The University of Southern California (USC)is seeking an experienced Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) with a commitment to operational excellence. As the largest private employer in the city of Los Angeles, USC is responsible for $8 billion in economic activity annually. We offer the opportunity to work in a dynamic and diverse environment, in careers that span a broad spectrum of talents and skills across a variety of academic and professional schools and administrative units. With more than 47,500 students, USC is a leading private research university in Los Angeles â a global center for arts, technology and international business. Come join us and work as a trusted partner in shaping an environment of innovation and excellence.
The CSO is a new executive staff position that reports directly to the Senior Vice President for Administration. The inaugural CSO will develop and lead all sustainability efforts in university operations of strategic planning, implementation and progress tracking to advance the universityâs goals as reflected in the universityâs sustainability plan(s). The CSO will partner with stakeholders across the university to develop and integrate sustainability values and practices into planning processes, resource management and facilities planning and design. The leader will foster a culture of sustainability among internal and external university stakeholders, and will facilitate sustainability ideation, innovation and experiential learning.
USC is one of the worldâs leading private research universities. An anchor institution in L.A., a global center for arts, technology and international business, USCâs diverse curricular offerings provide extensive opportunities for interdisciplinary study and collaboration with leading researchers in highly advanced learning environments.
In a comprehensive 2020 ranking, The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education ranked USC 18th among more than 1,000 public and private universities. Among all California institutions â public and private â only USC, Caltech and Stanford University ranked within the top 20. Of the 150 universities surveyed in the western United States, USC ranks third among the top 25 schools, second in engagement and fifth in environment, which is a measure of diversity and inclusion.
The CSO role is an opportunity to map the future of institutional success within an historic and world-renowned university. Sustainability is a priority for the senior leadership team and the USC community; it is identified as one of the institutionâs four strategic pillars. Â Â Â Â
Among the CSO chief responsibilities and strategic duties, the primary accountabilities will include:
Lead, develop and maintain university sustainability programs, projects, and initiatives that increase efficiency in facilities operations, energy and water consumption reduction, smart technology integration, transportation services, waste product supply chain management and waste reduction and diversion;
Develop and support a governance/organizational structure to reach university operations sustainability goals;
Develop and implement strategies to integrate sustainability and practices into the universityâs operational long-term planning process, the management of its resources and operations, facilities planning and design, and the universityâs cultural and co-curricular experience;
Collaborate with university leaders to prioritize campus sustainability efforts and achieve success;
Support and promote a culture of sustainability among students, faculty and staff;
Analyze and make improvement recommendations for university operations sustainability performance by identifying, tracking, and reporting on key sustainability performance indicators;
Plan and execute communications and marketing strategies that increase awareness and support of operations sustainability objectives, assessments and/or rating systems and practices;
Identify and pursue external funding opportunities for sustainability efforts;
Partner with key agency and industry stakeholders to launch sustainability initiatives with policy and legislative impacts;
Develop and support sustainability projects in communities local to USC;
Align operational sustainability efforts with academic and research strategies, initiatives, institutes and faculty interests and aspirations, leveraging the knowledge and research capacity of the university to help solve sustainability issues;
Develop and support a learning and testing environment (i.e., living sustainability laboratory) to facilitate sustainability ideation, innovation, teaching, and testing for campus stakeholders;
Provide an immersive sustainability co-curricular learning experience through the development and implementation of initiatives in university operations;
Responsibility for the development and provision of sustainability career development resources;
Promote an environment that fosters inclusive relationships and creates unbiased opportunities for contributions through ideas, words and actions that uphold the principles of the USC code of ethics.
Central to the success of the university sustainability endeavors, will be a leader who can drive and communicate the university vision and identity, as well as build partnerships and collaborations on and beyond the campuses, with vision for todayâs and tomorrowâs sustainability practices.
The CSO must be a dynamic and agile executive with demonstrated comfort working at the highest level of an organization and with the ambiguity and complexity of building out major initiatives. This leader will bring exemplary communication skills and a record of building and sustaining relationships within highly complex environments.
Other desired qualifications and leadership characteristics include:
At least 8-12 years of professional experience in a similar environment;
Experience working with diverse local, regional and national environmental, sustainability and energy stakeholders, including government agencies, non-profit organizations and industry and media;
Experience working in a university setting or other large multi-dimensional organization (including hospitals/medical enterprise);
Extensive knowledge of climate, water and waste policies and methods in operations to help decarbonize buildings and infrastructure, reduce water consumption, and divert waste;
Experience working with sustainability reporting/rating/ranking systems (e.g., AASHE STARS);
Demonstrated experience managing cross-functional projects and complex budgets;
Strong verbal and written communications skills with the ability to interact with a diverse community of colleagues and stakeholders;
Ability to work collaboratively and effectively across multiple departments and develop positive working relationships;
Results driven, a demonstrated record of maturity, sound judgment, integrity and ethical standards;
Strong capability to develop, nurture and maintain effective relationships at senior leadership levels both internally and externally;
Decisiveness with keen operational, critical thinking and problem-solving abilities that support and enable sound decision-making;
Strong organizational and critical thinking skills and the ability to meet and prioritize changing demands;
Proven experience fostering environments of trust, transparency and accountability;
Ability to think strategically, ask provoking questions, identify emerging issues and trends, analyze potential impacts critically and translate ideas and insights into viable recommendations for action.
Masterâs Degree in Engineering, Environmental Science, or other sustainability-related degree required. Doctorate in similar fields of study preferred. Combined experience/education as a substitute for minimum education.
Compensation and benefits will be competitive and commensurate with experience.
Minimum Education: Master's degree. Combined experience/education as substitute for minimum educationMinimum Experience: 8 yearsMinimum Field of Expertise: Masterâs degree in engineering, environmental sciences, or other sustainability-related field. Experience working with diverse local, regional, and national environmental, sustainability and energy stakeholders, including government agencies, non-profit organizations, and industry and media, as well as working in a university setting or other large multidimensional organization (including hospitals/medical enterprise). Extensive knowledge of climate, water, and waste policies and methods in operations to help decarbonize buildings and infrastructure, reduce water consumption, and divert waste. Experience working with sustainability reporting/rating/ranking systems (e.g., AASHE STARS).
USC is the leading private research university in Los Angeles—a global center for arts, technology and international business. With more than 47,500 students, we are located primarily in Los Angeles but also in various US and global satellite locations. As the largest private employer in Los Angeles, responsible for $8 billion annually in economic activity in the region, we offer the opportunity to work in a dynamic and diverse environment, in careers that span a broad spectrum of talents and skills across a variety of academic and professional schools and administrative units. As a USC employee and member of the Trojan Family—the faculty, staff, students, and alumni who make USC a great place to work—you will enjoy excellent benefits, including a variety of well-being programs designed to help individuals achieve work-life balance.