The Academic Engagement Network (AEN) is a national organization of respected faculty members and staff on more than 200 university and college campuses in the United States. It seeks to counter effort to delegitimize Israel, including the Boycott Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and to contribute to constructive discourse about Israel and Palestine; it also is committed to preserving academic freedom and freedom of expression on campus. The AEN also responds actively to antisemitism when it appears.
Launched in December 2015, AEN has grown to a mature organization with more than 620 members in September 2018. AEN operates as an independent and autonomous organization in cooperation with the Israel on Campus Coalition. AEN’s organization consists of a small professional staff in Washington DC led by the AEN executive director and a deputy director. The Executive Director reports to the chair of the national advisory board, Mark G. Yudof, and is subject to his direction.
AEN achieves its goals by educating and providing support to faculty members so they can serve as resources on their campuses, anticipating and addressing anti-Israel and anti-Zionist initiatives, while maintaining ties with other faculty on other campuses confronting similar challenges. AEN offers financial support for faculty-initiated academic programming and speakers, plans educational efforts in regional and national convenings, and directs three-day residential seminars together with the Brandeis Schusterman Center for Israel Studies to strengthen faculty literacy about 21st century Israel and effective action on American campuses. AEN also seeks to educate the broader university community – university leaders, students, staff members – about our issues and to contribute to public discussions.
AEN now seeks to hire a new Executive Director to replace Kenneth Waltzer, who has announced his retirement effective later this calendar year. In consultation with the chair of the advisory board, the Executive Director offers intellectual and strategic leadership to AEN while overseeing the network’s activities. Top priorities are to continue to grow and strengthen the organization, build active links among faculty, and creatively engage and mobilize members.
The Executive Director leads a professional team that sustains regular communication with faculty via a monthly newsletter, email, social media, and other means, and coordinates and offers guidance to academics who engage on their campuses about Israel, free speech, and BDS efforts to delegitimize Israel. Members of the professional team also publish essays, op-eds, and longer essays while tracking similar writing published by AEN members, visit campuses for local and regional convenings, and together plan annual national conferences or workshops.
The Executive Director’s responsibilities include the following:
- Providing thought leadership on key issues and directing strategic planning for growth
- Collaborating with the Advisory Board, as well as with national & campus partners
- Recruiting faculty, staff and administrators into the network; encouraging them to:
- Educate and mentor faculty colleagues and students, including organizing faculty forums and public education programs
- Advise campus presidents, provosts, deans and other administrators on BDS, Israel, antisemitism and related issues
- Seek to forge and enhance U.S.-Israel academic ties, including faculty and student exchanges and research collaborations
- Help prevent and combat BDS and other anti-Israel activities on campus
- Speaking on BDS, free speech, antisemitism on campuses and at regional convenings
- Assisting the chair of the national advisory board in fundraising
- Interacting with and providing advice and guidance to faculty in the national network about issues that arise, and building and cultivating links between and among faculty;
- Planning conferences or workshops
- With deputy director, overseeing AEN finances and reports, including a) preparing annual budgets, b) monitoring revenues and expenditures, and c) writing annual reports to funders
- Representing AEN publicly at conferences, on media, and at selective events
- Working with the Deputy Director to oversee and direct the national office and staff
- Reporting on the tangible progress and accomplishments of AEN
- Working with the Brandeis Schusterman Center in offering the AEN short courses initiative
- Overseeing AEN publications (guides, compendia, books, pamphlets, etc.)
The Executive Director should have:
- Ph.D. or equivalent (preferred); substantial university academic experience (preferred) or deep understanding of university culture, administration and operations;
- Strong leadership and managerial skills; strong interpersonal skills;
- Familiarity with American higher education and key issues;
- Broad contacts with faculty and positive reputation in the academic community;
- Knowledge of faculty roles on campus, administrative roles and responsibilities, and university politics;
- Substantive understanding of the nuances of Israel-related politics and policy;
- Strong commitment to academic freedom and free speech in higher education; and
- Knowledge and passion for telling Israel’s stories and encouraging constructive discussion on Israel and the Middle East, opposition to efforts to delegitimize Israel.
The Executive Director reports to the Chair of the AEN Advisory Board. A competitive compensation and benefits package is offered. Residence in Washington, DC is preferred.
Interested applicants should send a cover letter, C.V., and two writing samples to Mike Atkins, Deputy Director, at email@example.com by November 1, 2018.
Please also contact Mike Atkins if you have any questions about the position.