University of California, San Diego — Chief Administrative Officer, Department of Physics

Filing Deadline: Thu 2/3/2022, thereafter Open Until Filled
Salary Range: Commensurate with Experience

Physics is a prominent, highly-ranked, and research-intensive department at UC San Diego, with 400+ employees, annual expenditures of roughly $30M, annual course enrollment greater than 16K, and over 140K square feet of space in 8 campus buildings. Research and instructional activity occurs over an unusually broad range of disciplinary areas, including: astrophysics & astronomy, atomic/molecular physics, biophysics, condensed matter physics, controlled fusion & plasma physics, elementary particle physics, nanoscience, and nonlinear dynamics.

Research activity occurs both on-campus and in multiple off-campus locations, including: U.S. National Laboratories such as Argonne, Lawrence Livermore, and LANL (Los Alamos National Lab); observatories throughout the world; Antarctica; and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland. Research collaborations frequently involve other U.S. and international universities, National Labs; research institutes such as The Scripps Research Institute and the Salk Institute; and/or companies such as SAIC and General Atomics. Sponsored research activities are funded by 40-50 different funding agencies, including NSF, NIH, DOE, DOD, and AFOSR.

Instruction occurs at multiple levels. With approximately 150 students, the doctoral program has a flexible and broad-based curriculum which leads to a Ph.D. in Physics or a Ph.D. in Physics with a Specialization in Biophysics. With nearly 600 Physics majors, the undergraduate major program is one of the most productive in the nation. Students may obtain B.S. degrees with optional specializations in Astrophysics, Biophysics, Computational Physics, Earth Sciences, or Materials Physics, or B.A. degrees with an optional specialization in Secondary Education. A unique 5-year contiguous program leading to a B.S./M.S. in Materials Physics is also available. Lower division courses allow students to satisfy their general education requirements and serve as foundational courses for students majoring in the sciences and engineering.

Incumbent serves as Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the Department of Physics. Reporting to the Assistant Dean of the Division of Physical Sciences with a dotted line to the Department Chair, responsible for managing the administrative services and / or general operations of the Department of Physics within the Academic Affairs enterprise of UC San Diego. The Chief Administrative Officer is responsible for the overall leadership, strategic planning, implementation and management of all administrative activities in the department. Duties include: fiscal management; contracts, grants and gifts; payroll; human resources; student affairs; internal controls and risk management and external relations. Oversees the management of research and teaching laboratories, shops and office space and the inventories of all departmental and center space and facilities, as well as their assignment, utilization and safety procedures.

The CAO also functions as the principal advisor to the Chair, Vice Chair(s), and faculty on a broad range of issues; plays a significant role in the development, implementation, promulgation, and assessment of short- and long-term strategic plans; provides liaison between the department and other campus units, University administration, and external entities.

Considerable understanding of the significance associated with the scientific research and teaching missions of the faculty of the department is essential in order to oversee current support for departmental activities, and to plan creatively for the department’s future. The ability to deal effectively with many different types of people at all organizational levels is also required.

  • The Department of Physics operates 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Incumbent must be able to work evenings and weekends, as necessary, to ensure appropriate administrative and technical support is available outside of standard business hours.
  • Please submit a cover letter for a complete application.


  • Demonstrated experience managing, supervising and motivating a group of technical and administrative staff. Ability to maintain good morale and maintain productivity. Knowledge of team dynamics, ability to work in a team setting.
  • Proven leadership and management skills in a university research environment with demonstrated leadership and credibility in addressing issues relating to the management of a large academic science department. Demonstrated understanding of the importance of organizational structure, resource management, communication, and protocol when implementing a solution.
  • Thorough knowledge of the University budget process with demonstrated experience in the planning, development and management of complex and high dollar volume financial operations involving fund accounting, self-supporting activities, capital budgets, operating budgets, financial analysis, financial reporting, long-range financial planning, and internal financial and audit controls. Demonstrated ability to adapt programmatic objectives to changes in resources.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of and experience with higher education, including: educational philosophies/methods, instructional programs, curriculum development, instructional technology, degree requirements, admissions processes, outreach, and student financial support. Experience at a PhD-granting institution preferred.
  • Knowledge of human resource (academic and staff) management. Ability to counsel department supervisors on personnel rules and regulations governing department employees.


  • Background check required.

Job offer is contingent on successful engagement in the UC COVID-19 Vaccination program (fully vaccinated with documented proof or approved exception/deferral).

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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, protected veteran status, gender identity or sexual orientation. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see: