Associate Vice Chancellor, Physical Planning, Development and Operations

University of California, Santa Cruz

Our Client

Located in the picturesque community of Santa Cruz, CA, the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) is home to 19,000 students on 2,000 acres. Santa Cruz is located 75 miles south of San Francisco, 32 miles southwest of San Jose and at the northern edge of Monterey Bay. The University is situated in an extremely unique physical environment overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Santa Cruz is home to many popular attractions including an abundance of hiking/biking trails, the Santa Cruz Wharf, and highly desirable surfing conditions.

UC 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 provides unparalleled opportunities for students to learn through hands-on experience. A commitment to environmental stewardship and community engagement are also central to UCSC's core values.


Job Function Summary

Manages the design, planning, and construction of capital projects, including renovations, expansions, and new facilities and infrastructure as well as landscape projects; collects, develops, and analyzes technical data to determine project requirements and preparation of information regarding specifications, materials, equipment, estimated costs, and completion times.



Reports to the Vice Chancellor for Business and Administrative Services and oversees Planning and Space Management; Design and Construction Services; Physical Plant Services; Physical and Environmental Planning Services; PPDO Business Services with a total 300+ employees.

Directs, through subordinate managers, multiple large and complex critical programs impacting broad constituencies across major portions of the organization. Identifies objectives, manages very significant human, financial, and physical resources, and functions with an extremely high degree of autonomy. Accountable for formulating and administering policies and programs for major functions. Operational or program results can affect overall organization-wide performance and reputation. Directs, through subordinate managers, the development of strategic goals and objectives to achieve accountability and stewardship of University resources in a manner consistent with systemwide objectives and initiatives.

The successful candidate will provide strategic leadership for the physical planning, development, and operations of campus facilities. This includes acquisition, planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and renewal of campus buildings, deferred maintenance, systems, infrastructure, and grounds, as well as capital planning and space management.

The Associate Vice Chancellor (AVC) will have a record of facility and planning experience, and possess the qualities needed to lead change, manage resources, streamline processes, and advance customer service. They will be a visionary leader who can bring together a diverse team to advance the campus physical plant needs and goals.

The AVC must be able to successfully collaborate with campus leaders and stakeholders to address challenges and capitalize on opportunities.


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Expert skills to lead, direct, and manage personnel, including selection, training, evaluating and, as required, taking corrective action.
  • Expert written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills, including the skill to work effectively with multiple constituencies to advance organizational objectives.
  • Ability to develop, lead, and inspire a diverse team across a broad grouping of functions and employee categories, including union-represented staff.
  • Strong record of organizational development and process optimization.
  • Ability to cultivate trust and credibility in all operational areas.
  • Skills in developing staff and providing opportunities for growth and professional development.
  • Broad knowledge of facilities management and operations, infrastructure, landscape and building construction, and design.
  • Ability to develop long-range plans for the physical environment.
  • Knowledge of economic development and facility investment, start-up, and project/program development experience.
  • Familiarity with construction procurement.
  • Project management skills and the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Ability to work with campus leadership and project clients to develop a clear understanding of the risk tolerance for projects and then clearly track, navigate, and report on risks throughout a project life cycle.
  • Strong experience with fiscal management and stewardship of resources.
  • Experience with financial structures to support facility development and ability to creatively address project funding and revenue generation.
  • Ability to think creatively and develop an environment that drives innovation.
  • Established record of working with a diverse array of constituents and providing strong customer service.
  • Ability to develop long-range strategic plans, measurable goals, and performance metrics for all unit operations.
  • Understanding and support of forward-thinking approaches to ensuring environmental sustainability in the design of new facilities, the physical plant, and operations.
  • Skills in being flexible and responsive in the face of a changing environment and emerging opportunities.
  • Strong track record in managing business and industry partnerships.
  • Ability to successfully navigate a large and complex organization, that includes shared governance of decisions and procedures managed at both the local campus and systemwide Office of the President.
  • Knowledge of and experience with a diverse set of delivery models and structures for achieving the capital needs of an organization.
  • General understanding of purchased utilities and renewable energy.
  • Strong understanding of complex factors related to land use and capital projects development. 


Education, Licenses, and Certifications

  • Bachelor's degree and/or equivalent experience or training in a related field such as architecture, engineering, urban design, city planning, or landscape architecture.
  • Master's degree preferred.
  • Must possess or have the ability to gain a valid license to drive in the state of California.


Principles of Community

The University of California, Santa Cruz, is committed to promoting and protecting an environment that values and supports every person in an atmosphere of civility, honesty, cooperation, professionalism, and fairness.

UCSC expects that every campus member will practice these Principles of Community. We strive to be:


  • Diverse: We embrace diversity in all its forms and we strive for an inclusive community that fosters an open, enlightened, and productive environment.
  • Open: We believe free exchange of ideas requires mutual respect and consideration for our differences.
  • Purposeful: We are a participatory community united by shared commitments to: service to society; preservation and advancement of knowledge; and innovative teaching and learning.
  • Caring: We promote mutual respect, trust, and support to foster bonds that strengthen the community.
  • Just: We are committed to due process; respect for individual dignity and equitable access to resources, recognition, and rewards.
  • Disciplined: We seek to advance common goals through reasonable and realistic practices, procedures, and expectations.
  • Celebrative: We celebrate the heritage, achievements and diversity of the community, and the uniqueness and contributions of our members.

We accept the responsibility to pursue these principles in an atmosphere of personal and intellectual freedom, security, respect, civility, and mutual support.


About the Search

University of California, Santa Cruz is conducting a national search with the assistance of Helbling & Associates (, an executive search firm specializing in areas of facilities management, construction, engineering, and real estate development.


Please Submit Applications or Nominations to 

Helbling & Associates, Inc.

8000 Brooktree Road, Suite 100

Wexford, PA  15090


Wes Miller, Managing Director


O: (724) 935-7500 x120

C: (412) 841-5180


Please visit Helbling & Associates’ Candidates Page for more information.

University of California, Santa Cruz is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer.

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