Job Description

Payroll Title:
Hiring Pay Scale
$95,000 - $110,000 / Year
Appointment Type:
Appointment Percent:
Total Openings:
Work Schedule:
8 hrs/day, M-F

#125276 Executive Director, Natural Reserve System (UCSD)

Extended Deadline: Fri 5/24/2024

UC San Diego values equity, diversity, and inclusion. If you are interested in being part of our team, possess the needed licensure and certifications, and feel that you have most of the qualifications and/or transferable skills for a job opening, we strongly encourage you to apply.

Position will remain posted until a suitable candidate has been identified.



The Vice Chancellor for Research (VCR) organization supports, facilitates and promotes the world-class research enterprise at UC San Diego by: a) providing essential services and resources that enhance research and other creative endeavors; b) enabling partnerships and collaborations among researchers at UC San Diego and between UC San Diego and government, industry, and other research enterprises; c) developing infrastructure and policy that promote innovation, an entrepreneurial culture, communication, and compliance for the UC San Diego research enterprise; and d) promoting research excellence by embedding the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion at the core of everything we do.

The organization fosters research across disciplines by enhancing the research experience through effective stewardship of resources, policies, compliance and expertise, and by developing tools and educational programs as the responsible steward of the campus research enterprise. The Office of Research Affairs (ORA) is the central VCR office with direct oversight for all VCR operational, administrative and public relations/communication functions and for core units including Research Scholars, Research Ethics, Government Research Relations, Research Initiatives, Research Development, International Outreach, and multi-disciplinary campus research (Organized Research Units). Other enterprise-wide research support departments under the Vice Chancellor for Research include Contract and Grant Administration, Innovation and Commercialization, Research Compliance and Integrity (including IACUC, Export Control, Conflict of Interest), the Animal Care Program, and the VCR Service Core.

The UCNRS (University of California Natural Reserve System) is housed in the UC Office of the President. The UCNRS was established in 1965 and is currently composed of 41 reserves distributed across the State of California. Each UC campus oversees the operations and management of a subset of reserves. The mission of the UCNRS is to contribute to the understanding and wise stewardship of the Earth and its natural systems by supporting university-level teaching, research, and public service in protected natural areas throughout California. They enable monitoring of environment health and provide a baseline for ecosystem restoration in the context of California’s rapidly growing population and the changing global environment. These relatively undisturbed samples of the state’s natural ecosystems are available to any qualified user from any institution, public or private, throughout the world.

The University of California San Diego Natural Reserve System (NRS) manages four of the forty-one field stations that make up the largest and most diverse set of university-affiliated reserves in the world. The reserves include examples of most major ecosystems in the state. They provide secure sites for research, instruction, and public outreach. They enable monitoring of environmental health and provide a baseline for ecosystem restoration in the context of California’s rapidly growing population and the changing global environment.

UC San Diego Natural Reserve System sites include:

~Scripps Coastal Reserve

~Kendall-Frost Marsh Reserve

~Dawson Los Monos Reserve

~Elliott Chaparral Reserve


The Executive Director works closely with the Faculty Director and Natural Reserve System (NRS) staff to set and implement programmatic objectives involving all four UC San Diego Natural Reserves. The position is housed in the Office of Research Affairs and works under the general direction of the UC San Diego NRS Faculty Director.

Under the direction of the UC San Diego NRS Faculty Director and in partnership with the Vice Chancellor for Research and UC NRS leadership, the Executive Director develops and implements strategic vision for the Natural Reserve System sites to enable research, educational, and community outreach opportunities that preserve, protect, and enhance the vitality of the sites. The Executive Director oversees academic and research programs involving the UC San Diego Natural Research System sites, including working with faculty and researchers on formulating research and educational programs utilizing NRS sites. The Executive Director represents the NRS to community partners, philanthropic organizations, and academic partners outside UC San Diego.

The Executive Director independently oversees administrative functions of the NRS sites at UC San Diego, including oversight of finances, human resources, and facilities, including supervision of NRS staff and pursuit of research and philanthropic funding. The Executive Director represents the NRS program at UC San Diego to outside organizations, including numerous academic and community partners. Working with UC San Diego faculty, the Executive Director helps to shape research and educational programs using NRS sites.

Cover letter required for a complete application.


  • Advanced degree in environmental science or related field, and/ or equivalent experience / training. Terminal degree in a related field (PhD, JD, MD, etc.)

  • Academic background and experience in selected area of research.

  • Minimum of 5 years' experience of progressive responsibility in resource management and/or academic program management in related areas.

  • Experience with operational leadership at research field station; minimum of 5 years' experience, preferred.

  • Experience with working with federal and state agencies.

  • Advanced knowledge of administrative, budgetary, human resources and financial principles and practices.

  • Advanced interpersonal skills and ability to work with diverse groups to achieve results.

  • Advanced ability to work collaboratively with internal and external peers and managers.

  • Advanced oral and written communication skills.

  • Advanced ability to think creatively and independently on concepts requiring advanced analytical skills.

  • Highly skilled fundraising experience.


  • Experience with community engagement, grant writing, and fundraising. Track record of leading successful grant proposals


  • This position is eligible for a Hybrid flexible work arrangement, which could include a non-standard work schedule, and/or the ability to work off-site part of the time.
  • Job offer is contingent upon satisfactory clearance based on Background Check results.
  • Must have access to reliable transportation.
  • Must be able to travel occasionally.
  • Occasional evenings and weekends may be required.
  • Cover letter required for a complete application.

Pay Transparency Act

Annual Full Pay Range: $101,200 - $192,200 (will be prorated if the appointment percentage is less than 100%)

Hourly Equivalent: $48.47 - $92.05

Factors in determining the appropriate compensation for a role include experience, skills, knowledge, abilities, education, licensure and certifications, and other business and organizational needs. The Hiring Pay Scale referenced in the job posting is the budgeted salary or hourly range that the University reasonably expects to pay for this position. The Annual Full Pay Range may be broader than what the University anticipates to pay for this position, based on internal equity, budget, and collective bargaining agreements (when applicable).

If employed by the University of California, you will be required to comply with our Policy on Vaccination Programs, which may be amended or revised from time to time. Federal, state, or local public health directives may impose additional requirements.

To foster the best possible working and learning environment, UC San Diego strives to cultivate a rich and diverse environment, inclusive and supportive of all students, faculty, staff and visitors. For more information, please visit UC San Diego Principles of Community.

UC San Diego is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status.

For the University of California’s Affirmative Action Policy please visit:
For the University of California’s Anti-Discrimination Policy, please visit:

UC San Diego is a smoke and tobacco free environment. Please visit for more information.

Application Instructions

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