FEATURED JOB: Executive Director of the African Studies Association, African Studies Association

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African American History / Studies

Featured Job

Executive Director of the African Studies Association

African Studies Association



Job Title: Executive Director
Reports To: President of the ASA Board of Directors 
Type of Position: Regular Full-Time
Salary: Competitive with Comprehensive Benefits, Commensurate with Experience Start Date: Flexible, ASAP
Location: New Brunswick, NJ


Established in 1957, the African Studies Association is a leading scholarly organization dedicated to the study of Africa. With almost 2,000 individual and institutional members worldwide, the ASA encourages and enables the production and dissemination of knowledge about Africa.TheASA provides scholars, activists, and other public figures with an infrastructure by which to conceive collaborations and develop research agendas. It also acts as a fulcrum for political advocacy, building bridges between scholarship and public life. Our membership is wide and diverse, consisting of university faculty, students, teachers, activists, development professionals, policymakers anddonors.


The Executive Director (ED) is a professional employee of the Association who performs services and duties in support of the mission of the Association. The ED manages the day-to-day affairs of the organization as its chief executive. He/she is responsible for:

  • Serving as the organization’s officialspokesperson;
  • Leading the organizations fundraising/sponsorshipactivities;
  • Leading the organization’s program or service delivery activities in accordancewith established organizationalpolicies;
  • Establishing and implementing programs consistent with the ASA’s mission and in consultation with theBoard;
  • Hiring, supervising, evaluating, and managing the staff of theSecretariat.
  • Developing annual budgets for approval by the Board and managing the organization’s finances to thesebudgets;
  • Providing reports of organization and financial progress to the Board, membership, funders, and other keyconstituencies;
  • Selecting and contracting with consultants, professional servicecontractors;
  • Overseeing tax, insurance, and legalmatters
  • Negotiating and executing contracts consistent with the organization’smission;
  • Proposing amendments to the Policies and Procedures in accordance with boarddecisions;



The Executive Director should manage the organization in accordance with its Policies and Procedures, bylaws and laws governing the jurisdiction within which the ASA is located. The Executive Director reports to the President of the Association and, through the President and the Executive Committee, is responsible to the elected Board of the Association and the Association’s membership.

The Executive Director is often instrumentally involved in both practical and scholarly initiatives of the association. Opportunities for facilitating and developing ASA scholarly programs (special sessions at meetings, publications, and joint ventures with other associations, for example) occur frequently, and the ED, in consultation with the President and the Board, is empowered to exercise imagination and initiative in this area. The same holds true for more practical matters, such as developing policies and infrastructure to make the association run more efficiently and be more cost-effective. Office staff, structure, and job descriptions, along with issues involving web site, annual meetings, and publications, for example, all fall into this category.

The Executive Director works with the Board of Directors to advance strategic planning and is responsible, under Board direction, to develop and sustain strategic initiatives that support the mission of the Association. These include seeking funding from private and public sources to support those initiatives and the broader goals of the Association. The Executive Director will maintain liaison with key external organizations and with the various constituent organizations of the Association. The Executive Director provides support to the Board and committees of the Board to undertake their work. The ED serves as an ex officio member of the Board and the Board’s Executive Committee, Finance Committee and Annual Meeting Committee. The ED works with other committees of the ASA, including the Local Arrangements Committee, to ensure that they have appropriate Secretariat support and to facilitate their successful operation.



Key Duty 1: Human Resources
The Executive Director is responsible for maintaining a productive working environment in the Secretariat, including timely evaluation and supervision of all employees, developing position descriptions and calendars of responsibilities for all employees; and maintaining compliance with all federal, state, local, university, and Association laws and regulations. The Executive Director has responsibility for affirmative action and equal opportunity hiring in all the operations of the Association for all categories of disadvantaged persons. All staff will be subject to a probationary period.

Key Duty 2: Annual Meetings
The Executive Director, working with the appropriate Board Committees, supervises the planning and implementation of successful and well-managed annual meetings, including timely prior announcements and publicity, facilitating the work of the Program and Local Arrangements chairs and committees, assisting the Board of the Association in the choice of venues, and negotiating with hotels and agencies that broker hotel, exhibit, audiovisual, security, and onsite temporary staff contracts and arrangements. The ED keeps the various committees and ASA members informed of deadlines pertaining to the annual meeting.

Key Duty 3: Board Meetings
The Executive Director is responsible for arranging, facilitating, and setting the agenda for the meetings of the Board and its committees together with the President and the Executive Committee. The ED coordinates the production of suitable minutes of the semi-annual Board meetings, the annual business meetings, and other occasional meetings authorized by the Association.

Key Duty 4: Membership
The Executive Director supervises the Secretariat’s responsiveness to the Association’s membership within the parameters defined by the Association By-Laws and the policies set by the Board of Directors.

Key Duty 5: Publications
The Executive Director manages the publication of the ASA News, the Association’s journals, and other publications to ensure timely and professional products. The Executive Director manages current contracts for publishers, printers, mailing houses, copy-editors, and layout consultants. The ED regularly consults with the editors of the African Studies Review and History in Africa and the Publications Committee of the ASA Board.

Key Duty 6: Website, Communication, and Representation
The Executive Director is responsible for providing information to the President, the Board, and the membership to keep them sufficiently informed about developments in the Association, the secretariat, and in African studies. The Executive Director is responsible for representing the Association at functions that require the input of the Association's chief administrative officer, including to funding agencies, other professional associations and agencies, the host university administration, and the wider publics to which the Association must relate. Given ASA’s membership in the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), the Executive Director attends the annual ACLS Meetings and participates actively in the ACLS Council of Executive Officers.The ASA relies on its website to communicate with its members and to conduct an increasing portion of the association’s business online, e.g., renewal of memberships, proposals for the annual meeting, elections for the Board of Directors, the dissemination of publications including the ASA News. The Executive Director is responsible for managing the maintenance of an attractive, visually appealing, and user-friendly website commensurate with the evolving needs of the Secretariat and the Board of Directors, and consistent with the expectations of the Association’s members.


  • Experience with academic associations and with the field of AfricanStudies,African Diasopra Studies, and African Studies centers and programs in the UnitedStates
  • ​Demonstrated experience as a non-profit/association manager, including budgetary, event, and program management;
  • Fundraising and development experience
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills required.
  • Graduate work in the field of African Studies preferred
  • Knowledge and understanding of association administration, organization, coordination, facilitation, and/or reportwriting.
  • Strong computer skills and proficiency in the MS Office suite ofsoftware.
  • Strong organization skills, with the ability to prioritize tasks without supervision.
  • Strong communication and problem-solving skills.
  • Comfortable with web and CMS systems, technology, blogs, and social mediaplatforms.

Equal Employment Opportunity:ASA is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants shall not be discriminated against because of race, religion, sex, national origin, ethnicity, age, disability, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, color, marital status, or medical condition.

Applicants with Disabilities:Reasonable accommodation will be made so that qualified disabled applicants may participate in the application process. Please advise us in writing of special needs at the time of application.


Application Instructions:

Applicants should forward a letter outlining interest in the position, qualifications and experience together with a CV or resume and the names and contact information of three references in electronic format to Ato Quayson, ASA President (aquayson@stanford.edu) and Suzanne Moyer Baazet, current Executive Director at (suzanne@africanstudies.org). For full consideration, please submit requested materials by December 15, 2019. Review of applications will continue until a candidate is hired.

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Contact Info: 

Applicants should forward a letter outlining interest in the position, qualifications and experience together with a CV or resume and the names and contact information of three references in electronic format to Ato Quayson, ASA President (aquayson@stanford.edu) and Suzanne Moyer Baazet, current Executive Director at (suzanne@africanstudies.org). For full consideration, please submit requested materials by December 15, 2019. Review of applications will continue until a candidate is hired.