Ocean Career: Chief Administrative Officer Scripps Oceanography

Responsible for managing the administrative services and/or general operations of a school, or college or large, multiple, or interdisciplinary department(s) within a college, or large or multiple non-academic department(s).

Establishes operational objectives and work plans and delegates assignments to subordinate managers. Responsible for managing, preparing, administering, and directing resources. Reviews and approves recommendations for functional programs. Monitors division and department adherence to the approved budget. Involved in developing, modifying, and executing organizational policies that affect immediate operation(s) and may also have an organization-wide effect.

Erroneous decisions or failure to achieve goals result in additional costs, personnel, and serious delays in overall schedules. Serves as Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the Earth Section. The Earth Section is made up of two divisions (IGPP & GRD) within Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO). The CAO is an executive-level business leader with demonstrated expertise in university administration and the ability to effectively manage resources in an academic department conducting scientific research and offering graduate degree programs. The CAO exercises maximum initiative and management leadership within the parameters of the department and University policies and regulations to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Section.

The CAO oversees all departmental administrative and instruction/research support functions, including finance and accounting; sponsored project administration; human resources (academic and staff); space/facilities; computing; technical support services for instructional and scientific research laboratories; field research stations, environmental health, and safety; intellectual property & technology transfer; outreach; and academic affairs.

The CAO also: Serves as the principal advisor to the Earth Section Head and Directors of GRD & IGPP, 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 Section and other campus units, University administration, and external entities; and serves as a role model and mentor for other employees.

Considerable understanding of the significance associated with the scientific research and teaching missions of the department's faculty is essential 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.


  • Excellent ability to establish metrics for department and employee goals.
  • Thorough knowledge of financial analysis and reporting techniques; human resources and risk management planning; accounting and payroll.
  • Excellent skills to work collaboratively and act persuasively in sensitive situations; skills in conflict management techniques.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills to effectively lead, motivate and influence others and develop and maintain high customer service standards.
  • Thorough knowledge of common organization-specific and other computer application programs.
  • Excellent project management skills, including the capability of managing capital projects.
  • Very strong ability to quickly evaluate complex issues and identify multiple options for resolution.
  • Knowledge of UC policies and procedures and knowledge of UCSD governance and organizational structures, core functional systems and processes, departments, units, and communication channels. Knowledge of and ability to implement proper risk management practices.
  • Ability to apply high ethical standards to own business practices and decision-making and applies the same standards to the actions of business colleagues.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of environmental health and safety issues in an intense lab-based research and instructional environment.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience in space and facilities management, including analysis, funding, design, construction, and renovation of buildings and labs.
  • Demonstrated experience in proactive problem solving, taking initiative, and using investigative and research skills and resources to develop and implement creative solutions.
  • Knowledge of human resource (academic and staff) management and university policies and procedures. Ability to anticipate problems in work assignment areas and identify appropriate solutions to determine the department’s needs and direct workflow. Ability to counsel department supervisors on personnel rules and regulations governing department employees. Ability to determine training requirements, encourage employee development, reward and discipline employees and adjust their grievances.
  • 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, and ability to work in a team setting.
  • 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.
  • Ability to translate program planning into operational and fiscal requirements. Ability to advise department chair and PI’s on regulations and courses of action. Ability to weigh instructional and research needs, develop business plans, propose options and advise faculty of possible outcomes of different scenarios.
  • Excellent analytical skills (both math and verbal) with demonstrated experience in researching and presenting position papers and persuasive proposals on various policy, financial, and administrative issues. Quantitative skills must extend to defining problems accurately and applying an appropriate analytical model such as Excel or database statistical tool.
  • Exceptional overall communication skills, both written and oral. Ability to communicate ideas, thoughts, complex problems, and one’s position clearly and concisely. Must possess a strong portfolio of interpersonal skills: the ability to interact with tact and diplomacy with individuals from various backgrounds and organizational levels, ability to diffuse anger and constructively handle complaints, ability to be flexible, to work collaboratively, and to listen well and engender trust.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of generally accepted accounting principles, fund accounting, analytical skills, automated data processing, internal control standards, and audit principles.
  • Demonstrated experience both in being audited and in performing internal system audits with the ability to interact with internal, and outside audit companies as well as federal auditors.
  • Strong knowledge of and experience in University procedures and agency requirements in administration of extramural funds (i.e., accounting procedures, agency reporting requirements, reprogramming policies and guidelines, cost accounting standards, OMB Uniform Guidance, FAR and DFAR clauses.
  • Experience in communicating issues clearly and briefly, using information gathered through appropriate consultation and effectively communicating one-on-one, responding to rapid questioning on difficult issues, as well as making oral group presentations that are well-organized, clear, informative, and persuasive.
  • Experience working with a high-level research, academic, or similar commercial management team in formulating and communicating enterprise-level strategy that encompasses academic, research, operational, and financial objectives.
  • Ability to understand, support, and implement a consensual vision of the philosophy and goals of the section. This includes the ability to understand scientific and technical issues relevant to the intense scientific research environment of the divisions.

Learn more about this opportunity and how to apply.

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