Executive Director
American Studies Association (Remote; East Coast Preferred)
March 29, 2024
Post date: February 22, 2024

Please note: Although this position will remain open until filled, candidates are encouraged to submit an application no later than March 29, 2024.

The American Studies Association (ASA) is a non-profit national organization of researchers, teachers, students, writers, artists, curators, community organizers, and activists from around the world who are dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of U.S. culture and history in a global context. It is the oldest and largest professional scholarly organization of its kind. The ASA publishes a flagship peer-reviewed journal, American Quarterly; organizes an annual international meeting and facilitates regional events; provides resources relevant to and advocates issues reflective of a sizable, diverse membership; and collaborates with museums, public institutions, and communities on a variety of projects. The ASA values original research, teaching, critical thinking, public discussion, and collective dissent. Its members share a commitment to viewing U.S. history and culture from multiple perspectives and taking public positions on issues of societal significance.

The history of the ASA’s advocacy is as long as the history of the association itself. As an organization that is concerned with structures of power and difference in the United States past and present, the ASA National Council has made public statements on pressing issues of the day and worked alongside its membership to sustain conversation and action through scholarship, programming, and collaboration with like-minded collectives. For examples of ASA statements, please visit our Resolutions and Actions page.

To learn more about ASA, please click here.

About the Executive Director Position

ASA seeks a diligent, intellectually curious, and principled Executive Director who brings deep experience in building and growing administrative infrastructure within small/growing nonprofit or academic organizations. Working collaboratively with and reporting to the ASA President and a twenty-member National Council, the ED will implement the vision and strategy of the Association as well as serve as the chief administrative officer, stewarding its organizational budget, overseeing day-to-day operations and supervising a talented team of three staff, including two Program Coordinators and a Graduate Assistant. The Executive Director will serve as a close thought partner to the President, providing the operational guidance and support to implement their strategic vision. Lastly, the ED will drive success for ASA’s Annual Meeting, the organization’s cornerstone event, which creates space for scholars ordinarily separated by disciplines, geographies, and professional barriers to come together, network, collaborate, and connect.

The ideal candidate is adept at building and cultivating relationships with academic leaders, community organizers, scholars, activists, and the heterogeneous constituencies represented by the Association. They will be deeply committed to ASA’s mission, vision, and principles of justice and academic freedom. Finally, they are an intentional thinker who understands intersectional frameworks and is foundationally collaborative—seeking out the opinions of others, listening, and learning while centering voices and perspectives historically underrepresented in academia. This is a unique opportunity to shape ASA’s current and future impact at a pivotal moment in its trajectory.

Key Responsibilities

In addition to the responsibilities below, the Executive Director may be asked to take on other roles and special projects as needed to support and enhance the work of the Association.

  • Organization mission and strategy: work collaboratively with elected leadership and other staff to ensure that ASA’s mission is fulfilled through the Annual Meeting, American Quarterly, and other projects, and community outreach; partner with the President, Executive Committee, National Council, membership, staff, and other key stakeholders to set clear goals that guide ASA’s strategic planning and priorities;
  • Relationship management: cultivate trusted relationships with the Executive Committee, National Council, Finance Committee, and ASA committees/caucuses, membership, staff, and key external partners, providing all information necessary for these and other relevant ASA bodies to function properly and to make informed decisions; engage productively with longstanding conference partners and facilitate new collaborations with vendors and other appropriate businesses; amplify ASA’s public and professional profile by ensuring it is active and visible in the field and develops collaborative relationships with other professional, civic, and private organizations;
  • Board development: develop, maintain, and support a strong Executive Committee and National Council; serve as ex-officio of each ASA committee; seek and build board involvement with strategic direction for both ongoing operations, policies, and procedures;
  • Fundraising and resource development: ensure ASA’s financial sustainability by strong management of the membership, close collaboration with the editors and publishers of American Quarterly in order to track associated revenue, and through cultivating existing funder relationships and generating new sources of revenue;
  • Financial management: set financial priorities, develop and monitor the budget, and ensure sound financial controls are in place; and
  • Team leadership and management: lead hiring, retention, and management of staff to support ASA’s mission; develop employment and administrative policies and procedures for all functions and for the day-to-day operation of the organization.

Desired Qualifications

  • Principled commitment to ASA’s mission and values;
  • Experience with and deep understanding of academia and interdisciplinary scholarship strongly preferred;
  • Proven success in a senior leadership role with a demonstrated ability to manage the strategic, financial, staff leadership, and operational needs of a dynamic organization;
  • Demonstrated aptitude for building and cultivating strong relationships with elected leadership, membership, funders, partner agencies, volunteers, and individuals and organizations of influence, including other scholarly societies;
  • A committed and collaborative leader with a record of empowering, mentoring, and managing teams through change;
  • Strong financial management skills, including budget preparation, analysis, decision-making, and reporting;
  • Successful record of fundraising for a nonprofit, including identifying and engaging new funding opportunities;
  • Solid organizational abilities, including planning, delegating, program development, and task facilitation;
  • Excellent communication skills, strong interpersonal skills, high emotional intelligence, and collegiality;
  • A record of transparent, honest, and direct communication and collaborative decision-making;
  • Strong professional ethics, transparency, integrity, and accountability;
  • A hands-on and flexible leadership approach;
  • Bachelor’s degree is required; advanced degree in a field relevant to the scholarly mission of ASA is a plus.

Compensation and Benefits

The salary range for this role is $175-200k, commensurate with experience. ASA offers a generous benefits package, including participation in the Association's qualified retirement plan, family coverage hospitalization and primary medical insurance, fifteen (15) vacation days, seven (7) sick or personal leave days, and paid federal holidays. ASA also provides up to $5,000 annually for research and/or public engagement projects undertaken in consultation with Association leadership.

Application Instructions 

ASA has retained the executive search firm LeaderFit to lead this search. Candidates should share an updated resume and brief cover letter outlining their interest in the role and upload it to the LeaderFit system here.

The American Studies Association is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status.

Additional Information

ASA is currently a fully-remote organization, with staff and elected leadership residing in various regions of the country. The ED can be based in any U.S. location, with a preference for the East Coast. This role will also require regular travel to Washington, D.C., and other travel to events and meetings several times a year.

Job, fellowship, and CFP listings are services that are offered by the American Studies Association to support its members in exploring professional opportunities in American studies. Any questions should be directed to the program, department, or center that has posted the opportunity.