Dear AJS members,
At the end of the year, the AJS Board of Directors will have 6 open spaces as one third of the board rotates off at the end of a three-year term. The AJS Nominating Committee, acting on behalf of the organization, is issuing an open call to the Membership for nominations or self-nominations, the first step in the process to elect new board members. Once the Nominating Committee receives the names, we will choose 6 of the nominated members to form an election slate that will be presented to the membership for a vote this fall and who, if elected, will take office in December 2022. (For full information on AJS election procedures, see the amended and restated bylaws of the Association for Jewish Studies, inc.)
The Nominating Committee consists of a range of members at different institutions, in different kinds of job roles and a range of career stages, with varying kinds of engagement with AJS in the past, and with a range of scholarly interests. In choosing 6 members to form the slate, we will be looking for members who are able to contribute to the mission and promote the core values of AJS and who will add various and diverse perspectives to the Board. A list of current board members can be found at AJS Board and Committees. Completing their terms at the end of 2022 are: Jeffrey Abt, Willa Johnson, Shira Kohn, Lisa Leff, Eva Mroczek, and Lisa Silverman.
Serving on the AJS Board is a rewarding experience, enabling members who care deeply about the ﬁeld of Jewish Studies and our organization to play a key role in shaping the direction of the AJS. Importantly, serving on the Board is a signiﬁcant responsibility. Board members assume ﬁduciary responsibility for the organization as well as policy-making responsibilities. In the context of non-profit organizations like AJS, a fiduciary duty means agreeing to work in the best interest of the organization, acting to make sure that the organization is acting in accordance with its mission, and making sure that the organization is in compliance with state and federal laws. While serving on the Board is not an onerous task, it is a serious commitment.
Board members are the fiduciaries who steer the organization towards a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance and financial management policies, as well as making sure the nonprofit has adequate resources to advance its mission.
A board member has two primary fiduciary duties (1) duty of care (through engaged participation, making judicious decisions in good faith, based on full information, and the exercise of due diligence); (2) duty of loyalty (placing the good of the organization and its membership above self-interest).
Board members are expected to:
1. Attend board meetings (two-day in-person retreat in December following the AJS Conference, and shorter online meetings during January/February, March/April, June, July/August and September/October).
2. Hold in confidence all information discussed during board meetings or communicated via board correspondence.
3. Ensure that the AJS adheres to its stated mission and values, and that its activities advance its mission.
4. Participate in the creation and implementation of board resolutions.
5. Participate in the creation and implementation of the AJS’s strategic plan.
6. Serve on committees as needed to help provide guidance and direction.
7. Make decisions in the best interest of the AJS (not in one’s self-interest).
8. Serve as conduits for feedback from members.
9. Bring issues and concerns requiring discussion or action to the attention of the board in a constructive manner.
10. Serve as advocates and champions for the organization to members, donors, and the wider public.
11. Assist with fundraising efforts, including the commitment to make an individual gift of any size to the AJS each year. (Note: beyond a gift of whatever size the board member is willing to offer, there is no other financial responsibility. The AJS maintains board liability insurance and Board members are not expected to meet any costs of the organization beyond what would be expected of them as members.)
12. Hire, evaluate, and set the compensation of the executive director to run the day-to-day management activities of the AJS.
13. Ensure that the AJS obeys applicable laws and acts in accordance with ethical practices.
The AJS values diversity and inclusiveness in the Jewish Studies profession and in the many research disciplines and teaching contexts that contribute to the vibrancy of Jewish Studies scholarship. We are committed to eliminating barriers to full participation based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, race, ethnicity, ability, and employment status. We especially welcome nominees from groups historically underrepresented on the board.
All AJS members with terminal degrees in their field and at any career stage are eligible to be nominated for consideration for the Board.
This open nominations process is vital to the work of the Association. We urge you to make your voice heard and to help the AJS by taking part and submitting nominations or self-nominations to ensure a large and diverse pool of candidates.
Nominations are due July 16, 2022.
Should you have any questions about board expectations or serving on the board, please reach out to one of the Nominating Committee members listed below.
Adam Shear (University of Pittsburgh), Chair
Glenn Dynner (Sarah Lawrence College)
Sarah Imhoff (Indiana University)
Jessica Kirzane (University of Chicago)
Sara Ronis (St. Mary’s University), current AJS Board member
Anne Rothfield (USHMM/National Archives)
Jacqueline Vayntrub (Yale University)