Recruiting exceptional leaders for mission-driven organizations.




Executive Director for the Natural Reserve System Oakland, CA

In the late 1950s, a forward-thinking group of University of California (UC) scientists conceived of a network of natural California areas managed specifically for academic use. They were weary of seeing wildlands that had once served as outdoor laboratories be supplanted by urban development. They needed access to natural ecosystems, where their equipment would remain undisturbed and where they and their students could study plants, observe animals, and measure ecosystems over the long term.

In January 1965, seven University-owned sites became the system’s first Reserves. Today the UC Natural Reserve System (UC NRS) consists of 41 Reserves across the State, each anchored to one of the nine UC campuses that are not exclusively dedicated to health sciences. These Reserves encompass 47,000 acres owned by UC and provide access to millions of acres of biodiverse public lands. The Reserves are staffed by expert land managers, and they are available to students, teachers, and researchers from the UC and other research institutions.  In addition, the Reserves serve as outreach destinations for K-12 classes and members of the public volunteering and attending courses, workshops, and UC NRS events. No other university-operated network of field sites in the world can match the size, scope, and ecological diversity of the UC NRS.

The UC Natural Reserve System is led by the Executive Director, who reports to the systemwide Vice President for Research & Innovation at the University of California Office of the President.  The work of the UC NRS Reserves, individually and collectively, is significant.  Yet the UC NRS has the potential for more important positive impact at the local, state, national, and global levels, truly fulfilling the public mission of the UC System. At a time of unprecedented humanmade ecological destruction and climate change, global pandemics, and social and political unrest throughout the world, the Executive Director must fully recognize the potential of the UC NRS and drive the organization to address these current challenges and those to come. To that end, the University of California seeks an Executive Director to lead the UC NRS in its effort to drive existing excellent programs and to further define and develop new initiatives. To achieve these important goals, the next UC NRS Executive Director will address the following key opportunities and challenges:

  • Lead the UC NRS community 
  • Develop and execute an actionable vision for the UC Natural Reserve System
  • Serve as an effective leader for faculty, staff, and external constituents throughout the UC NRS and campus partners
  • Effectively represent the organization as champion and advocate for the UC NRS within the UC Office of the President, federal and California government agencies, and other external partners
  • Strategically manage the resources required to achieve the many ambitions and aspirations of the UC NRS

All applications, nominations and inquiries are invited. Applications should include, as separate documents, a CV or resume and a letter of interest addressing the themes in the leadership profile, including describing your experience promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. For more details, including the full position profile and to submit inquiries, nominations, referrals, and applications, please see below. Electronic submission of materials is strongly encouraged.

David Bellshaw is leading this search with Emily Chiswick-Patterson and Brett Barbour.


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, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status.


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