National, State, and Branch Leadership Positions

The reception desk area for AAUW national headquarters in Washington, DC.

The reception desk area for AAUW national headquarters in Washington, DC.

Leadership opportunities exist at the national, state, and branch levels. Activities and organization may vary by branch or state. Other than the specific administrative and financial responsibilities to AAUW, the following job descriptions are flexible according to your organization’s resources and interests. According to the AAUW Bylaws, branches are only required to have two officers: branch president and finance chair.

AAUW Elected and Appointed Board Positions

The board of directors of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) provides strategic leadership and fiduciary oversight for the organization. Board members share a passion for AAUW’s mission of advancing equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.

The work of the board is challenging and invigorating as it deals with issues central to AAUW’s long-term success.  It makes major decisions, provides direction to the CEO, and exercises strategic leadership.  The board is not involved in day-to-day management or operations of the organization.

Board Responsibilities

Board responsibilities include:

  • Oversight of the organization’s mission and goals, approval of the strategic plan and oversight of its implementation;
  • Approval and oversight of the budget and review of finances and investments;
  • Oversight and annual evaluation of the chief executive officer (CEO);
  • Approval of major organization-wide policies, partnerships and collaborations, grants and programs, as appropriate and in keeping with the delegation of authorities;
  • Oversight of legal and compliance issues;
  • Approval of governance matters including appointment of committees, review of bylaw changes, public policy priorities and other proposals to be voted on by the membership, and board evaluation.

Collectively, members of the board bring their intellect, diverse experiences, and creativity to effect meaningful and sustainable impact in empowering women and girls. As a complex advocacy organization in existence since 1881 and with approximately 170,000 members and supporters engaged in advancing AAUW’s mission, the board also works to ensure the organization is responsive to members’ and supporters’ needs as AAUW evolves to meet new challenges and priorities.

Twelve board members are elected by AAUW membership and three are appointed by the board. Board members may serve two consecutive terms.  AAUW seeks board candidates who:

  • Understand and have a passion for AAUW’s mission and work;
  • Understand the fiduciary duties of directors and the governance function of a national nonprofit board;
  • Provide examples of leadership experience with AAUW or other nonprofit or for profit organizations, particularly national or international in scope;
  • Exhibit expertise in one or more specific areas such as advocacy, business management, communication, diversity and inclusion, finance, fundraising, non-profit governance, marketing, public policy, research, social media, strategic planning, technology and other areas identified by the AAUW Board;
  • Contribute financially to AAUW annually with a stretch gift based on individual capacity;
  • Devote the time and energy required to participate fully in the work of the board.

Further information on expectations of board members follows. Information on how and when to apply for a board position can be found at


Expectations of Individual AAUW Board Members

AAUW board members are expected to:

  • Understand and exercise the fiduciary duties of care and loyalty, fully prepare for board and committee meetings, ask questions, make informed decisions, put the mission of the organization first and avoid conflicts of interest.
  • Consistently attend meetings, including
    • three to four regularly scheduled board meetings a year, typically held in Washington, D.C., , commencing on Friday night for dinner and ending at noon on Sunday;[1]
    • the Finance Committee’s quarterly teleconferences, usually held the week before regular board meetings;
    • other board and committee meetings, usually by teleconference.
  • Serve as a liaison to two or three AAUW state presidents, which requires regular email or telephone contact with the assigned state presidents.
  • As requested, attend and make presentations at state conventions or other AAUW-related meetings.
  • As requested, serve or assist one or more AAUW committees, which requires attendance at that committee’s teleconferences.
  • As requested serve on special board-level taskforces or subcommittees dealing with the work of the board.
  • Stay informed about AAUW programs and activities, as well as affiliate and member issues.
  • Communicate with and be a resource for affiliates and members on AAUW matters, subject, of course, to board-established guidelines on confidentiality.
  • Be an advocate for the organization within AAUW and in the community, including actively fund-raising and promoting programs of the organization.

AAUW acknowledges and honors the fundamental value and dignity of all individuals and seeks a diverse membership, workforce, leadership team and board of directors. AAUW affirms there shall be no barriers to full participation in this organization on the basis of gender, race & ethnicity, age, nationality, religion, disability, sexual orientation, sexual identity, geographical location, and socio-economic status

[1] Travel to board and other meetings is reimbursed by AAUW in accordance with AAUW guidelines.


State Position Descriptions

Branch Position Descriptions

National Committees and Task Forces

Responsibilities and qualifications for committees and task forces established by the board for the biennium to assist and guide staff, branches, states, and the board in program and project development. To find out about the current members of AAUW’s National Committees and Task Forces, please visit the Leadership Directory.

College/University Representative at Member Institutions

College/university (C/U) representatives are appointed by an AAUW college/university member institution to serve as the liaison between students and AAUW on campus.

Student Advisory Council (SAC)

SAC members provide AAUW staff with firsthand accounts of student needs and ideas for combating sex discrimination in higher education and the workplace, promote AAUW and its programs on their campus, contribute to AAUW’s blog, and serve as student leaders at the annual National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL).



Judge's gavel

AAUW Bylaws

Policies and procedures for managing the organization.

Shot of an attractive young businesswoman leading a brainstorming session during a meeting

National Committees
and Task Forces

Volunteer leaders implement priorities set by the Board of Directors in accordance with AAUW Bylaws.

Julia Brown, AAUW life member and 2017-2019 AAUW Board Chair

Board of Directors

Read about the current members elected to lead.