Chief Campus Counsel


The University of California (UC), Merced, the youngest campus in the world-renowned University of California system, seeks a new Chief Campus Counsel to lead the unique institution into an exciting new era as it continues to grow and distinguish itself within the UC system and among research universities globally. The new Chief Campus Counsel will be joining the University at a pivotal time to support its extensive growth and ensure its continued success. The Chief Campus Counsel will serve as a member of the Chancellor’s senior leadership team. Reporting to the Chancellor and the University of California General Counsel, the Chief Campus Counsel provides legal assistance and services to the UC Merced campus and serves as a senior advisor on institutional policy and decision making that requires a legal perspective.

Opened to undergraduates in 2005, UC Merced was the first new University of California campus in 40 years, and the first American research university of the twenty-first century. UC Merced experienced a significant milestone by appearing in the U.S News & World Report rankings for the first time in 2017. UC Merced now ranks #42 among public universities and #97 overall among national universities and remains the youngest university in the top 100. It ranks #1 in AASHE’s 2022 Sustainable Campus Index, and #5 for creating social mobility and #13 for economic diversity in the 2023 U.S. News & World Report. UC Merced is ranked #49 nationally by Washington Monthly, #70 by Times Higher Ed, #80 by Money Magazine and #86 by Hispanic Outlook on Education.

UC Merced achieved R2 status (“doctoral-granting university with high research activity,” per the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education) in record time and is now setting a very ambitious trajectory towards quickly earning an R1 designation. Additionally, the campus has earned Carnegie’s prestigious Classification for Community Engagement, a testament to its deep commitment to serving California’s Central Valley. Since welcoming its first freshman class, UC Merced has grown in enrollment to 9,104 students, including 775 graduate students in its three schools: School of Engineering, School of Natural Sciences, and School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts.

The Chief Campus Counsel is responsible for a wide range of legal, regulatory, policy, and governance issues that may arise, providing advice directly or in consultation with other University of California attorneys, or by engaging the services of outside counsel. This leader will work with campus representatives to develop or modify practices and procedures to conform with legal requirements and reduce risk; act as a liaison with outside legal firms; monitor litigation of importance to the campus; and keep informed on legislation and case law developments affecting University operations. They provide advice on a wide range of legal questions associated with the administration, management, and operation of the campus as requested by the Chancellor including employee relations, employee organizations, academic personnel, equal opportunity and affirmative action, real property and development of campus facilities, tort liability and insurance, patents, licenses, copyrights, intellectual property, risk management and insurance, taxes, health affairs, campus security and safety, auxiliary and service enterprises, fundraising, contracts, and other legal considerations contained within or related to these broad categories.

The Office of Campus Counsel represents the Regents of the University of California; the Chief Campus Counsel coordinates and consults with the General Counsel of the Regents and provides assistance on UC Merced’s legal rights and obligations to the Chancellor, and through the Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, Associate Vice Chancellors, Deans, department chairs, unit heads, and other academic and administrative officers.

This is a role for an institutional and team leader who will oversee an Office that is valued and respected for the quality of service it provides, as well as for its collegial, supportive culture. The next Chief Campus Counsel will be a service-oriented generalist legal leader who builds relationships of transparency and trust. Accessible and collaborative, the Chief Campus Counsel will have well-developed analytical and communication skills, including the ability to carefully assess complex matters and advise clients on the management of risk and response. Prior experience working within a complex environment will enable the Chief Campus Counsel to work effectively within the UC system and with leaders within the communities surrounding the University. An understanding of higher education will be an asset. Appreciation for student affairs, a deep commitment to advancing the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and a passion for social justice and environmental sustainability will be important attributes.

This is an opportunity to make an impact within an aspirational, welcoming, and deeply engaged intellectual community.

The University of California Merced has retained Caldwell Partners, a national executive search firm, to assist with this search. Please email confidential inquiries, nominations, or referrals to: .

Acceptance of candidate materials will begin immediately (in August 2023). The first review period ends ­­­­­September 20, 2023. The ability to apply or nominate will continue until the position has been filled. Applications, including a resume, cover letter, and statement of contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion ( DEI statement guidance can be found here ), can be submitted to Project U230528 at . The compensation range is $300K-$355K.

Special conditions of employment include: successful background check; financial disclosure requirements of the California Reform Act of 1974; annual disclosure of outside professional activities; mandatory trainings as required by the University of California. Per the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA), this position has been identified as a Mandated Reporter. The selected candidate will be required to report known or suspected child abuse or neglect as defined by CANRA and will be required to sign a Statement Acknowledging Requirement to Report Child Abuse prior to commencing employment.

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer advancing inclusive excellence. 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, or other protected categories covered by the UC nondiscrimination policy. UC Merced is committed to excellence through diversity and strives to establish a climate that welcomes, celebrates, and promotes respect for the contributions of all students and employees. Inquiries regarding the University’s equal employment opportunity policies may be directed to: .

The University of California Merced will provide accommodations to applicants with disabilities for all steps of the hiring process upon request: . If you have comments regarding the accessibility of UC Merced’s website, please provide feedback via: .