The University of California, Santa Cruz (also known as UC Santa Cruz or UCSC), is a public research university and one of 10 campuses in the University of California system. Located 75 miles (120 km) south of San Francisco at the edge of the coastal community of Santa Cruz, the campus lies on 2,001 acres of rolling, forested hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Monterey Bay. Founded in 1965, UC Santa Cruz began as a showcase for progressive, cross-disciplinary undergraduate education, innovative teaching methods and contemporary architecture. Since then, it has evolved into a modern research university with a wide variety of both undergraduate and graduate programs, while retaining its reputation for strong undergraduate support and student political activism. The residential college system, which consists of ten small colleges, is intended to combine the student support of a small college with the resources of a major university.

The Position

Responsibilities of the Successful Candidate

Reporting directly to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Colleges, Housing, and Educational Services (CHES), the Executive Director, College Student Life (CSL) provides leadership for the student life programs in each of the ten colleges. Colleges, Housing and Educational Services is a multi-funded organization within the Business and Administrative Services (BAS) division at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC). CHES provides leadership in the areas of college student life and residential services, housing services, facilities, employee housing and capital planning, dining services, conference services, early education services, the Baytree Bookstore, ID card services, and business and financial analysis for these areas. Through these units, educational and developmental programs and services are offered to all members of the campus community including students, faculty, staff, children, and external constituents. CHES provides on-campus housing and dining services to nearly 9,500 undergraduate and graduate students in ten residential colleges and six multi-college affiliated residential communities which support single students and students with families. Employee housing is provided through 51 rental units at the Laureate Court apartments and 188 for-sale homes in four different locations. The unit also provides off-campus student housing support and summer conference operations. This position oversees student life responsibilities for approximately 17,500 undergraduate students with approximately 8,500 living in residence. The position also provides oversight and responsibility for management of the colleges’ annual operating budget totaling approximately $7.5 million. The position is responsible for the oversight of all matters related to vision and mission for CSL, student life programs and learning outcomes, administration and operations. CHES manages the auxiliary services units of the Bay Tree Bookstore and ID card services and offers Early Education Services for student parents. The Executive Director CSL has responsibility for establishing strategic plans and objectives affecting residence life and housing, college programs, and student conduct within the colleges. The Executive Director represents the Colleges to various constituents, both internally and externally, and manages the operating budget and human resources of the student life programs in the Colleges.

Characteristics of the Successful Candidate

Advanced degree in related area and/or equivalent experience/training. Demonstrated experience in managing a large complex organization at an institution of higher education, working with a highly diverse staff and student body. Demonstrated experience in providing leadership and directing administrative operations as well as experience in leading planning and operations activities with high-level management teams. Ability to conduct strategic planning, budget planning, and analysis. Demonstrated experience in budget projection and development of long-range budget plans. Strong experience in management of programs, staffing, facilities, administration, operations, and budget oversight.

History of the Position

In the spring of 2018, CHES  decided to re-organize some of the functional areas of management and created this new position to lead the collective College Student Life program The unique college model will offer someone the opportunity to collaborate with multiple institutional stakeholder groups.

Likely Opportunities, Priorities, and Challenges of the Position

UCSC is deeply rooted in the college model for their undergraduate students. Faculty and staff who work there are familiar with this model. The new executive director will need to quickly learn the competing expectations for various areas of the institution. Further, the following were outlined as opportunities, priorities, and challenges for the new executive director.

  • Listen closely to all constituents and then articulate a clear vision for the future.
  • Provide a strong and supportive voice for students.
  • Review the colleges’ student life operations with an aim to streamline, identify efficiencies, develop uniformity, ensure best practices are codified and documented, and that work volumes are apportioned more equitably.
  • Navigate the highly political environment and work collaboratively to move strategic goals forward.
  • Employ a patient and transparent working style while being able to meet collective goals.

Measures of Success for the Position

At an appropriate interval after joining UCSC the following items will define success for the new executive director.

  • A seamless transition into the management of the entire area, including but not limited to a strong working relationship with peers and direct reporting staff members.
  • Establish a sense of leadership within the division and throughout all of UCSC, improving communication throughout the organization, engaging stakeholders in discussions to identify and resolve issues that cross unit functions.
  • Seamlessly plan, develop, implement and advise on programs, services, activities and processes for students in their non-academic life at the university, including residential life, public service, student conduct and judicial affairs, identity-based matters, sexual violence, leadership development, student government, student businesses, student organizations, and other student resource center areas.
  • Work with staff members to enhance programs which can be measured to help with student success.
  • Create a sense of comradery while making some difficult decisions regarding the future of the organization.
  • Mutually agreed upon strategic planning has commenced.
  • A strong collaborative relationship is established with all members within the division.

An Overview of the Division

Institution & Location

Institutional Background

UC Santa Cruz is a public university like no other in California, combining the intimacy of a small, liberal arts college with the depth and rigor of a major research university. UC Santa Cruz opened in 1965 with 650 students. During the 2016-2017 academic year, 16,328 undergraduate and 1,735 graduate students were enrolled. Since its founding in 1965, the University of California, Santa Cruz, has earned international distinction as a university with high-impact research and an uncommon commitment to teaching and public service.

A campus with world-class facilities and one of the most visually spectacular settings in higher education, UC Santa Cruz offers rigorous academic programs and cutting-edge research opportunities that teach students how to think, not what to think. A commitment to environmental stewardship and community engagement are central to UCSC’s core values.

UC Santa Cruz is increasing both its enrollment and resources and diversifying its educational and research opportunities. New academic programs are considered and added when desirable and feasible. The campus’s physical growth is guided by its most recent Long-Range Development Plan which is being updated. In 2013-14 the campus initiated a strategic planning process to identify priorities and published its final report in March 2017.

Utilizing a Public, Private Partnership (P3) delivery model, UCSC is undertaking the development of 3,000 new housing bed spaces which will serve undergraduate students, graduate students and students with families.  This project, entitled Student Housing West, will also include a new child care center which will serve children of students, faculty and staff.

A number of state-of-the-art buildings have been completed on campus in recent years, including the Biomedical Sciences Building, the Humanities and Social Sciences Facility, the Digital Arts Research Center, the McHenry Library expansion and a restored and updated Quarry Amphitheater.

UC Santa Cruz continues to move forward with its Silicon Valley Campus, a multi-disciplinary teaching and research hub that is home to a master’s degree program in games and playable media, engineering faculty, the new office of industry alliances and technology commercialization, UCSC Silicon Valley Extension, and UC Scout.

About Santa Cruz, CA

This ultra-mellow beach town along Highway One has a decidedly split personality—and both sides are cool. First, there’s the family fun of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, a yesteryear-style esplanade lined with classic coasters, arcade games, corn dogs, and a historic carousel. Then there’s downtown Santa Cruz, where local college students browse for vintage and boho chic, and relaxed restaurants focus on organic, local ingredients.

If you love nature, this small city makes an excellent launching pad. Take a boat tour out from the wharf for excellent whale-watching—grays, blues, or humpbacks, depending on the time of year — or head inland just a bit to see the ancient trees at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, located in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

But at its heart, Santa Cruz is a surf town. This is where the sport was originally introduced in the U.S., and top surfers know that the place to be is Steamer Lane. Need more proof? The late legendary surfer Jack O’Neill, pioneer of the wetsuit and elder statesman of everything surf in the Golden State, used to live nearby.


The University of California Santa Cruz, is a pre-eminent public research university. Our campus is distinguished by our high-impact research and our commitment to diversity, social justice, the environment, and educational opportunity. Our innovative approach to research and experiential education provides a transformative student experience.

UC Santa Cruz research is recognized broadly for our areas of distinction and research impact. Our research is known for its stellar quality, contributions to core disciplines, and exploration of the intersections of disciplines. Our campus is characterized by the creation of leading research centers with interdisciplinary collaborations that enhance the faculty research community, build strong graduate cohorts, and provide opportunities for undergraduate engagement. Our deliberate academic identity includes world-renowned research clusters and programs that make UC Santa Cruz the destination of choice for faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars.

We are dedicated to student success. Our campus is a safe, supportive, intellectually stimulating environment that facilitates a holistic educational experience for all students, including underrepresented groups. Thriving colleges and a focus on cultural competencies ensure that undergraduate students of diverse backgrounds feel a sense of belonging in an authentic community of learners.

We combine our distinctive model of experiential learning with academic and career preparation to produce workers and scholars who can lead in a globalized era. We prepare graduate students to meet emerging demands as academics and as professionals. Employers and graduate and professional schools compete for our graduates. UC Santa Cruz graduates are proud of their educations and our alumni remain actively engaged.

UC Santa Cruz has a unique story and a distinct reputation for research and educational excellence, with which every member of our community can identify. Our local reputation fosters productive community relationships. Through our partnerships with primary, secondary, and post-secondary educational institutions, we close the gap in educational opportunity and outcomes. Through our partnerships with industry and government agencies in and beyond Silicon Valley, we solve critical regional issues and successfully transfer technology to create local and regional businesses.

Our campus operations are integrated with research and teaching throughout campus to facilitate cross-boundary, collaborative work. We optimize operations with a focus on process improvement and appropriate risk management. Our operations make our nationally recognized green campus a model for sustainable practices.

We live what we teach. Our Principles of Community guide our daily interactions on campus and beyond. We embrace all forms of diversity across our community. Our employees know they are valued and feel connected to our mission. Our actions and their outcomes continually demonstrate our dedication to the greater good.

Strategic Plan

‘Envision UC Santa Cruz” is our campus-wide plan for the future and the paths we will take to get there.

A report from March 2017 summarizes the many accomplishments made in key target areas since the strategic planning process began in the 2013–14 academic year.

Envision UC Santa Cruz is centered on six goals that are the culmination of substantial campus-wide collaboration.

Academic Planning: allocate faculty resources strategically.

Research Infrastructure: support research excellence.

Student Success: advance student success.

Staff Engagement: make UC Santa Cruz a place where people enjoy working.

Identity and Reputation: tell the world our story.

Balanced Operations: address workload burden.

For more information about Envision UC Santa Cruz, visit the website at

Chancellor George R. Blumenthal

George R. Blumenthal is UC Santa Cruz’s 10th chancellor. He joined the campus in 1972 as a faculty member in astronomy and astrophysics and was named chancellor on September 19, 2007, after serving as acting chancellor for 14 months.  Chancellor Blumenthal recently announced his intention to retire at the end of the 2018-19 academic year.

UC Santa Cruz is a top-ranked young university and has become a first-choice destination for a growing number of high school graduates. Since the fall of 2007, the number of applicants for undergraduate admission has more than doubled from 24,400 annually to more than 52,000 in 2017.

The Blumenthal era has been marked by a commitment to ensuring that the doors of opportunity at UC Santa Cruz are open to all:

  • The number of undergraduate students from underrepresented minorities has increased by 50 percent since Blumenthal took office.
  • Nearly half of the entering class in 2016 received Pell Grants, the federal financial aid given to the neediest students—exceeding the UC average of 42 percent.
  • The percentage of entering first-year students who are “first-generation” college students—who will be the first in their family to earn a four-year degree—now regularly tops 40 percent.

Chancellor Blumenthal has overseen the expansion of both undergraduate and graduate programs. New undergraduate degrees include Cognitive Science, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, Jewish Studies, Network and Digital Technology, Physics Education, Robotics Engineering, and Spanish Studies. New doctoral programs include Feminist Studies, Film and Digital Media, Latin American and Latino Studies, and Visual Studies; new master’s programs include Games and Playable Media, Technology and Information Management, and Theater Arts.

Under Chancellor Blumenthal’s leadership, the campus in 2013 launched its first comprehensive fundraising campaign, The Campaign for UC Santa Cruz. The campaign came to a close June 30, 2017, surpassing its $300 million goal. In addition, he has presided over significant growth in research funding, totaling $680 million over the five years ending 2015-16. UC Santa Cruz has emerged as one of the top five institutions in the country that saw a notable increase in funding from the National Institutes of Health in the past decade, almost doubling from $15 million in 2000 to nearly $30 million in 2013.

The campus’s physical profile has been dramatically transformed during Blumenthal’s tenure as chancellor. Major new buildings that have opened include the Digital Arts Research Center, the Physical Sciences Building, the Humanities and Social Sciences Facility, the Biomedical Sciences Building, and the Emergency Response Center. Other major projects include the renovation and expansion of McHenry Library, the Cowell Student Health Center, Porter College, and Merrill College. In total, the campus has added nearly 600,000 square feet of new space since Blumenthal took office.

Sustainability has been a top priority of Chancellor Blumenthal’s, and he has championed water and energy conservation, recycling, locally sourced and organically grown food, and greenhouse-gas reduction. In 2016, the campus used scarcely more water than in 1994, despite enrolling 7,000 more students. In 2012, the chancellor signed the Real Food Campus Commitment, pledging that 40 percent of all food purchases will be food produced in a fair, humane, and sustainable manner by 2020.

In Santa Cruz, Chancellor Blumenthal is widely credited with ushering in a new era of cooperation in town-gown relations with the signing in 2008 of a historic settlement agreement that resolved litigation over water, housing, traffic, and city services. Signed by the campus, the city and county of Santa Cruz, and neighborhood groups, the agreement has become a model for other universities and communities. Campus departments and municipal agencies now collaborate on a range of issues, including planning, water, and transportation, and the campus and city fire departments were consolidated in 2014.

Blumenthal’s appointment as chancellor followed many years as a distinguished professor, researcher, and campus leader. As a theoretical astrophysicist, Chancellor Blumenthal made pathbreaking contributions to our understanding of the origin of structure in the universe, including galaxies and clusters of galaxies, and to the role that dark matter plays in the formation and evolution of this structure. He is a co-author of two textbooks, 21st Century Astronomy and Understanding Our Universe.

As a senior leader in the University of California system, Blumenthal spearheaded the successful effort to redress past inequalities in per-student state funding of some UC campuses, known as “rebenching.” He served as chair of the UC Academic Senate (2004-05), was the faculty representative to the UC Regents (2003-05), chaired the UC Santa Cruz division of the Academic Senate (2001-03), and served as chair of the UCSC Astronomy and Astrophysics Department.

In 2010, Blumenthal received the Oliver Johnson Award for Distinguished Leadership in the Academic Senate, the top UC honor for service at both the system-wide and campus levels. A vocal advocate for staff throughout the university, he received the Outstanding Senior Leadership Award from the Council of University of California Staff Assemblies (CUCSA) in 2012; he has been an honorary member of CUCSA since 2005.

Chancellor Blumenthal serves widely on many governing boards, including as vice chair of the California Association for Research in Astronomy, which oversees the W. M. Keck Observatory on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii. In 2017, he was appointed to a seat on the governing board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. He is also a board member of Joint Venture Silicon Valley and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

He earned his bachelor of science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and his Ph.D. in physics at the University of California, San Diego. In 2011, he was awarded an honorary Ph.D. in astrophysics and leadership in higher education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

He is married to Kelly Weisberg, a professor of law at UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. They have two adult children.

The Student Body

Enrollment, 2016-2017

(Three quarter average)

  • Undergraduates: 16,328
  • Graduate Students: 1,735
  • Total: 18,063

University of California Santa Cruz has a gender distribution of 49 percent male students and 51 percent female students. At this school, 53 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated or -affiliated housing and 47 percent of students live off campus. In sports, University of California Santa Cruz is part of the NCAA Division III.

From 652 students in 1965, the campus has grown to its current (2016-17) enrollment of more than 18,000 students. Undergraduates pursue bachelor’s degrees in 65 different majors supervised by divisional deans of arts, engineering, humanities, physical & biological sciences, and social sciences. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees in 41 academic programs under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans.

On campus, there are more than 25 miles of hiking and jogging trails, and more than 150 student clubs and organizations. Only about 1 percent of students are members of the school’s small Greek system. The UC Santa Cruz sports teams are independent competitors in the NCAA’s Division III. Athletes are cheered on by the Banana Slug, a nontraditional, yellow earthen creature that has been recognized among the best mascots in the country. For fun, students can tour Dead Central, a room full of Grateful Dead memorabilia donated by the band to UCSC, or explore the small beach town of Santa Cruz, located on Monterey Bay. There are rides and games on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, and opportunities for swimming, sailing and kayaking on the bay. To get around, students can travel on the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District buses for free with a school ID. For longer road trips, Monterey is 45 miles away, and San Francisco is a 75-mile trip.

The Academic Program

UC Santa Cruz has more than 60 undergraduate majors and 40 graduate programs, with access to world-class teachers and facilities. Departments are organized within the Arts, Humanities, Physical & Biological Sciences, and Social Sciences divisions; and the Baskin School of Engineering. All undergraduates, whether they live on campus or off, are affiliated with one of the UC Santa Cruz colleges (Cowell, Stevenson, Crown, Merrill, Porter, Kresge, Oakes, Rachel Carson, Nine, and Ten). Students may take classes in any number of colleges and academic units throughout the campus; core courses within each college provide a common academic base for first-year and transfer students.

In addition to their course work on campus, many UC Santa Cruz students participate in fieldwork or field study programs. Off-campus internships are an integral part of programs in community studies, economics, environmental studies, health sciences, Latin American and Latino studies, psychology, and teacher education. More information is available about academic field study programs, as well as other available internships off campus, from the UC Santa Cruz Career Center.

Students can also arrange to study at other UC campuses, at the University of New Hampshire or the University of New Mexico, in Sacramento, in Washington, D.C., or at host institutions affiliated with the UC Education Abroad Program.

At the conclusion of work in their major, all UCSC seniors must pass a comprehensive examination or, in some majors, complete a senior thesis or equivalent body of work.

Graduate study began at UC Santa Cruz in 1966 with programs in astronomy, biology, and history of consciousness, a program that combines the humanistic disciplines with links to the social sciences, natural sciences, and arts. In 1967, graduate programs in chemistry, literature, and earth & planetary sciences were introduced.

Today, UC Santa Cruz offers graduate study in 41 different advanced-degree programs. Please see the Graduate Studies web site for additional information.

In 1997, building on the campus’s core Computer Science and Computer Engineering Departments, UCSC began its first professional school, the Jack Baskin School of Engineering, and introduced a new undergraduate electrical engineering major. This was followed the next year by a major in information systems management. In 1997-98, UC Santa Cruz began offering a “distance-learning” version of the M.S. in computer engineering, with a concentration in networking engineering, at its Silicon Valley facilities. In 2001, an undergraduate major in bioinformatics was launched and, in 2003, M.S. and Ph.D programs in bioinformatics were initiated. The engineering school has continued to expand its academic offerings, and today students can enroll in 10 undergraduate and 13 graduate-degree programs.

In 2003, retired engineer and philanthropist Jack Baskin — whose $5 million gift had established UCSC’s engineering schoolmade additional gifts to the campus for a new engineering building, Engineering 2, and established an endowed chair in the Department of Biomolecular Engineering.

Benefits Overview

The Benefits Office Staff administers comprehensive University benefits programs and provides information and counseling on benefits programs for academic appointees, staff and eligible dependents. This office is also responsible for the Employee Assistance Program and the Health Care Facilitator Program.

Benefits at UCSC include, but are not limited to

  • Medical, Vision, and Dental Plans
  • Retirement Benefits
  • Disability, Life and Accident Insurance
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Business Travel Accident Insurance
  • Family Care Resources
  • Homeowner/Renter/Auto Insurance
  • Legal Insurance
  • Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Tuition Discounts

For a more detailed look at benefits, click here:

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 to Jennifer N. Hiatt at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the University of California, Santa Cruz website at

Consistent with its status as a federal contractor, the University undertakes affirmative action for minorities and women, for persons with disabilities, and for covered veterans.