University of California, San Francisco - Vice Chancellor for Communications (VC-C)

February 14, 2019



The University of California, San Francisco seeks a dynamic, accomplished, and inspiring individual to lead its communications activities in the reconceived position of Vice Chancellor for Communications (VC-C). Reporting to the Chancellor, the VC-C will provide the vision, direction, and execution to advance UCSF’s mission through strategic and collaborative programs in internal and external communications, media relations, crisis communications, reputation management, brand stewardship and marketing, and digital-based communications across the campus and UCSF Health. The VC-C is a member of the Chancellor’s Executive Team and the Chancellor’s Cabinet. The VC-C also has a dotted-line reporting relationship to the President & Chief Executive Officer of UCSF Health.

In addition to leading central communications, public relations, digital communications, and brand communications, the VC-C will provide strategic and tactical counsel to the Chancellor, counsel to the UCSF Board of Overseers, and coordination of UCSF’s relationship with communications programs, resources, and policies of the University of California Office of the President (UCOP). They will contribute to institutional strategy by translating subject-matter expertise into actionable, sustainable, and impactful communications and branding programs.

The Vice Chancellor must be a collaborative and generous colleague who can create alignment in a decentralized, matrixed environment; can influence by means of vision, credibility, and domain expertise; and can work effectively across a complex institution as a guide, partner, and supporter of central and unit-based staff. They must be a person of integrity whose beliefs and actions align with and advance UCSF’s mission, values, and policy objectives including its strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The VC-C will respectfully challenge institutional norms by identifying new opportunities, practices, and resource deployments to advance UCSF’s mission.

The successful candidate will bring experience engaging local, regional, national, and international media and audiences; excellent communication, interpersonal and representational skills, including multicultural acumen and the ability to successfully communicate with diverse groups of people; a team approach to problem-solving, commitment to collaboration, and skill at building coalitions; and a track record of leading innovation in digital communications and marketing technologies. They will have experience with advisory boards, strategic communications firms, and other external partners; a track record of developing and leveraging market research and data analytics to inform and evaluate programs, campaigns and resource deployment; and an understanding of the issues impacting higher education, research, and healthcare in California and nationally. Experience in crisis communications and internal communication is required.

A bachelor’s degree is required as is a commitment to the mission and values of UCSF, and a minimum of 10 years of progressively responsible experience across communications, marketing, and public relations in a large, complex, and dynamic organization distinguished by innovation in strategic communications. Leadership experience in communications and public affairs activities in an academic medical center, research-university and/or healthcare setting is preferred.

The University of California, San Francisco ( is the only campus in the 10-campus UC system that is exclusively focused on the health sciences. A $7-billion enterprise, UCSF has approximately 3,100 enrolled students, 1,100 postdoctoral scholars, 800 residents (physicians, dentists, and pharmacists in training), and approximately 27,000 FTEs. Through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care, UCSF is leading revolutions in health worldwide.

UCSF has engaged Opus Partners ( to support the recruitment of this position.  Jim Hess, Partner, and Craig Smith, Partner, are leading the search. Confidential inquiries, applications, and nominations should be sent to Sarah Gaines, Senior Associate, via All possible discretion will be exercised to maintain the privacy of applicants through the search process.

The University of California San Francisco 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, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic information. Candidates whose work experience or community service has prepared them to contribute to the organization’s commitment to professionalism, respect, integrity, diversity and excellence – also known as UCSF’s PRIDE values – are encouraged to apply.