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Executive Director

The National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) seeks an exceptional Executive Director (ED) with a personal passion for, and professional commitment to, the field of Women’s Studies. The ED will serve as an energetic and visionary leader for the pre-eminent feminist academic organization in the US. The ED will be strategic, collaborative, and an ambassador for the organization.

The Organization

Established in 1977, the National Women's Studies Association promotes and supports the production an dissemniation of knowledge about women and gender through teaching, learning, research and service in academic and other settings. NWSA is committed to:

  • Illuminating the ways in which Women's Studies is vital to education; 

  • Demonstrating the contributions of feminist scholarship;

  • Emphasizing the importance of scholarship that is comparative, global, intersectional and interdisciplinary to understandings of the arts, humanities, social sciences and sciences;

  • Promoting synergistic relationships between scholarship, teaching and civic engagement, advocacy, and activism in understandings of culture and society.

NWSA’s 2,300 worldwide members actively pursue a just world – one free from ideologies, systems of privilege, or structures that oppress or exploit some for the advantage of others – in which all persons can develop to their fullest potential.

Along with issuing publications to harvest a culture of learning about Women’s Studies, NWSA organizes the following events, programs, and activities including:

  • Annual Conference: The annual conference regularly draws more than 2,000 attendees and is the only annual meeting in the US exclusively dedicated to showcasing the latest feminist scholarship. 

  • Women of Color Leadership Project: This project facilitates collaboration, leadership, and mentorship of women of color. It serves as a foundation for leadership within NWSA, their institutions, and the field.

  • Authors Meet Critics: These sessions are designed to drive conversations between the authors of new, cutting edge books that contribute to the field of Women’s Studies and the individuals who celebrate and appreciate their work.  

  • Doctoral Chair Meetings: Doctoral program chairs have the opportunity to assemble and network, exchange information on curricula, and support graduate education.

  • Chair and Director Meetings: Chairs and directors from across the country unite to discuss strategies to further advance Women’s and Gender Studies programs and women’s centers.

  • Acknowledgements and Awards: NWSA members are eligible to apply for book prizes, student awards, and women’s center awards that honor accomplishments in the field.

  • Caucuses: Caucuses focus on groups that are under-represented within society or NWSA by enabling members and conference participants to mobilize, organize, and network around scholarly, activist, and artistic issues.

  • Supporting feminist delegations and other gestures of solidarity with women scholars and activists in parts of the world other than the US.

NWSA’s strategic vision includes:

  • Maintaining an engaged and committed membership via a cutting-edge annual conference, professional development opportunities across career stages, and new programs.

  • Cultivating programming that continues to propel the field forward with attention to transnational, intersectional, and critical feminist scholarship, questions of access, structural disparities in the academy and beyond, and public scholarship.

  • Establishing visible, varied, and supported pathways to leadership within the organization via structural changes such as regular term limits and electronic voting for all leadership positions.

  • Streamlining and reorganizing governance to better serve members.

  • Connecting and exploring collaborations with feminist and social justice projects beyond the Academy.

NWSA operates with a $500K budget. The organization takes direction from the strong leadership of a 13-member Governing Council, elected by its members.

Recent Accomplishments

  • In 2017, NWSA honored the 40th anniversary of the Combahee River Collective to engage feminist scholars and activists in the movement for Black lives.

  • NWSA transformed its approach toward diversity by enforcing an inclusive environment for leaders, activists, and feminist scholars of all races, ages, genders and sexualities, and it continues to strive to increase diversity.

  • The most recent annual conference welcomed more than 2,000 people and supported the complimentary registration of 445 indigenous people, nonprofit employees, activists, and grade school teachers.

  • NWSA has held successful conferences throughout the continental US, and expanded to Puerto Rico in 2014 and Montreal in 2016.

  • NWSA implemented a one-day “Teach-In” at the National Conference in Baltimore for 21 Baltimore City educators who incorporate or who aspire to incorporate civic, social, and cultural topics into their curriculum.

  • The Women of Color Leadership Project, a program that aims to increase the number of women of color students and faculty within the field of Women’s Studies, grew its participation to 41 members strong and increased its diversity.

  • In line with its efforts to strengthen and support the field, NWSA designed the webinar, “How to Grow Your WGSS [Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies] Enrollment,” which attracted nearly 50 participants.

  • NWSA has launched an activist travel scholarship to encourage activists and independent scholars and researchers engaged in organizing work to participate in the annual conference.

For more information on the work that NWSA does, please visit

Position: Executive Director
Organization: National Women's Studies Association
Location: Baltimore,  MD 
United States
Posting Start Date: 8/22/2018
Date Posted: 8/22/2018

The Position

The ED will be an ambassador to NWSA’s members, provide leadership to the organization, and manage its day-to-day affairs. Reporting to the Governing Council, the ED has overall operational responsibility for NWSA’s staff, programs, membership development, outreach and external relations, and financial oversight.

Key Responsibilities

Primary responsibilities for the ED include, but are not limited to:

  • Managing the day-to-day operations, including effective fiscal management and revenue diversification. 

  • Providing leadership in setting and pursuing NWSA’s vision and strategic direction.

  • Engaging actively with the Gender and Women’s Studies field and building an active and robust network of supporters, participants, collaborators and partners; seeking out professional organizations as well as feminist and activist groups doing work on gender.

  • Leading and actively implementing a robust fund development and fundraising strategy that includes individual donor cultivation, grant writing, and earned revenue initiatives. 

  • Working collaboratively with NWSA’s President and program committees to organize the annual conference, including development of the Call for Proposals, issuing speaker invitations, and overseeing various activities related to hosting the conference.

  • Overseeing all programmatic functions, such as webinars, special programs, etc.

  • Fostering recognition of NWSA as a national leader on social and political conversations pertaining to gender and intersectionality.

  • Recruiting, hiring, and continuously developing a high-performing team, and fostering an environment of professional development for staff. 

  • Overseeing all communications processes including the annual report, newsletters, media (including social media) plans, and maximizing the connectivity and visibility of NWSA to the general public and targeted constituencies.

  • Nurturing and supporting the Governing Council’s leadership efforts to ensure exemplary organizational governance, maximum board member participation, and effective oversight of all NWSA activities.

Experience and Attributes

Ideal candidates for this position will demonstrate an ability to quickly integrate into the Women’s Studies community and serve as a strategic and collaborative leader. The ED will bring a variety of experiences and attributes to NWSA, including, but not limited to:

  • Demonstrated commitment to the field of Women’s Studies.

  • Proven commitment to advancing scholarship and leadership for women, especially women of color.

  • Strong financial management skills.

  • Strong fundraising capacity with an emphasis on experience with individual donors and foundations.

  • Experience with planning and executing major events.

  • Must be a masterful communicator and excellent listener with a strong ability to speak on behalf of the organization and build trust among a wide range of constituents.

  • Political awareness, a record of activism and/or advocacy on relevant social issues, and confidence to actively engage in a national dialogue on issues that impact NWSA’s members and constituents, and feminist concerns in general.

  • Solid administrative, management, and leadership skills. Must demonstrate an inclusive leadership and management style that encourages members and staff in ways that motivate them to perform at their best.

  • Ability to work collaboratively with the organization’s Governing Council.

  • Significant leadership/management experience, with some of this experience being in the Women’s Studies field.

  • A vision for NWSA’s growth consistent with its mission, values and strategic plan.

  • An advanced degree, with research related to Women’s Studies is preferred.




Doctorate (PhD)


Application Process

To apply, e-mail your resume, a cover letter that explains how your skills align with the requirements above, and salary requirements to: (e-mail applications are required). For other inquiries, contact Adrienne O’Rourke at Resume reviews begin immediately. Applicants must be available to start this position no later than January 1, 2019.

NWSA is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Affirmative Action Employer and does not discriminate in hiring on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law. Women and persons of color are encouraged to apply.

About Raffa, PC

On behalf of NWSA, Raffa, PC is working with the Governing Council, the GC-appointed search committee, and leading the Executive Director search. Founded in 1984, Raffa is, and always has been, a mission-driven professional services firm seeking to do more for nonprofits and socially conscious companies. We exist to do meaningful work for organizations like NWSA who are making a difference in our communities and our world.


Status: This listing expires on: 12/31/2018
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Organization Information
National Women's Studies Association

Baltimore,  MD 21202
United States