Committee:  Board of Directors
Position: President and Chair of the Board of Directors 
Term Dates: Three Years

The president of the association and chair of the Board of Directors is nominated from the Board of Directors and elected by the membership, and serves a two-year term. 
As outlined in the by-laws: “The affairs of NAFSA shall be managed 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.”  As the chair of the board of directors, the president leads the board in discharging these duties. 
In addition, the president has significant responsibilities in representing the association, communicating with the membership, and ensuring that strong volunteer and staff leaders are in place to execute the association’s plans.

Position updated January 2018

NAFSA is not currently accepting applications for this position.
Major Functions and Responsibilities
  1. Ensure the development of organizational strategy, as well as policies, processes, plans and structures to support that strategy.
    1. Lead the refreshing of the strategic plan, ensuring proper member input.  
    2. Manage policy issues with appropriate VP. Support the strategic planning and operational planning processes, etc. 
    3. Ensure the by-laws and standing rules are updated to reflect strategy 
    4. Establish task forces and advisory groups to serve the association.  
    5. In the service of the above, develop the agendas for and chair the board of directors and executive committee meetings.
  2. Take the lead role in ensuring the long-term financial health of the association.  
    1. Ensure the CEO has proper management controls in place. 
  3. Communicate the association’s direction, priorities, and positions to both internal and external audiences. 
    1. Along with the CEO, act as spokesperson for the association in its external relations.  
    2. Provide guidance to the Annual Conference Committee, and its chair, to ensure the conference reflects strategy and direction.  
    3. Deliver presentations at member and leadership meetings, including the Washington Leadership Meeting (WLM ). 
    4. Ensure that the membership at large, as well as the leadership, is informed of major association activities and directions through appropriate media.  
    5. Consult with VP’s on a regular basis. Maintain an awareness of the major activities in each VP’s purview, referring questions on details to the appropriate staff or VP. 
  4. Ensure excellent volunteer and staff leadership in the association.
    1. Make leadership appointments as needed.  
    2. Take the lead in supervising the CEO on behalf of the board and in the evaluation of the CEO’s work. 
  5. Implementing the diversity and inclusion action plan.
    1. Engage committees to identify and implement strategies for increased personal outreach, recruitment, onboarding, and engagement toward diversity-focused and underrepresented groups. 
    2. Manage unconscious bias in decision making and the assessment of practices, policies and procedures. 
    3. Foster an inclusive environment by increasing accessibility and participation from underrepresented groups, individuals, and institutions. 
    4. Seek to learn and understand the multicultural perspectives of member leaders, our constituents, and stakeholders to align with the NAFSA Diversity and Inclusion Statement. 

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.


The president/chair sets the tone of relationships in the association. S/he must remain accessible and visible to the membership, listen to concerns, and ask staff and members of the executive committee to address issues (and sometimes intervene in issues). 
While clearly the most senior officer of the association, the president/chair should also model working partnerships with the staff, and set expectations of a strong leader-staff partnership throughout the organization.  Maintaining the balance between member leadership and staff leadership on various projects is a key element of NAFSA’s culture. The Executive Director and CEO is the primary staff partner to the president/chair.  


Past presidents have reported spending 1-2 hours per day (5-10 per week) on their NAFSA work, although this will at times be in the range of 10-20 hours per week. The president/chair’s own style is one of the factors influencing the amount of time; external events sometimes create extensive needs over short periods. While some of the volunteer work can be accomplished outside of traditional business hours, the president should expect to find time in the average day for NAFSA activities (keeping up with e-mail, conference calls, etc.).

During the two-year term, the president/chair is expected to arrange his/her schedule to attend all meetings, shown in the attached activity listing.  In addition to these meetings, much of the association business is conducted by phone/conference call.  Past presidents have emphasized that the pace of work in the association is often quite fast, particularly when external events require fast action. 
The chair/president is expected to engage in strategy discussions as needed, related to organizational advancement, and provide leadership to the entire board on this. 
The demands of the position are such that support from the president’s institution/organization is necessary, both in terms of administrative assistance (scheduling, etc.) and in terms of flexibility to attend meetings and conference calls.  A letter of support from the appropriate leader at the president/chair’s institution for the individual’s two-year leadership role at NAFSA is recommended.

  • Member of the NAFSA Board of Directors
  • Management/policy experience at the CEO/Provost/Dean/Program Director level, including experience in strategic planning, financial management; ability to take a macro view 
  • Substantial and broad experience in international education 
  • Member of NAFSA
  • Strong understanding of NAFSA as a strategic organization in field of international education
  • Good grasp of the NAFSA leadership dynamic and membership 
  • Willingness and availability to travel
  • Excellent communications skills, both oral and written
  • Demonstrated progression of leadership skill and responsibility (within or outside the association)
  • Strong interpersonal, inter-group and cross-cultural skills
  • Ability to work as a member of a team 
  • Access to and skill in word-processing, using e-mail, Internet, etc

Attributes/Skills Desired

  • Previous experience serving on another association or not-for-profit board
  • Development experience
  • Familiarity with non-profit finance and audit reporting
  • Served on high level NAFSA task forces or led committees, experience at both regional and national level
  • Stamina
  • Good sense of humor