Committee: Board of Directors
Position: Member at Large
Term Dates: Three Years

In the bylaws, NAFSA's Board of Directors is charged with the following responsibility:

"The affairs of NAFSA shall be governed by the Board of Directors, whose duties include, but are not limited to, exercising leadership in the affairs of NAFSA; developing its policies, priorities, and positions; and providing direction for the development and stewardship of its resources through a strategic plan." 

The composition of the Board is also set forth in the bylaws: 

"The Board of Directors of NAFSA shall consist of four (4) directors elected to their offices by the membership, namely:

  • the President of the Association, also serving as Chair of the Board (hereinafter President & Chair),
  • the Vice President for Scholarship & Institutional Strategy,
  • the Vice President for Public Policy & Practice, and
  • the Vice President for Professional Development & Engagement;

and no fewer than thirteen (13) and no more than sixteen (16) additional Directors-at-Large elected by the membership.  The Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer (hereinafter referred to as the Executive Director & CEO) shall serve ex-officio and shall have no vote."

Up to one-third of the Board's membership can consist of individuals who are not members of the association.  The remaining two-thirds must consist of NAFSA members.

Position updated January 2020

NAFSA is accepting applications for this leadership position from February 5 to March 31, 2020.

Major Functions and Responsibilities

The major functions of the Board of Directors are as follows. Individual directors will be expected to contribute their expertise and energy to the execution of these functions. 

  • Serve on at least two committees and actively engage in the work of the association.
  • Uphold NAFSA's vision, mission, and values. 
  • Set broad policies, direction and priorities for the association.
  • Ensure NAFSA has a highly effective leadership.
  • Actively assist the Governance Committee in identifying prospective board members.
  • Provide fiduciary oversight of the association.
  • Actively work to identify prospective sources of financial support or business partnerships and work with staff to determine strategies for approaching such prospects.
  • Maintain the integrity of the programs, products, and services developed for the benefit of the association.
  • Uphold NAFSA's commitment to the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan.
  • Make an annual financial contribution to the Association.
  • Attend all board meetings and conference calls.

In exercising these functions, directors serve as individuals, not as representatives of their organizations, institutions, or constituent groups. In addition to these functions, board members are asked to serve on various committees and task forces during their terms.  Board standing committees include Development, Scholarship and Institutional Strategy, Finance and Audit, Governance, Professional Development and Engagement, and Public Policy.


The term of the office is three years. In each year of tenure, the director is expected to attend all board meetings (March, September and December in person and any special meetings by conference call). Upon election, incoming directors will attend the December meeting of the Board of Directors as a guest with no vote, prior to the start of their term. NAFSA's Board of Directors typically meets three times a year. The meetings are held in Washington, DC.  When professional duties make it impossible to attend in person, board members can participate via conference call. In March, just prior to the board meeting, directors are encouraged to attend Advocacy Day. Board members are expected to attend the NAFSA Annual Conference and Expo. The conference is held in May and the location varies. Travel expenses for these board functions are covered by NAFSA.

First time board members who haven't been to Washington Leadership Meeting (WLM) and would like to attend once, are invited. Regional Conferences take place yearly from October to November. Board members may be asked their availability and interest in attending a Regional Conference to represent the Board each fall. Board committees meet prior to each in-person Board meeting. Directors on committees can expect two to three additional conference calls during the course of the year.  Board orientation for new board members is held in person at the December board meeting. They can also expect to participate in an orientation conference call in November.


Required Qualifications

  • Excellent communication strategies and skills
  • Strong interpersonal, inter-group, and cross-cultural skills
  • Previous experience on an educational or non-profit board of directors with demonstrated/documented fiduciary responsibility
  • Willingness and availability to travel
  • Prior experience in a management position that required strategic and operational planning
  • Commitment to advancing the field of international education
  • Experience managing budgets
  • Understanding of fiduciary responsibility
  • Demonstrates commitment to diversity and inclusion efforts
  • Does not serve in a similar position on another higher education board.

Desired Qualifications

  • Familiarity with non-profit finance, audit reporting, and/or development.
  • Good grasp of NAFSA activities and leadership in the past five years—served on high level task forces or led committees, experience at both regional and national levels
Diversity and Inclusion

Champion resources and hold the association accountable to our on-going commitment to diversity and inclusion.

  • Engage board committees to identify and implement strategies for increased personal outreach, recruitment, onboarding, and engagement toward diversity-focused and underrepresented groups.
  • Avoid unconscious bias in decision-making.
  • Lead the assessment of relevant practices, policies and procedures of the board.
  • Foster an inclusive environment by increasing accessibility and participation from underrepresented groups, individuals, and institutions.
  • Seek to learn and understand the multicultural perspectives of member leaders, our constituents, and stakeholders to align with the NAFSA Diversity and Inclusion Statement.
Sample Meeting Calendar
Month Responsibilities
  • Complete conflict of interest form and other Governance requests
  • If interested, Washington Leadership Meeting (WLM)
  • Nomination and encourage colleagues to apply for open NAFSA positions
  • Nominate colleagues and peers for NAFSA awards
  • Advocacy Day in DC – just prior to the board meeting
  • Attend Board meeting in DC
May Attend Annual Conference:
  • Attend Board reception/meeting on Monday afternoon
  • Attend Meet and Greet with Plenary speakers
  • Other representational duties as requested or assigned by committee
  • Board meeting via conference call to approve slate of candidates for the board – quorum must be achieved during this call.
  • Vote in Annual Election, vote in Regional Election if applicable
  • Attend Board meeting or Retreat
  • If requested, attend a regional conference (may occur in November)
  • Participate in meetings as requested, such as the Newcomers Session, Team Meetings
  • Present certificates to out-going national committee and team chairs
  • In odd years complete board self-assessment and chief executive assessment
  • Attend Board meeting in DC


Please submit an application, or nominate a colleague, by March 31, 2020.