Committee: Membership Engagement Committee
Position: Chair
Term Dates: Two-year term

The chair of the MEC manages a committee that is responsible for engagement of members, supporting the Member Interest Groups (MIGs), recognition of members via national awards, and partnerships to foster the collaboration and promotion of NAFSA membership. The year as chair-elect is focused on partnering with and supporting the existing chair of MEC, before transitioning into that role in the second year. The year as chair is focused on leading the MEC committee through virtual and in-person meetings to achieve the assigned outcomes of the work plan, monitoring progress of MEC activities, and reporting progress to the Vice President for Professional Development and Engagement (VP PDE) throughout the year.

The committee recommends to the VP PDE the structures and initiatives for engagement of members in NAFSA. The committee also oversees support for the MIGs, as well as promotion and growth of the national awards program. The committee maintains outreach to member constituencies to understand the career needs of members and the value of NAFSA membership.

Position updated January 2019

The application period for this position has closed for 2020. It will reopen early in 2021 for the next application cycle.

Major Functions and Responsibilities
  • Welcome and engage new members each quarter and provide outreach with constituent groups at the annual conference that are new to NAFSA.
  • Engage with knowledge communities and national committees for coordinated member cultivation activities.
  • Support the Member Interest Groups (MIGs) at the annual conference by attending meetings, provide talking points on behalf of the Membership Committee, and submit comments to the committee for the annual review report.
  • Approve the MIGs according to the guidelines in the MIG Leaders Handbook.
  • Provide on-going support of MIGs as appropriate throughout the year.
  • Support Career Center activities at the annual conference, and as appropriate, throughout the year.
  • Support the NAFSA Awards Program, according to guidelines established by the Board. Make recommendations to the Board for specified awards: Life Membership, Homer Higbee, and the Rising Star Young Leader.


  • During the first year as Chair-elect:
    • Assist with organizational and project management duties;
    • Prepare a strategically driven work plan for following year; and
    • Assume duties of chair in their absence.
  • During the second year as Chair:
    • Lead the Membership Engagement Committee through virtual and in-person meetings to achieve the assigned outcomes of the work plan
    • Understand the needs of NAFSA’s diverse members and MIGs in the execution of MEC activities, which may include online resources, professional development activities, conference sessions and outreach;
    • Propose and charge subcommittees when needed; and
    • Monitor and report progress of MEC activities to the VP PDE twice a year or as needed.

All NAFSA leaders are expected to foster an inclusive environment and seek to learn and understand the multicultural perspectives of the committee/team, our constituents, and stakeholders to align with the NAFSA Diversity and Inclusion Statement. An expression of leadership in this area includes:

  • Engaging the committee/team to identify and implement strategies for increased personal outreach, recruitment, and onboarding for all, especially diversity-focused and underrepresented groups
  • Increasing accessibility and participation from underrepresented groups, individuals, and institutions
  • Expanding educational content within the committees’ purview through intentional outreach and recruitment of diverse presenters and institutional types in partnership with various NAFSA groups

NAFSA: Association of International Educators is a professional association driven by its Strategic Plan as established by the Board of Directors.  The success of the association depends on the productive engagement of three key constituencies: the Board, member-leaders, and staff.  Member-leaders are advocates for the association’s mission, vision, values, diversity and inclusion, and ethical principles. They align their work closely with the Board through its vice presidents and with staff to carry out the Strategic Plan. Member-leader roles are guided by objectives assigned by the Strategic Plan, by outcome accountabilities outlined in the Standing Rules, and by position descriptions for specific roles.  


Relationships with Other Members
The MEC Chair will lead the MEC in developing partnerships with knowledge communities, leadership committees, member groups, and regional teams. The Chair serves on the Coordinating Council and collaborates closely with the Coordinating Council members to enhance work efforts across the association.

Relationships with the NAFSA staff
The Chair partners closely with the NAFSA staff partner assigned to this Committee. Effective relationships reflect the following characteristics, among others:

  • Responsiveness to phone calls/e-mail correspondence
  • Timely delivery on responsibilities
  • Open communication
  • Mutual respect

The chair-elect serves a two-year term. The chair-elect position serves for one year collaboration and shadowing the sitting chair and then will serve one year as the chair. Upon election, the incoming chair-elect should begin shadowing in the position by supporting and engaging in work plan activities of the MEC. The position requires about eight hours per month on average, with peak commitment in January (Washington Leadership Meeting) and May (Annual Conference), immediately before and during the two face-to-face committee meetings. Monthly conference call meetings will also be held throughout the year.

Peak months and duties are:

  • December/January/February: Assist with orientation, onboarding new members, and recruitment of new leaders; prepare for and attend the Washington Leadership Meeting;
  • April/May: Prepare for and attend leadership meetings before the NAFSA Annual Conference and organizing MEC conference activities; and
  • July/August/September: Attend the Summer Coordination Meeting, submit a conference poster session proposal if requested, and complete an end of year work plan report.

NAFSA Meetings
Travel, per diem, and lodging expenses are reimbursed for national NAFSA meetings, except for those surrounding the NAFSA annual conference. The travel to/from the annual conference, along with any meals and lodging for meetings before/during the conference, is not covered. Annual Conference registration is complimentary for the current chair and chair-elect. For the Washington Leadership Meeting (WLM) in January, single room lodging is provided, travel, and per diem is reimbursed for WLM. Other operating expenses members incur in their offices/at home, such as copying, phone calls, etc. are not reimbursed. Large copying jobs should be referred to staff. Conference calls are set up by staff and covered by the association as necessary.

Please Note: If you are elected chair-elect of the Membership Engagement Committee, you are not eligible to serve in another elected position until one full year after your term as chair of the Membership Engagement Committee has ended. Chairs are kindly asked to not present at Annual Conference pre-conference workshops because their attendance is necessary at the team’s pre-conference meetings and other NAFSA events.

  • Previous leadership experience in NAFSA (local, state, regional, and/or national).
  • Understanding of NAFSA and a strong overall knowledge of the structure of the association
  • Knowledge of and ability to articulate as well as promote the benefits of NAFSA membership
  • Willingness to adopt association priorities and perspectives on volunteer development and management
  • High strategic planning, management, networking, and delegation experience
  • Strong coordination, analytical, oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to work effectively with a team and with NAFSA staff in an outcomes-based environment
  • Commitment to access and respond to e-mail in a timely fashion as well as communicate using online electronic tools/systems plus the online workspace structure
  • Willingness and ability to travel for participation and representation at NAFSA meetings
  • Manage unconscious bias in the assessment and decision-making process
  • Recognized by peers for being energetic, innovative, and visionary
  • Three or more years membership in NAFSA and current NAFSA membership
  • Valid NAFSA membership through the length of the leadership term
  • Ability to meet the volunteer commitment outlined and planning calendar deadlines

Desired Qualifications

  • Previous NAFSA leadership experience on more than one national committee or subcommittee.
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Office suite.
  • Skill and/or experience in public speaking, workshop/session presentations, marketing, mentoring, and leadership development.
  • Ability to represent the MEC by attending regional conferences (or international education conferences outside the United States if member is based outside the United States).