He served on the board of the American Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities and chaired that board for two years. He spent many years at the University of Dayton, serving as chair of the Theology Department for six years, Provost of the University for eight years, and then Chancellor for 10 years. He left the University of Dayton in the summer of 2006 to found the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies (IACS) at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where he now serves as Alton Brooks Professor of Religion and President of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies.
Father Heft has written and edited 11 books and written more than 150 articles and book chapters. Most recently he edited Passing on the Faith: Transforming Traditions for the Next Generation of Jews, Christians and Muslims (Fordham University Press, 2006); and Intellectual Humility among Jews, Christians and Muslims (Oxford, 2011), and co-edited Engineering and the Catholic University (Notre Dame Press, 2011). He has recently finished writing Catholic High Schools: Facing the New Realities (Oxford, 2011).
He is now working on a book on the mission of Catholic colleges and universities.