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General Duties of NCSS Board Members and Officers

Thank you for your interest in serving as a leader for the National Council for the Social Studies. Serving on the NCSS Board of Directors is an honor that comes with a responsibility to embrace active commitment and engagement throughout your term. NCSS members applying to serve on the Board of Directors as a board member or an officer must have knowledge of, and agree to fulfill, the following duties.


A board of directors is the governing body of an organization, and is responsible for the ultimate direction of the organization. The NCSS Board of Directors is responsible for establishing and evaluating a strategic plan and goals for organizational growth; ensuring strong fiduciary oversight and financial management; raising funds and developing resources; approving and monitoring programs and services; and setting policies. NCSS Staff (and to a certain extent, Officers) are responsible for executing day-to-day management and implementing the direction and policies set by the Board of Directors. However, the ultimate legal responsibility for the actions of an organization rests with its board of directors.

Learn More: Duties of the Board (NCSS Policy Manual Section 4.2)

If you seek to apply for nomination to be a candidate for the Board of Directors or as Vice-President, here are some activities expected of all Board members. If you have questions about any of these activities, please contact the NCSS Nominations and Elections Committee.


Board members are expected to travel to attend three (3) in-person Board meetings: 

  • Fall (normally between late August and early October); 
  • Annual Conference (normally the Wednesday and a weekend day of the conference week); and 
  • Winter (normally in March). 

Board meetings are normally held in the Washington, DC area between Friday-Sunday. Travel expenses are paid by NCSS for the Fall and Winter Board meetings. Board members are responsible for their travel expenses to the Annual Conference, but are reimbursed for one night’s hotel at the conference rate and one day’s meals at the per diem rate. 

The Board also meets via videoconference call in the Spring (held between late May-early June). This is a 2-3 hour meeting to review and approve the budget for the fiscal year starting July 1. The Board also meets via videoconference call as needed during the year. Board members are expected to participate in all meetings, and be prepared by reading all materials prior to each meeting. 


Board members are expected to serve on 1-2 of the following Management Committees, as appointed by the President:

  • Audit Committee
  • Development Committee
  • Documents Review Committee
  • Special Projects Committee

Board members may also be asked to volunteer for the Executive Committee/Finance Committee, and Ad-Hoc Committees/Task Forces created to handle specific tasks.


Board members are expected to act as liaisons to 5-6 total NCSS Associated Groups, Operations Committees, Special Interest Communities, and Affiliated Councils. Liaisons serve as a point of contact for these groups with the Board, and are expected to communicate regularly with their designated groups and report back to the Board.

Annual Conference Participation

Board members have a number of leadership responsibilities during the Annual Conference, with little time to attend sessions. Duties include the following:

  • Attend all assigned meetings of Associated Groups, Operations Committees, and Special Interest Communities as their Board liaison;
  • Introduce speakers;
  • Attend official events (e.g., the President's Breakfast, President’s Reception, and Local Arrangements Reception);
  • Thank exhibitors in the Exhibit Hall; and
  • Assist with facilitation of any activities or events as needed and requested by the Program Planning Committee.

Conference registration and travel costs are not reimbursed to Board members. However, one night’s hotel at the conference rate and one day’s meal expenses at the per diem rate are reimbursed. The conference registration fee is waived for the President.

Learn More: Duties of Board Members (NCSS Policy Manual Section 4.4)


Duties of the Vice-President, President-Elect and President

In addition to their duties as Board members, Officers (President, President-Elect and Vice-President) have specific roles and responsibilities as a function of their office.


Serves as the chair of the:

  • Special Projects Committee; and
  • Finance Committee.

Serves as a member of the:

  • Program Planning Committee (begins work on planning the conference held during their presidential year by appointing a committee during their term as Vice-President);
  • Development Committee;
  • Documents Review Committee;
  • Executive Committee;
  • Personnel Committee; and
  • Publications Committee (voting ex-officio).

Serves as the:

  • Board liaison to NCSS Associated Groups, Committees, Special Interest Communities, and Affiliated Councils as assigned by the President;
  • Parliamentarian of the Board; and
  • Ad-Hoc Committee and other representative by the President.

The Vice-President is in line to assume the office of President-Elect and President in the second and third year after election.


Serves as a member of the:

  • Program Planning Committee (concurrently committee co-chair for the conference scheduled to occur during his or her presidential year);
  • Executive Committee;
  • Finance Committee; and
  • Personnel Committee.

Serves additional roles to:

  • arrange and facilitate the orientation of new Board members; and
  • make Board liaison appointments for terms starting with his/her presidential term.


Serves as the chair of the:

  • Board of Directors;
  • Executive Committee;
  • House of Delegates; and
  • Personnel Committee.

Serves as the co-chair of the:

  • Program Planning Committee (chair of the committee planning the conference that occurs during his/her term as president; includes developing a theme, selecting keynote and featured speakers, facilitating the conference planning committee, building relationships with partner organizations, and overseeing conference working committees).

Serves the following roles at the Annual Conference:

  • organize and lead the President’s Breakfast;
  • organize and lead the President’s Reception;
  • visit Associated Group meetings;
  • attend Committee and Special Interest Community meetings;
  • introduce keynote and featured speakers;
  • lead the Board of Directors' meetings;
  • visit vendors in Exhibit Hall;
  • lead the House of Delegates’ annual meeting; and
  • attend various receptions.

Serves as the voice and vision of NCSS and social studies education:

  • represent NCSS at various Affiliated Council social studies conferences (with other Officers as assigned);
  • plan and facilitate an annual Leadership Institute;
  • write a monthly “President’s Message” for The Social Studies Professional;
  • contribute print and online articles and posts; and 
  • provide public relations to promote the best interests of NCSS.

Learn More: Elected Officers (NCSS Policy Manual Section 2) 

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