This website uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some of these cookies are used for visitor analysis, others are essential to making our site function properly and improve the user experience. By using this site, you consent to the placement of these cookies. Click Accept to consent and dismiss this message or Deny to leave this website. Read our Privacy Statement for more.
2020 Board of Directors Election
Share |

Board of Directors Application and Election Procedures

The following procedures will be followed for the election of individuals to the Board of Directors of the NPA.

All Full, Individual (voting) 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 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 or other experience will add a unique perspective to the Board of Directors. This will be posted on the NPA website.
  4. The names and contact information for at least two references. Appropriate references would include individuals who can speak to the applicant’s qualifications and appropriateness for service on the NPA Board of Directors as well as the professionalism of the applicant, including his or her ability to work in a collaborative environment and to support organizational values over personal agendas. Preferably, these individuals would be involved in postdoc/science policy, a non-profit 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.

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 17, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. EDT July 26, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. EDT. 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 28, 2020 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.

  • Call for applications – June 8, 2020
  • Application material receipt deadline – July 17, 2020 July 26, 2020
  • Candidates' CV and statement appear on the NPA website – August 17, 2020
  • Deadline for receipt of NPA membership dues for voting members – August 31, 2020
  • Balloting begins – September 14, 2020 September 21, 2020
  • Balloting ends – September 28, 2020 October 5, 2020
  • Election results announced – October 9, 2020
  • Board of Directors leadership retreat – Scheduled for November 2020
  • Newly elected Board of Directors members begin duties– January 1, 2021

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 at this time, 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, however it will always be very rewarding. Serving on the NPA Board 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, regardless of your chosen career path. 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. the Board retreat and Annual Conference)*. Much of the time commitment involves participation in virtual meetings that are held during work hours.

*Please note that the NPA appreciates the highly dynamic nature of the COVID-19 pandemic; and the NPA will continue to monitor the situation closely in order to make informed decisions regarding travel.

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.
  • 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) and being available to the chair of one committee when needed (time requirements vary depending on the committee).
  • Work with the executive officer, 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 and the Board retreat. It is strongly recommended that Board members take full advantage of these dedicated times for Board interaction.
  • Serve as spokesperson for the NPA in your local area. Board members in certain areas are called into service more often, such as those near D.C. or a newly established PDO and/or PDA.
  • 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 eligible 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
  • Call for applications - Interested NPA members are invited to submit an application package.
  • The NPA nominating committee will review applications materials to ensure that they are complete and confirm to applicant eligibility.
  • 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, mail via postal carrier, or making phone calls to the membership of the NPA.
    4. Candidates may respond to questions posed by members of the NPA using election-related online 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.
  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 Director’s 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 virtual 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 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 Conflict of Interest policy and should feel personal responsibility for self-monitoring.

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 17, 2020 July 26, 2020.
  • Q. What are the eligibility requirements?
  • A. All Full, Individual voting members and Sustaining Member designated voting representatives of the NPA are eligible to submit an application package for the Board of Directors provided that:
    • Their dues are currently paid.
    • The member pledges to adhere to the Candidate Code of Conduct.
    • The member pledges to adhere to the Code of Ethics.
    • The member agrees to sign the Board Pledge upon election to the Board.
    • The member signs the Conflict of Interest statement.
  • Q. What is the timetable for the 2020 election?
  • A. The full timetable is listed as part of the 2020 election timetable.
  • 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. The responsibilities of the members of the Board and anticipated time commitments are covered in the 2020 Board of Directors call for applications. 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. Who can serve on the NPA Board of Directors?
  • A. Of the eleven seats on the Board of Directors, up to five may be filled by nonpostdoc members of the NPA. For the 2020 elections, one seat must be filled by a postdoc and three seats can be filled by either a nonpostdoc or a 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 1 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 by Wednesday, September 30, 2020. Election results will be announced on Friday, October 9, 2020, and it is expected that those elected will participate in Board activities (including a leadership retreat scheduled for November 2020) prior to the official start of their term of office. Newly elected Board members officially begin their duties on January 1, 2021.
  • 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 three candidates.
  • Q. How many Board of Directors seats will the 2020 election fill?
  • A. Four seats are to be filled. Outgoing board members whose terms or appointments are ending include Stephanie Eberle, Josh Henkin, Barbara Natalizio, and Shakira Nelson.
  • Q. If elected, whom would I be joining on the Board of Directors?
  • A. You will be joining Tullia Bruno, Tracy Costello, William Mahoney, Caleb McKinney, Natalia Martin, Christopher Smith, and Claudia Späni.
  • 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 the spring of each year. For 2021, the Annual Conference will be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 16-18*. The current and elected Board of Directors will also meet annually for a leadership retreat scheduled for 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.
    *Please note that the NPA appreciates the highly dynamic nature of the COVID-19 pandemic; and the NPA will continue to monitor the situation closely in order to make informed decisions regarding travel.
  • 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).

2020 NPA Board Election: Call for Applications

The NPA is holding elections this fall to bring four committed and energetic individuals to the NPA Board of Directors for three-year terms. We are seeking candidates representing a broad spectrum of research disciplines, institutional settings, geographic regions, demographic groups, and professional experiences. Expertise in fundraising, leadership and policy advocacy are particularly appealing. Service on the Board is an excellent opportunity to refine your skills and share your vision with a dynamic group.

Service on the Board is not just for postdocs. The NPA also seeks individuals with backgrounds in administration, nonprofit governance, organizational development, and strategic partnerships.

Submission deadline: July 17, 2020, 11:59 p.m. EDT July 26, 2020, 11:59 p.m. EDT

For further information, please contact Tracy J. Costello, Ph.D., Oversight Governance Committee chair and electoral officer, at