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2017 Board of Directors Election
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Application and Election Procedures

The following procedures will be followed for the election of individuals to the Board of Directors of the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA).


All Full, Individual Members and Sustaining Member designated voting representatives of the NPA are eligible for election to the Board of Directors provided that:

  1. Membership dues are currently paid.
  2. The member pledges to adhere to the candidate code of conduct.
  3. The member pledges to adhere to the code of ethics.
  4. The member agrees to sign the Board pledge upon election to the Board.
  5. The member signs the conflict of interest statement.

Affiliate Members are not eligible for election to the Board of Directors.


A call for applications shall be issued to the membership and published on the NPA website at least 30 days prior to the election. Those wishing to appear on the voting ballot must ensure that the following application packet is submitted in full. Nominees should also be aware that documents 1 - 3 below will be posted on the NPA website and publicly available to its membership, and therefore should ensure that no personal contact information is included (address, phone/fax number, email address, etc.):

  1. A brief cover letter communicating interest in serving on the NPA Board of Directors. This letter must reflect the nominee’s understanding of and willingness to advance the mission of the NPA. Business letter format is preferred. This will be posted on the NPA website.
  2. A one-page curriculum vitae including educational and professional experience. This will be posted on the NPA website.
  3. A 350-word (max) statement outlining experience relevant to future service on the NPA Board of Directors and good-fit rationale, such as nonprofit leadership experience, fundraising or marketing skills, legal experience, experience in postdoctoral organizations, writing on postdoctoral matters, leadership positions within the organization (NPA committee work) and/or in other organizations, and demonstration of ability to work in committee structures. The nominee may also wish to provide personal information about how your research discipline, training environment, career aspirations, ethnic background or other experience will add a unique perspective to the Board of Directors. This will be posted on the NPA website.
  4. A letter of support from an appropriate party such as an individual involved in postdoc/science policy, a nonprofit organization leader, the current or past chair of any NPA committee of which the applicant is/has been a member, postdoc association chair, postdoc office administrator, or the applicant’s supervisor. The letter of support must address the following:
    1. Support of the applicant’s qualifications and appropriateness for service on the NPA Board of Directors.
    2. The professionalism of the applicant, including his or her ability to work in a collaborative environment and to support organizational values over personal agendas.

Note that the letter of support is to be sent by the referrer directly to:

Items 1 - 3 will form the primary basis for member review of nominees, so it is recommended that nominees take great care with these materials. All application materials must be submitted to, no later than July 7, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. ET July 14, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The NPA nominating committee will validate applications. All validated applicants will appear on the ballot for election.


The ballot will be sent to the voting membership of the NPA by email and posted on the NPA website. Only those individuals who have received a confirmation of their voting membership prior to this date will be eligible to vote. Members of the NPA will have two weeks to submit their votes for up to four candidates. Voting concludes on September 25, 2017 at 11:59 pm EDT. The four candidates with the largest number of votes will be invited to join the Board of Directors within the constraints of the number of postdoc and nonpostdoc positions available (Section 4.1 of Bylaws) and pending verification that at least 10 percent of the membership voted (Section 4.9 of Bylaws). Tie votes will be settled by a vote of the Board of Directors in which a simple majority shall rule.

2017 Election Timetable

  • Call for applications – May 29, 2017
  • Application material receipt deadline – July 7, 2017 July 14, 2017
  • Candidate’s CV and statement appear on the NPA website – August 11, 2017
  • Deadline for receipt of NPA membership dues for voting members – August 25, 2017 (14 days before election, Section 4.9)
  • Balloting begins – September 8, 2017 (30 days after posting, Section 4.9)
  • Balloting ends – September 25, 2017 (14 days after election begins, Section 4.9)
  • Election results announced – October 2, 2017
  • Board of Directors leadership retreat – November 3-5, 2017
  • Newly elected Board of Directors members begin duties– January 1, 2018

Board of Directors Service Details and Time Commitments

Service on the NPA Board will require a considerable commitment of your time and energy. Service on the Board is significantly different in nature from what you may have experienced as a committee member of the NPA. If you would like to participate in the NPA but are unclear about your availability or ability to commit right now, we recommend that you become actively involved in one of the membership committees. This will introduce you to the organization and allow you to explore your options for serving in a leadership role within the NPA.

If you decide that you are willing and able to serve on the NPA Board, the time that you spend working on NPA activities will sometimes be intense and challenging, but it will always be very rewarding. Serving the NPA will provide opportunities to further develop your skills in committee work, leadership, networking, strategic planning, team building, public speaking, writing, and many other areas that will be valuable to you in the future no matter what your career path may be. It is very rewarding to be one of the leaders of this organization and serve the scientific community in meaningful ways.

For those needing numbers, time commitments vary from 2-10 hours per week. This is based on a Board member’s level of responsibility within the organization, the number of committees served on, and most importantly project workload. You should expect to devote between 10-20 hours per month to your Board duties, as well as be prepared for some travel (e.g. Board retreat and Annual Conference for example. Much of the time commitment involves participation in teleconferences that are held during work hours.

Board of Directors members are required to:

  • Exercise legal and fiduciary oversight of the NPA’s operation as a 501(c)3 nonprofit charitable organization. For additional background on these responsibilities, please refer to “Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards.”
  • Attend all Board of Directors conference calls and meetings (once a month for 1.5 hours).
  • Sign a conflict of interest statement and a Board pledge; adhere to the NPA code of ethics.
  • Be a productive and engaged member of at least one Board Governance Committee (Development, Oversight Governance, Strategic Planning, and Finance). This includes participation in the committee conference calls (once a month for one hour).
  • Required to serve as a Board liaison to one membership committee. This includes attending committee conference calls (once a month for one hour), forwarding meeting minutes to the Board chair (prepared by committee chair), and being available to the chair of one committee when needed (time requirements vary depending on the committee).
  • Work with the executive director, staff and fellow Board members on fundraising, membership drives, and other programs when required.
  • Respond to all official Board correspondence, such as emails and electronic votes, in a timely manner.
  • Complete tasks by deadline.
  • Attend the Annual Conference in spring and the Board retreat in November. These are the only two annually scheduled times when the Board is able to interact in person, so it is strongly recommended that Board members take full advantage of them.
  • Serve as spokesperson for the NPA in your local area. Board of Directors members in certain areas are called into service more often, such as those near Washington, D.C. or a forming postdoc association (PDA). Serving on the Board of Directors can be a high profile position, depending on your involvement with the press.
  • Serve as an ambassador for the NPA at national and international meetings. As you attend various meetings, spread the word about the NPA and actively recruit new members and volunteers.
  • Constantly be on alert for opportunities that benefit the NPA and its mission, whether these are financial, collaborations for mutual gain, or interactions with potential supporters.

Nominations Process and Board Composition

Positions on the NPA Board of Directors are open to all eligible NPA members (see eligibility). We encourage all Full, Individual Members with an interest in leading the mission of the NPA to consider service on the Board of Directors. This year, four positions are available on the Board of Directors, which can be filled by either postdoc or nonpostdoc members of the NPA. Ideally, the Board of Directors will be representative of its postdoc constituency, and include a dynamic mix of individuals representing a broad spectrum of research disciplines, institutional settings, geographic regions, demographic groups, and professional experiences.

All applications will be reviewed in full by the NPA nominating committee, and each individual’s unique merits and potential contributions to the NPA will be considered when the membership votes. Experience in science advocacy, past NPA experience and/or any other skills/knowledge/experience that will benefit the NPA have been important factors in previous elections. It should be clear that while the NPA Board of Directors has identified organizational needs with respect to skill sets, demographics and discipline, members may vote for any candidate on the ballot.

Application and Nomination Process:

  1. Call for applications - Interested NPA members are invited to submit an application package.
  2. The NPA nominating committee will review applications materials to ensure that they are complete and confirm to applicant eligibility.
  3. Validated applicants will become Board of Directors candidates and appear on the final election ballot as long as he/she complies with the candidate code of conduct.

The final ballot will be distributed to all eligible voting members, who may vote for up to four candidates on the ballot.

Candidate Code of Conduct

As a candidate for the NPA Board of Directors, the following rules are to be observed to ensure that fair, open, and honest elections occur. The purpose of these rules is to provide candidates with the ability to educate the electorate without overburdening the constituency with inappropriate conduct or unsolicited information.

  1. All candidates must submit application packages that contain accurate and honest information.
  2. All candidates must conduct themselves in a manner that is in accordance with the best ideals and practices of the NPA. As such, candidates should adhere to the following requirements concerning their actions:
    1. Candidates at no time should claim to represent, or speak for the NPA unless they have been approved by the Board of Directors to do so.
    2. Candidates should not engage in personal attacks on one another, or members of the electorate.
    3. Candidates are prohibited from sending unsolicited emails (including through social media), mail via postal carrier, or phone calls to the membership of the NPA.
    4. Candidates may respond to questions posed by members of the NPA using election-related web resources.
    5. Candidates are allowed to conduct campaigns for election in a manner of their choosing, provided that their actions do not conflict with any of the items designated within this list.
    6. Candidates’ application materials cannot reflect or infer an endorsement from the NPA or any leader of the NPA.
  3. If a violation of these rules occurs, an ad hoc committee composed of the Oversight Governance chair, Board chair and one individual NPA member with no connections to any of the standing candidates (selected by the Board of Directors) will review the violation. Candidates who are deemed by this committee to have violated the above rules will receive one written warning from the Oversight Governance Committee. Upon further offense, the candidate will be removed from the ballot and informed in writing of the reason for the removal. An announcement of the removal will be made to the membership within one business day.
  4. Any member of the NPA with grievances regarding the behavior of candidates or the running of the election may address these to the Oversight Officer, Tracy J. Costello, Ph.D., and Item 3 will then take effect.

Code of Ethics

We, as members of the NPA Board of Directors, dedicate ourselves to carrying out the mission of the NPA. We strive to adhere to the following ideals:

  1. Recognize that the chief function of the NPA at all times is to serve the best interests of our members and other stakeholders in the postdoctoral community.
  2. Conduct our organizational and operational duties with positive leadership exemplified by respect, concern, courtesy, responsiveness, open communication, creativity, dedication, and compassion.
  3. Respect the structure and responsibilities of the Board, and uphold and implement policies adopted by the Board. Ensure that the Board’s policy decisions are based on facts and the best information available.
  4. Accept as a personal duty the responsibility to keep up-to-date on emerging issues that affect the mission of the NPA.
  5. Keep the postdoctoral community informed about issues that affect it.
  6. Comply with the NPA’s conflict of interest policy to avoid any interest or activity that is in conflict with the conduct of our official duties.
  7. Respect and protect privileged information to which we have access in the course of our official duties.
  8. Demonstrate the highest standards of personal and professional excellence with integrity, truthfulness, fairness, honesty, and fortitude in all our activities in order to inspire confidence and trust in our activities.


Any real or perceived non-adherence to the code of ethics that may negatively affect the mission of the NPA should be discussed with the Board chair (or vice chair, if the chair is the Board member in question). The Board chair (vice chair) may discuss the situation with the Board member in question and may choose to manage the situation using the procedure for a Board member’s failure to adhere to the Board of Directors' pledge. In the case of a severe violation of the code of ethics, the Board chair (vice chair) may choose to ask for a vote of the Board to remove the member in question from the Board.

Board Pledge

As a member of the NPA Board of Directors, I pledge the following:

  • To attend all monthly Board of Directors teleconference meetings.
  • To notify the Board chair in advance if unable to attend Board meetings.
  • To participate in all Board of Directors votes.
  • To serve as assigned on Board Governance Committees and as liaison on Committees of the Membership.
  • To notify in advance the Governance Committee chair or Committee of the Membership chair, as appropriate, if unable to attend one or more committee meetings.
  • To ensure all project work is completed as assigned.
  • To take an active role in ensuring the financial health of the NPA by participating in fundraising efforts or donating funds.
  • To be responsive to fellow Board members and staff as necessary.
  • To stay informed about NPA issues and participate fully in NPA governance.
  • To communicate the benefits of NPA programs to stakeholders of the postdoctoral enterprise.
  • To adhere to the NPA code of ethics and conflict of interest policy.

Conflict of Interest Policy

The Board of Directors of the NPA is expected to avoid any actual or apparent conflict between its members' individual personal or professional interests, and the interests of the NPA. Board members shall act at all times in the best interests of the NPA. This means setting aside personal self-interests and performing their duties in the transaction of the affairs of the NPA in such a manner that promotes confidence and trust in the integrity, objectivity, and impartiality of the Board.

The NPA's conflict of interest (COI) policy is in place to protect both the individual and the NPA from accusations of improper conduct. As such, all Board members and staff need to respect the COI policy and should feel personal responsibility for self-monitoring.

Board Election & Service Frequently Asked Questions

For questions not covered in this FAQ, or if you need further information about the NPA elections, please contact Tracy J. Costello, Ph.D., Oversight Governance Committee chair and electoral officer, at

Q. How can I apply to be on the Board of Directors elections ballot?

A. Complete and submit the Board of Directors Application Package by July 7, 2017 July 14, 2017.

Q. What are the eligibility requirements?

A. All Full, Individual Members and Sustaining Member designated voting representatives of the NPA are eligible to submit an application package for the Board of Directors provided that:

1. Their dues are currently paid.

2. The member pledges to adhere to the candidate code of conduct.

3. The member pledges to adhere to the code of ethics.

4. The member agrees to sign the Board pledge upon election to the Board.

5. The member signs the conflict of interest statement.

Q. What is the timetable for the 2017 election?

A. The full timetable is listed as part of the 2017 Application and Election Procedures.

Q. What can I expect from service on the Board of Directors?

A. A full schedule and a rich and rewarding experience. Read what some of our Board members have to say in the NPA Board Testimonials. Board of Directors responsibilities and anticipated time commitments are covered in the 2017 Board of Directors service details and time commitments. Specifically, those considering service on the Board should be aware they will have full governing, legal, and financial responsibility over a nationally-recognized 501(c)3 status nonprofit organization.

Q. Do I have to be a postdoc to be elected?

A. No. Of the eleven seats on the Board of Directors, up to five may be filled by nonpostdoc members of the NPA. For the 2017 elections, one seat must be filled by a postdoc, and three seats can be filled by either a nonpostdoc or postdoc.

Q. I am no longer a postdoctoral fellow. How long after I've completed my postdoc am I considered a postdoc for NPA membership and election purposes?

A. You qualify as a postdoctoral fellow for five years after you have left your postdoctoral position (starting January 1st of the year after your transition; Bylaws, Section 2.2).

Q. How long is the term of service for the NPA Board of Directors?

A. Terms are for three years, although individuals can hold two consecutive terms in office, as stipulated in the NPA Bylaws, Section 4.1.

Q. If elected, when does my term of service begin?

A. Candidates will be notified on Friday, September 29, 2017. Election results will be announced on Monday, October 2, 2017, and it is expected that those elected will participate in Board activities (including a leadership retreat tentatively scheduled for November 3-5, 2017) prior to the official start of their term of office. Newly elected Board members officially begin their duties on January 1, 2018.

Q. Who is eligible to vote?

A. Voting privileges apply to all Full, Individual Members and Sustaining Member representatives of the association. Membership regulations are covered in section 2.5 of the NPA Bylaws. Each Full, Individual or Sustaining Member is entitled to vote in the election and may cast a vote for up to four candidates.

Q. How many Board of Directors seats will the 2017 election fill?

A. Four seats are to be filled. Outgoing Board members whose terms or appointments are ending include Josh Henkin, Barbara Natalizio, Marina Ramon, and Kate Sleeth.

Q. If elected, whom would I be joining on the Board of Directors?

A. You will be joining Andrew Bankston, Tullia Bruno, Tracy Costello, Chantelle Ferland-Beckham, Juliet Moncaster, Yvette Seger, and Jana Stone.

Q. Would I be responsible for my Board of Directors-related expenses?

A. The NPA may support approved Board of Directors expenses including travel arrangements to the Annual Conference and any Board of Directors retreats. However, Board members are strongly encouraged to make in-kind donations to travel if possible.

Q. Will travel be a large part of my NPA service?

A. Attendance at the NPA Annual Conference is required for all Board members. The Annual Conferences typically take place in March of each year. For 2018, the Annual Conference will be held in Cleveland, OH, April 6-8. The current and elected Board of Directors will also meet annually for a leadership retreat tentatively scheduled for early November. Other travel opportunities may arise, and Board members travel more or less based on the organization’s needs, Board member expertise, proximity to events and availability.

Q. Once elected, what if I find that I cannot fulfill my term?

A. The Bylaws make provisions in case this happens (Sections 4.10, 4.11 and 4.12).

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