Position Description

About the Position

The University of Utah invites nominations and applications for the position of Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO). The CSO, reporting to the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs (SVPAA), is a vital part of the University of Utah’s leadership team and is responsible for strategic planning and implementation of mission-driven institutional sustainability efforts at the University of Utah.  The CSO leads the Sustainability Office (which oversees interdisciplinary sustainability curricula, academic and community engagement), and the Global Change and Sustainability Center (a cross-campus interdisciplinary research hub), and is responsible for collaboration, accountability, and communication around sustainability efforts.

The successful candidate will be a proven leader who can work closely with the campus community to develop and maintain an integrated and robust sustainability vision and associated processes that position the University for success, aligned with the University’s strategic goals.  Candidates should be knowledgeable in sustainability practice and scholarship, have experience in managing budgets and people, and have experience in securing both internal and external sources of funding. Experience in higher education and a commitment to shared governance are strongly desired. Candidates must also possess a relevant graduate degree and a terminal degree is preferred.


Role and Responsibilities

The Chief Sustainability Officer will provide senior administrative leadership with strategic planning, implementation, and accountability for mission-driven institutional sustainability efforts at the University of Utah. This position will lead a team charged with sustainability efforts across the campus, working in coordination and collaboration with other senior university leaders including the SVPAA, the Chief Financial Officer, and the Chief Facilities Officer or their designees.

The CSO leads the Sustainability Office, which engages the academic and health sciences campuses, as well as operational units such as University Health, Real Estate Administration, Auxiliary Services, and Athletics. As the central hub of campus sustainability efforts, the Sustainability Office is engaged in efforts to improve sustainability efforts in Education, Research, Engagement, Operations, Health Care Delivery, and Planning and Administration. The CSO and Sustainability Office work to engage and collaborate with these important stakeholders.

In addition, the Global Change and Sustainability Center and the Sustainability Education Advisory Committee are embedded within the Sustainability Office, and their leadership reports directly to the CSO. The Sustainability Office also supports a wide range of issues (e.g., climate change adaptation, economic vitality, equity, food systems, transportation, water conservation, waste reduction, etc.) with multiple focal groups (e.g., students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community). For details on the CSO and campus sustainability activities, see https://sustainability.utah.edu.

The CSO will be expected to collect and analyze data to understand climate and performance at the university and use this data to support informed and collaborative decisions and interventions based on best practice. This includes the consistent communication of progress and challenges to university stakeholders.

Finally, working with the university community, the CSO will formulate and articulate a Sustainability Action Plan that addresses all major elements of the STARS program and current University of Utah ranking.


CSO Responsibilities Include


  • Developing and implementing a strategic plan and comprehensive vision for economic, equitable, and environmental sustainability on campus
  • Leading campus sustainability activities and acting as organizational strategist to position the University of Utah as a leader in sustainability in higher education
  • Understanding and communicating the importance of sustainability to the broader mission of the University of Utah
  • Supporting the integration of sustainability goals into the University’s strategic planning, operating and capital budgeting, and academic and research planning
  • Developing and implementing an update to the 2010 Climate Action Plan
  • Seeking external funding opportunities and supporting fundraising for the Sustainability Office
  • Managing the context, behaviors, politics, policies, and technologies that shape implementation, leadership, and management of effective sustainability efforts
  • Understanding and identifying institutional data for data-driven decisions, and promoting accountability for the sustainability mission of the university
  • Leading evidence-based practices that amplify sustainability in operations, engagement, health care delivery, research, and education
  • Managing annual and semi-annual sustainability reporting requirements
  • Serving in the SVPAA’s Academic Leadership Team



A Master’s degree or equivalent is required; a Ph.D. or other terminal degree is strongly preferred. At least five (5) years of related experience in higher education sustainability is strongly desired, including experience working with faculty, staff, and students in collaborative shared governance, as well as experience with current best practices in sustainability and knowledge of the daily operations of facilities and environmental sustainability.


application information

To apply, please submit (1) a letter of interest; (2) a resume; and (3) the names and contact information for at least five references. Candidates will be notified before references are contacted. Applications must be submitted electronically at http://utah.peopleadmin.com/postings/92391.

Screening of applications will begin July 8th and continue until position is filled

For additional information or to provide a nomination, please contact Dean John Scheib, Committee Chair of the Chief Sustainability Officer Search, via his assistant’s e-mail address: cami.rives@utah.edu.

The University of Utah is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and does not discriminate based upon race, national origin, color, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, status as a person with a disability, genetic information, or Protected Veteran status. Individuals from historically underrepresented groups, such as minorities, women, qualified persons with disabilities and protected veterans are encouraged to apply. Veterans’ preference is extended to qualified applicants, upon request and consistent with University policy and Utah state law. Upon request, reasonable accommodations in the application process will be provided to individuals with disabilities. To inquire about the University’s nondiscrimination or affirmative action policies or to request disability accommodation, please contact: Director, Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, 201 S. Presidents Circle, Rm 135, (801) 581-8365.

The University of Utah values candidates who have experience working in settings with students from diverse backgrounds, and possess a strong commitment to improving access to higher education for historically underrepresented students.

The University is a participating employer with Utah Retirement Systems (“URS”). To be eligible for retirement contributions, you must be hired into a benefit-eligible position. Employees with prior URS service may elect to enroll in the URS within 30 days of hire. Regardless of whether they are hired into a benefit-eligible position or not, individuals who previously retired and are receiving monthly retirement benefits from URS must notify the Benefits Department upon hire. Please contact Utah Retirement Systems at (801)366-7770 or (800)695-4877 or the University’s Benefits Department at (801)581-7447 for information. This position may require the successful completion of a criminal background check and/or drug screen.

About the University of Utah

As a flagship research institution in the elite Pac-12 Conference, the University of Utah enrolls approximately 26,000 undergraduate and 6,000 graduate students and ranks among the best global universities. Heralded for its entrepreneurial spirit, Forbes magazine ranked the state of Utah as the 3rd Best State For Business in 2018. Our campus is located in Salt Lake City, a progressive state capital and regional economic epicenter, which serves as a focal point of growth for a diverse metropolitan area of over one million people ranked as the 10th best city in the U.S. by U.S. News & World Report in 2017. The city is home to a wide variety of cultural activities, including the Utah Symphony and Opera, Ballet West, the brand new Eccles Theatre, a vibrant concert scene, and several professional sports teams, and offers unparalleled recreational opportunities, with ten world-class ski resorts and five national parks nearby. More information about the city and the region can be found at http://www.visitsaltlake.com.