyses at both the divisional and unit level, including coordination with key campus stakeholders (Risk, Internal Audit, Human Resources, Budget) to develop and maintain appropriate controls.


This is a newly created position designed to support the vice chancellor of student affairs as well as the work of the entire division while furthering the division’s mission of student success.


The new chief of staff will encounter the opportunities, priorities, and challenges listed below.

  • UC Merced is an extremely innovative institution with a dedicated faculty and staff focused on making the institution special.
  • The students of UC Merced are truly exceptional and want to be engaged with the Division of Student Affairs.
  • Earn the respect of the campus community through accessibility, honesty, visibility, and transparency.
  • UC Merced is a very relational campus; still small enough to know everyone and make genuine connections with students, staff, faculty, and parents.
  • UC Merced, as a young institution, continues to experience a good amount of change; a new CoS will need to be equipped to work well in a continually evolving environment and to facilitate the division’s understanding and acceptance of changes.
  • Merced is a city on the rise, with a downtown being revitalized, new construction, and a deep respect for the institution.
  • As a new position, the CoS position will be very fluid as specific projects, tasks, and responsibilities are further defined.
  • UC Merced will be searching for a new chancellor this coming academic year, with an interim serving in this capacity while the search is being conducted.
  • The Merced 2020 project offers an exceptional opportunity to further enhance both student and academic life.
  • UC Merced’s mission is focused on teaching, research, and public service, while promoting and celebrating the diversity of all members of the community. The CoS will embrace this mission and ensure that all programs, services, initiatives, and endeavors of the division align with and support this mission and the students of UC Merced.
  • Ability to positively represent student affairs and its work to the campus and the community by accurately and authentically telling their story.
  • The CoS must be extremely visible and approachable on campus and within the Merced community, attending events on and off campus often outside of normal work hours.
  • The CoS is expected to share in leadership decisions and initiatives focused on the future of not just the division but also the institution.
  • It is important to get to know, listen to, and value all students, not just those serving in leadership positions.
  • The new CoS must take the time to get to truly know the entire division, their roles, talents, and contributions to the organization and student success.


At an appropriate interval after joining UC Merced, the following items will initially define success for the chief of staff:

  • The CoS will have meaningfully contributed to division-wide initiatives focused on student success.
  • The CoS will have become a trusted and valued member of the UC Merced and broader Merced community, seamlessly serving as an acceptable substitute for the vice chancellor when needed.
  • The CoS will have constructed mechanisms to measure the impact of division-wide initiatives focused on student success.
  • The CoS will have created multiple avenues to allow for students’ voices to be heard.
  • The CoS will have helped to enhance the efficiency of the VCSA office and operational/administrative tasks.


A bachelor’s degree in a related area of study and five years of progressively related experience in Student Affairs or equivalent experience/training are required. An advanced degree such as Masters, PhD, or EdD in higher education or related field of study is preferred. The successful candidates will have advanced knowledge of student development theory, student identity development, and cultural competency.  Demonstrated skills in short- and long-range planning, program and project management, facilitation, and collaboration are critical. In addition, the CoS will have a proven ability to focus on priorities, strategies, and vision; advanced ability to coach and facilitate collaboration at all levels of the organization; and advanced ability to build and maintain relationships with a broad range of faculty, staff, students, and members of the community.

In addition to the above-stated qualifications and characteristics, UC Merced stakeholders identified the following characteristics as important to the chief of staff (in no particular order):

  • Profound interest in student success with a broad knowledge of student affairs, best practices, the profession, and a commitment to encourage and support professional development and mentoring experiences at all levels within the division.
  • Solid critical thinking capabilities and demonstrated experience incorporating mission, goals, and initiatives with sound strategic plans.
  • Bring an entrepreneurial spirit to the position with creative approaches to allocating resources, cultivating donors, and fundraising.
  • Politically perceptive to successfully navigate a diverse and complex campus environment.
  • Strong understanding of the division’s needs and goals with the facility to strategically advocate for the division’s across campus.
  • Demonstrated commitment to trust, honesty, and transparency in all endeavors.
  • Superior organization and project management skills with a keen awareness for details, administrative functions, and higher education trends.
  • Excellent communication skills with the capacity to successfully tailor the message for the audience.
  • Skilled in the collection of data and ability to analyze and make educated decisions.
  • Compassionate, ethical leader with excellent communication skills to clearly articulate vision, direction, and purpose and earn the respect and confidence of the faculty, staff, students, parents, and alumni.
  • Commitment to using best practices, technology, and innovation to continually provide students with innovative programs and services.
  • Proficient at formulating policies and protocols to guide and support the work of the division.
  • Ability to effectively manage daily activities and operations while always being cognizant of the larger issues impacting higher education on a regional, state, and national level.
  • An understanding and deep commitment to social justice and demonstrated cultural competence with a strong belief in the value of diversity in enriching the learning experience and the quality of life on campus.
  • Understanding and appreciation of how academic affairs and student affairs intersect to provide a holistic experience for students.
  • A commitment to infusing a student-centered/student-first approach to learning and engagement throughout the division’s programs and services.
  • Strong community builder and collaborator, capable of building bridges to departments, faculty, staff, students, and the community of Merced.
  • Highly energetic individual with a strong sense of self and ability to appropriately infuse humor and enthusiasm into the workplace and campus community.
  • Ability to genuinely connect with, support, and relate to a highly engaged, diverse, and intelligent student body by being visible and accessible to all students, attending student events of all kinds, and serving as a strong resource.


As the 10th campus of the University of California, UC Merced’s mission is to achieve excellence in teaching, research, and public service. Staff members and units within the Division of Student Affairs work to support the campus’s mission and to assist undergraduate and graduate students to achieve excellence inside and outside of the classroom and laboratory. The Division of Student Affairs strives to be a leading model of innovative approaches for student-centered initiatives as we deliberately grow to meet the expanding needs of our richly diverse students, alumni, and community.


The vision of Student Affairs is to be a national model for innovative Student Success initiatives at a public, research university through the advancement of access and equity programs, the development of a community of scholars, and the integration of curricular and co-curricular educational experiences.


The mission of Student Affairs is to advance the university’s commitment to Student Success by providing support, guidance, and resources that equip students with the tools to successfully accomplish their academic, career, and personal goals.

Strategic Initiatives

The strategic initiatives for Student Affairs are focused on the advancement of access and equity programs, the development of a community of scholars, and the integration of curricular and co-curricular educational experiences.

Student Success

UC Merced is committed to the success of all students in the pursuit of their educational goals.

Successful students at UC Merced develop a passion and capacity for lifelong learning and for creating and sharing knowledge, consistent with our distinctive context as a public research university. UC Merced celebrates our location in California’s San Joaquin Valley, which provides unique opportunities to shape our communities and enable students to become engaged citizens. The institution believes every student possesses a unique and valuable perspective that enriches and transforms our community.

At UC Merced, student success results from a collaboration and shared responsibility among students, faculty, staff, and administration. Because student success is at the heart of their planning and decision-making, they use robust and meaningful evidence to inform decisions about programs, policies, and practices. Providing support, guidance, and resources that equip students to pursue their educational journey creates the foundation for student success. Students achieve success by actively engaging in opportunities for growth in and out of the classroom. These experiences ensure that students have the tools to complete their academic, career, and personal goals.

Integrative & Innovative Experiences

  • Incorporate opportunities for active learning through high impact practices that include internships, learning-communities, and learning support
  • Strengthen and develop curricular and co-curricular learning
  • Increase student participation in leadership, civic engagement, environmental and sustainable initiatives, recreation, and cultural opportunities
  • Promote student health, safety, and well-being through integrity, personal responsibility, and critical decision-making

Equity & Access

  • Increase access to post-secondary opportunities for youth in the Central Valley
  • Promote access to the University of California for academically eligible students
  • Improve the retention and graduation rates for all students at UC Merced

Community of Scholars

  • Foster a campus culture that supports our diverse student population
  • Assist students’ transition and connection to UC Merced by providing experiences that communicate that they matter and are valued contributors
  • Create service delivery models that are graduate student- and undergraduate student-focused

Guiding Principles

The guiding Principles of Student Affairs are transformational, inclusive, nimble, and impact.


  • Student Affairs creates life-changing experiences.
  • Student Affairs creates a highly personalized environment, keeping students at the center of all we do and at the forefront of our decision-making process.
  • Student Affairs promotes student success, learning, and retention through the holistic development of students: intellectual, physical, psychological, career, social, and spiritual.
  • Student Affairs creates Bobcat identity and pride for our Central Valley community.
  • Student Affairs supports intellectual, professional, and personal development for lifelong learning and careers in a dynamic, global society.
  • Student Affairs is a learning organization and will enhance our own staff’s knowledge to meet the dynamic and growth challenges of our campus and to effectively serve students.


  • Student Affairs champions and celebrates the diverse community of the campus and region through innovative outreach, awareness programs, and advocacy.
  • Student Affairs creates conditions for excellence with the entire campus community.
  • Student Affairs creates programs and services available to all members of the University.
  • Student Affairs expands learning opportunities through partnerships, collaboration, and esprit de corps.
  • Student Affairs maintains a sustainable community that is environmentally and socially conscious.


  • Student Affairs promotes operational efficiency and effectiveness through the consolidation of services, unconventional partnerships, and integration of new technologies.
  • Student Affairs is strategically positioned and ready to act.
  • Student Affairs meets the emerging needs of their students, faculty, staff, and community.
  • Student Affairs balances needs through personalized service.


  • Student Affairs continuously strives to deliver programs and services with pride and distinction.
  • Student Affairs uses research data, assessment results/findings to develop and refine our people, programs, and services and enhance the community and region.
  • Student Affairs enhances the reputation of UC Merced.
  • Student Affairs aggressively seeks to increase grants, donations, and resources to further campus initiatives.
  • Student Affairs actively supports efforts to publish and “tell our stories” through qualitative and quantitative data.

Programs & Services


The Office of Admissions exists to provide guidance and support to prospective students and their parents, educators, counselors, and the general public as we recruit, admit, and cultivate a student body that characterizes the University of California, Merced’s Principles of Community.

Learn more about Admissions

Athletics & Recreation

The department’s mission is to offer a wide range of high-quality athletics and recreation programs to enhance and enrich students’ educational experiences.

Learn more about Athletics & Recreation

Bright Success Center

The mission of the Calvin E. Bright Success Center is to provide learning support, transition programs, and individualized interventions which empower UC Merced students to be successful in their academic and personal development. We provide opportunities and co-curricular experiences that aid students in enhancing their knowledge of university resources, academic and personal growth/ development, and advocacy and access. Through intentional collaborations and program delivery, we focus on overcoming barriers and celebrating academic milestones.

Learn more about Bright Success Center


CatCard provides a fast, secure, and convenient multi-service identification card for the students, faculty, and staff of the University of California, Merced.

Learn more about CatCard

Center for Educational Partnerships

The Center for Educational Partnerships (CEP) provides outreach and engagement with K-12 and community college students and educators to increase access to higher education.

Learn more about Center for Educational Partnerships

Counseling Services

The mission of UC Merced Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is to support the mental health and well-being of our students. It is the intention of all CAPS staff to provide a safe, confidential atmosphere of acceptance and accessibility to professionals in the field of psychology. Services specialize in the unique needs of UC Merced students in an effort to promote their academic, personal, and social development.

Learn more about Counseling Services

Financial Aid

The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships is committed to the success of our students by providing financial aid and advising services that support student recruitment, retention, and timely degree completion and ensure that a world-class education remains within reach for all eligible students who need financial assistance to achieve their educational goals.

Learn more about Financial Aid

Health Services

The mission of Health Services is to help each student strive for maximum physical and emotional health while pursuing their academic and personal goals at UC Merced. Health Services is committed to providing the highest quality primary health care, in combination with health education and wellness promotion through caring, accessible, and affordable services.

Learn more about Health Services

Housing & Residence Life

The mission of Housing and Residence Life at the University of California, Merced is to provide clean, safe, student-centered residential communities. We cultivate our living-learning experience to support academic accomplishment, diversity, and respect for human dignity and student success. Our sound financial management and business principles enable us to expand our programs and facilities to serve the changing needs of our students and campus community.

Learn more about Housing & Residence Life

Leadership, Service & Career

The Office of Leadership, Service and Career strives to build experiences for students which help them shape their understanding of self, other and contributions to community. They do this by encouraging students to explore, investigate, take risks, volunteer, intern, lead and build mentoring and professional relationships.

Learn more about the Office of Leadership, Service & Career


We support the mission of the University of California, Merced by serving as the primary office of academic records. To that end, we oversee various processes and programs including: initial student registration through verification of degree conferral, veteran services, and classroom scheduling.

Learn more about Registrar

Student Accessibility Services 

The mission of Student Accessibility Services is to promote equal educational access and full participation by and for students with disabilities in the rich academic and campus life environment at UC Merced. Part of the Bright Success Center, Student Accessibility Services is central to the mission of providing learning support that empowers students to be successful at UC Merced.

Learn more about Student Accessibility Services 

Student Life

The Office of Student Life is here to encourage involvement in campus life, support student initiatives, and serve as a primary liaison for students. Education happens both inside and outside the classroom and a successful college career includes social as well as intellectual development. Invest in your own success by getting involved!

Learn more about Student Life

Students First Center

From admissions to graduation, the staff in the Students First Center (SFC) provides high quality guidance to UC Merced students, campus constituents, and the public.

Learn more about Students First Center

Summer Session

UC Merced Summer Session is committed to building and delivering a strong core of high-demand courses as well as innovative programs, courses, and learning opportunities for both matriculated and visiting students to support student persistence and timely graduation.

Learn more about Summer Session

Leadership of the Division of Student Affairs

Dr. Charles Nies – Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Charles Nies has worked in higher education for more than 20 years in a variety of roles. He was the dean of students at a small private college, a program director for a minor in leadership studies, and an assistant dean of an interdisciplinary school at a large public university. As an instructor, he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in leadership theory, organizational theory, student development, and social identity development. He has served as a consultant to a number of universities, non-profit organizations, and public agencies.

His area of research is leadership and social change. Nies earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of St. Thomas as a double major in psychology and theology. He received a MA degree in counseling psychology and a PhD in educational leadership/leadership theory from Washington State University.

Organizational Chart for the Division of Student Affairs

Institution & Location


Institutional History

The history of UC Merced dates back to 1988, when the UC Regents first authorized planning for at least one additional campus based on projections of long-range enrollment demand. From an initial review of more than 80 sites in the San Joaquin Valley, 20 were initially advanced for additional study.

Eight sites were further evaluated and visited by a senior-level task force, leading to the identification of three sites that were selected for detailed analysis and for inclusion in a full environmental impact report. Following this careful process, the UC Board of Regents selected a site in eastern Merced County adjacent to Lake Yosemite Park as the location for the 10th campus of the University of California in May 1995.

The Merced County location was selected based upon a number of factors, including:

  • The land was to be donated by the Virginia Smith TrustOpens a New Window., a charitable trust that provides college scholarships to Merced-area high school students.
  • Adequate water would be available for university needs.
  • The county government initiated a planning process to assure compatible development of adjacent land and good transportation access.
  • Merced is centrally located with easy access from communities in the San Joaquin Valley, including the Valley’s largest city, Fresno.

By 1997, UC Merced had established a regional office at Merced College, and the UC Fresno Center also served as a focal point for the new UC Merced campus.

In 1998, the university joined with the Merced County Board of Supervisors, the Virginia and Cyril Smith trusts, the City of Merced, and the Merced Irrigation District to initiate a collaborative planning process for the university community. The planning process produced a concept for a campus and community that could grow together in harmony with the landscape. 26,000 acres of seasonal wetlands adjacent to the campus are now permanently preserved by the state.

That same year, Carol Tomlinson-Keasey was appointed senior associate to UC President Atkinson to lead planning and development of the UC Merced campus. In 1999, Tomlinson-Keasey was appointed as founding chancellor of UC Merced, and the Tri-College Center on the campus of Merced College began to present UC Extension courses offered by UCs Riverside, Davis, and Berkeley.

As the planning process for the campus and its academic programs continued into 2001, much progress was made, including the establishment of a new UC Merced Center in Bakersfield. UC Merced now has four locations spanning the San Joaquin Valley and Southern Sierra Nevada region.

Careful analysis of the site’s environmental aspects contributed to a decision to move the campus and community closer to existing urban areas and away from more environmentally sensitive lands. The concepts developed jointly by the community and the university formed the basis for the preparation of the campus Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) and the county’s draft University Community Plan.

The Board of Regents approved the UC Merced LRDP and certified the associated Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in January 2002. Merced County approved the University Community Plan in December 2004 and certified the associated EIR. This action was a key milestone for the eventual development of the university community.

Faculty members began to arrive in 2003 with graduate students in tow and began setting up research laboratories and programs at UC Merced’s ancillary research facility on the former Castle Air Force Base, biding their time until buildings were ready on campus. The first graduate courses began in fall 2004.

The campus celebrated its official grand opening and the arrival of the first class of undergraduate students on September 5, 2005. The first semester saw most activities on campus taking place in the Valley Terrace housing complex and the Leo & Dottie Kolligian Library, as other campus buildings were not yet ready for use. The Classroom and Office Building and the Science and Engineering Building opened for use in January 2006.

UC Merced has enjoyed strong bipartisan support throughout its history. Conceived under Governor George Deukmejian in 1988, the campus was sited under Governor Pete Wilson in 1995. Groundbreaking took place in 2002 under Governor Gray Davis. The campus opened in 2005 under Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and embarks on its ambitious 2020 Project under Governor Jerry Brown. To date, the state has invested more than $500 million in construction and development of the 2,000-acre site. Upon completion of the 2020 Project, UC Merced will be able to accommodate up to 10,000 students and as many as 25,000 students when the campus grows to full capacity in about three decades.

Carol Tomlinson-Keasey left the university in 2006, subsequently retiring from the University of California. In her place, Sung-Mo “Steve” Kang, UC Santa Cruz’s school of engineering dean, was appointed chancellor in March 2007. Kang was formally inaugurated in September 2007 and led the campus until June 30, 2011. As chancellor, Kang oversaw increases in student enrollment and also the physical expansion of the campus. Kang returned to the faculty to focus on his research.

Tomlinson-Keasey’s death from a longtime illness in September 2009 saddened the university community, but the legacy she has left behind at UC Merced will speak of her commitment to both the UC system and Central Valley forevermore.

In May 2011, the UC Board of Regents appointed Georgia College & State University President Dorothy Leland to serve as the campus’s third chancellor. Upon her arrival in July 2011, Chancellor Leland immediately began to seek out solutions to expand and strengthen the campus’s physical, financial, and academic position – even in the face of serious challenges caused by the global economic recession.

Through her strong leadership and passion for the campus’s mission, UC Merced embarked on an unprecedented $1.3 billion capital expansion. The Merced 2020 Project received formal approval from the UC Board of Regents in July 2016, broke ground in October 2016, and will double the campus’s physical size by fall 2020. The legacy of this work allows UC Merced to be well positioned to expand access to California’s most talented students and to continue its rise to higher levels of research excellence.

About Merced, California

Merced is in the heart of California’s San Joaquin Valley and serves as the county’s commercial, entertainment, cultural, and governmental hub. With a population of 80,000 people, it retains the charm of a small town yet offers amenities routinely found in larger cities.

Known as the “Gateway to Yosemite,” the city boasts a low cost of living and first-rate quality of life. Merced enjoys close proximity to Yosemite National ParkOpens a New Window. and is a convenient two-hour drive from San Francisco and Sacramento. The city is surrounded by natural beauty that includes meandering streams, walking trails, abundant parks, and an extensive bike path system. The scenic Lake Yosemite, which is adjacent to the campus, offers beautiful views and seasonal recreational activities that include fishing and sailing.

Merced’s emerging downtown area is home to a number of quaint boutiques, coffee houses, a cinemaplex, eateries, historic buildings, cultural centers, and the beautifully restored Merced Theatre. The city hosts a number of parades, annual events, and celebrations such as ShakespearefestOpens a New Window. and the Merced Art HopOpens a New Window.. Also located downtown is the Merced Multicultural Arts CenterOpens a New Window. — a modern, open, three-story facility that provides space and support for arts education, training, world-class performances, and tours.

Merced’s Mayor Mike Murphy – State of City 2019 Address


Mission Statement

The mission of the University of California, Merced is embodied in its pride in being the first American research university of the 21st century.

Opening in 2005 as the newest campus of the University of California, UC Merced continually strives for excellence in carrying out the university’s mission of teaching, researchOpens a New Window., and public serviceOpens a New Window., benefiting society by discovering and transmitting new knowledge and functioning as an active repository of organized knowledge. As a key tenet in carrying out this mission, UC Merced promotes and celebrates the diversityOpens a New Window. of all members of its community.

A research university is a community bound by learning, discovery, and engagement. As the first American student-centered research university built in the 21st century, UC Merced’s strong graduateOpens a New Window. and research programs mesh with high-quality undergraduate programs. New knowledge increasingly depends on links among the disciplines, working together on questions that transcend the traditional disciplines. UC Merced fosters and encourages cross-disciplinary inquiry and discovery.

Interdisciplinary practice in research nourishes undergraduate learning, building a foundation in connecting the ways that academic disciplines understand and grapple with society’s problems. UC Merced undergraduates experience education inside and outside the classroom, applying what they learn through undergraduate research, service learning, and leadership development. As apprentice scholars, graduate students build their understanding of and ability to do independent research in their chosen field as the groundwork for entering professional life. Lifelong learners continue to hone their knowledge and workplace skills.

The 21st century ushered in the promise of new ways of connecting people to new knowledge and to one another. UC Merced capitalizes on this promise by functioning as a network, not simply a single place, linking its students, faculty, and staff to the educational resources of the state, nation, and world.

The idea of network extends to UC Merced’s relationships with neighboring institutions: educational, cultural, and social. Born as a member of the distinguished network known as the University of California, UC Merced seeks strong and mutually supportive relationships with a variety of collaborators in its region: public and private colleges and universities; federal and state organizations that share UC Merced’s educational and research goals; and cultural and social institutions.

This networking principle is also realized through the physical and intellectual integration between UC Merced and its surrounding community. The campus has been established as a model of physical sustainability for the 21st century, inviting all members of the campus and surrounding community to think and act as good stewards of the environment that they will convey to future generations. UC Merced celebrates its location in the San Joaquin Valley, reflecting the poetry of its landscape, history, resources, and diverse cultures, while capitalizing on and expanding the Valley’s connections to the emerging global society. UC Merced recognizes that research that begins with the natural laboratory at home can extend what is known in the state, nation, and world.

Aspirational Goals, Vision Statements, Strategic Planning

This graphic illustrates the goals, vision, and strategic planning process of the University of California, Merced:

To read about the entire strategic planning process:


Dr. Dorothy J. Leland – Chancellor

Dorothy J. Leland was appointed the third chancellor of the University of California, Merced on May 18, 2011. An accomplished institution builder, Leland is playing a significant role in providing educational and economic opportunity to one of the fastest-growing regions of the state as she leads the next major phase of development for the newest University of California campus.

Chancellor Leland has paved the path for the largest public-private partnership in higher education, known as the Merced 2020 Project. The unprecedented $1.3 billion expansion will nearly double the physical capacity of the campus and support enrollment growth to 10,000 students. The expansion will enable the campus to further its distinctive academic teaching and research in fields such as climate change, social justice, sustainability, solar energy, and drone technology.

UC Merced leads the University of California in the enrollment of first-generation students, underrepresented students, and students from financially challenged backgrounds. Under Leland’s leadership, UC Merced was named “University of the Year” by Education Dive in 2018. That same year, the campus ranked second in the nation in outperforming expected graduation rates by U.S. News and World Report, and it has been listed in the top 10 by Washington Monthly for the social mobility it provides to its students.

Prior to joining UC Merced, Leland effected great change as president of Georgia College & State University. During her seven-year tenure, she amplified the school’s regional reputation to one of rising national prominence. She gained familiarity with the California system of state colleges while serving as a visiting philosophy professor at California State University campuses in Northridge and Chico, and at UC Santa Cruz, before accepting a tenure-track position at Purdue University in 1983. A year later, she was named co-director of the doctoral program in English and philosophy. In 1995, Leland joined Florida Atlantic University as associate professor of philosophy and director of the Women’s Studies Center. She later served as chief planning officer and associate provost for the university before becoming vice president and chief administrative officer of the institution’s 17,000-student Boca Raton campus.

Leland is a founding member of the Presidents’ Alliance for Immigration and Higher Education, currently serves on the Bay Area Council Board of Directors, has served on the Board of Directors for both the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and was a member of the NCAA’s Division II President’s Council; president of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges; and, a past president of the Southern University Conference. Among the many honors and awards she has received during her career are a Distinguished Alumna award from Purdue University and the 2006 Governor’s Award (Georgia) for Excellence in Historic Preservation Research, teaching and public service.

Leland grew up in the rural Southern California community of Fillmore. She attended Purdue University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1971, a Master of Arts in American Studies in 1973, and a doctoral degree in philosophy in 1979. Her research area is contemporary continental philosophy, with a focus on gender and personal, social, and cultural identity — a rare background for the leader of a STEM-intensive, world class student-centered research university.

Dr. Gregg Camfield – Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Gregg Camfield joined the University of California, Merced in July of 2007.  He currently holds the Hillyer Chair in early literature.

As UC Merced’s second-most-senior executive, Camfield provides leadership for campus administrative operations and serves as the university’s chief academic officer.  He is thus responsible for planning, development, and improvement of all academic programs, policies, and infrastructure.

He oversees faculty recruitment, retention, and renewal processes as well as rigorous review of faculty appointments, tenure, and promotion. He also oversees planning, quality, and delivery of student education, working closely with the Merced Division of the University of California Academic Senate.

In addition, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Camfield convenes, as appropriate, vice chancellors and other senior administrators to address issues that cut across divisional lines, oversees the campus budget-request process, and leads strategic planning and other strategic campus initiatives in close collaboration with the chancellor.

In his time at UC Merced, Camfield has been chair of UC Merced’s initial accreditation team, chair of Undergraduate Council, chair of the humanities faculty group, and served for four years as UC Merced’s first vice provost for the faculty.

Camfield earned his bachelor’s degree from Brown University and his Doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley.  He has held academic appointments at the University of Pennsylvania and at the University of the Pacific, where he also was director of the University Honors Program.

He is a scholar of American literature and culture, with two books on Mark Twain, one on American literary humor, and several editions. He has also published over 40 scholarly research articles and reviews, on topics ranging from 18th to 20th century authors, and has shared his scholarship more broadly by contributing to web-sites, museums, government reports, school curricula, and documentary films.

Academic Programs and Faculty

UC Merced offers 24 majors, 25 minors, and 17 graduate programs taught by more than 400 full-time faculty members, visiting professors, and lecturers, who come to Merced from some of the world’s top-ranked universities. The list will continue to grow as the campus reaches 10,000 students in the coming years.

Faculty and Staff
(As of November

Ladder-Rank Faculty: 233

Non Ladder-Rank Faculty (Includes Senate and Non-Senate): 159

Other Academic Appointments: 107

Full- and Part-Time Staff (Does not include student employees): 1,038

Total: 1,537

Full faculty demographics are available here:

The Student Body

Organizational Chart for Senior Leadership

Benefits Overview

As an employee of the University of California, Merced, you have the following benefits available to you:

  • Health Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Short and Long Term Disability Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Retirement Plans
  • Supplemental Retirement Options
  • Leave Options
  • Tuition Benefits

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin immediately, and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed Heather J. Larabee at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the University of California, Merced website at

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status.