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Job Opportunities

Executive Director

[Download Position Announcement PDF]

The Association for Jewish Studies (AJS), the largest learned society and professional association representing Jewish Studies scholars worldwide, announces the search for its next Executive Director. This is an outstanding opportunity for an entrepreneurial professional energized by multi-faceted duties and dedicated to the advancement of Jewish Studies, specifically, and the humanities and social sciences, more generally.

About the Association for Jewish Studies

History and Mission
The Association for Jewish Studies (AJS) was founded in 1969 by a small group of scholars seeking a forum for exploring methodological and pedagogical issues in the emerging field of Jewish Studies. Since its founding, the AJS has grown into the largest learned society and professional organization representing Jewish Studies scholars worldwide. As a constituent organization of the American Council of Learned Societies, the Association for Jewish Studies represents the field in the larger arena of the academic study of the humanities and social sciences in North America.

AJS's mission is to advance research and teaching in Jewish Studies at colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher learning, and to foster greater understanding of Jewish Studies scholarship among the wider public. Its more than 2000 members are university faculty, graduate students, independent scholars, and museum and related professionals who represent the breadth of Jewish Studies scholarship. The organization's institutional members represent leading North American programs and departments in the field.

Scholarship and Professional Activities
AJS offers opportunities for its members to interact with and learn from each other and to forge strong professional relationships. Its major programs and projects include an annual scholarly conference, attended routinely by more than half the membership, and featuring more than 190 sessions; a peer-reviewed scholarly journal, AJS Review, published by Cambridge University Press; a biannual magazine, AJS Perspectives, that explores methodological and pedagogical issues; AJS News, a monthly e-newsletter featuring member news and current topics; Positions in Jewish Studies, the most comprehensive listing of Jewish Studies job opportunities; Resources in Jewish Studies, an online guide to Jewish Studies programs, grant opportunities, professional development resources, electronic research tools, and doctoral theses; a webinar series, on research and professional matters; and a range of scholarly awards and fellowships. AJS is due to launch its new website in the spring of 2017, and AJS Commons, a social media platform for scholars, in winter of 2017.

The Position
AJS seeks an Executive Director who can propel Jewish Studies into the future.
This is an important moment to join AJS as Executive Director. The association is thriving, with an excellent reputation among funders and learned societies; a dedicated board and staff; a committed membership; and stable finances. At the same time, dramatic changes in the landscape of higher education and the academic profession, and challenges to the humanities on many campuses, have required AJS to re-think its services and the function of a learned society. The association has responded with more programming to serve contingent faculty and to support students and recent PhDs interested in careers beyond academia. A self-reflective and ambitious organization, AJS completed a strategic planning process in 2013 and a development planning process in 2015, and is currently engaged in its first formal fundraising campaign, AJS@50.

Position Description
Reporting to the Board of Directors and based out of its offices at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan, the Executive Director manages the internal operations and external presence of AJS in the higher education, humanities, and social science landscape.

Specific responsibilities include:

  • Oversee day-to-day management of AJS's operations, including a staff of six full and part-time professionals
  • Serve as chief financial and administrative officer, in charge of budgeting, annual audit, fiscal controls, and human resources
  • Work closely with AJS staff and committees to direct the annual scholarly conference, with more than 1200 attendees and 190 breakout sessions
  • Support editorial staff of journal, AJS Review, and magazine, AJS Perspectives; be primary liaison to journal publisher
  • Research and develop new benefits and programs to serve members and field of Jewish Studies
  • Represent AJS at meetings, conferences, to the press, and other publics
  • Cultivate and maintain relationships with strategic partners, including other learned societies, university programs, and foundations
  • Write major grant proposals and ensure compliance with grant terms, including reporting
  • Work closely with Board of Directors and AJS Development Committee to plan strategically for the organization's future, ensuring association has the necessary resources, programs, and infrastructure to fulfill its mission
  • Work with nominating and governance committees to cultivate new board members and make certain that board operates according to best practices and New York non-profit law
  • Communicate regularly with the board president, executive committee and other committee chairs; ensure that committees are staffed appropriately and fulfilling their charge
  • Oversee AJS communications and marketing strategy, including AJS's website, print materials, and AJS Commons
  • Negotiate and review major contracts, including publishing and conference agreements
  • Hire, supervise, and train staff, creating a positive and productive office culture
  • Oversee the work of outside professionals, including bookkeeper, accounting firm, website programmers, and attorneys
  • Additional responsibilities as needed

AJS seeks an entrepreneurial and experienced leader to serve as its next Executive Director. The following is a broad list of skills and attributes important for success in this role. No one candidate will possess every trait, but AJS expects that the successful candidate will bring many of the below qualifications to the job, including:

  • Significant management experience in higher education, research, nonprofits, foundations, and/or government
  • Experience in/knowledge of Jewish Studies research and scholarship
  • Familiarity with contemporary issues in higher education, including the growth in contingent faculty, challenges to the humanities and social sciences, the rise of digital humanities, and trends toward open access in publishing
  • Outstanding organizational, administrative, writing and public speaking skills
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, inclusivity and transparency in organizational culture
  • Experience motivating and leading a high-producing staff
  • A collegial and collaborative approach to working with other organizations, staff, and volunteers
  • An ability to be strategic and mission-oriented while also working at a detailed operational level when needed
  • Business skills, including the ability to identify new revenue streams and effectively budget, manage funds, and understand financial planning
  • A diplomatic temperament and communication style
  • Demonstrated commitment to AJS's mission and the desire to serve the scholarly community

Application Instructions
Evaluation of prospective candidates will begin January 16, 2017. All inquiries, nominations/referrals, and applications (including resumes and letters of interest) should be sent electronically and in confidence to: jobs@ajs.cjh.org

Association for Jewish Studies is an equal opportunity employer and seeks a diverse pool of candidates for this search.

[Download Position Announcement PDF]