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RSA Executive Director Search Resumes

We continue our search for a new Executive Director of the Rhetoric Society of America to replace the irreplaceable Jerry Hauser, who has served the Society with distinction for multiple decades, and during the past six years, as our Executive Director.  He will retiring from the position, effective January 2021. Please follow this link to review the original announcement.

The invitation to apply for the Executive Director position is below.  Even if you are not interested in the role, please distribute the call widely to aid the search committee in developing a deep applicant pool.  The members of the search committee—Lisa Corrigan, Gwendolyn Pough, Krista Ratcliffe, David Zarefsky, and I—look forward to reviewing the applications.

Executive Director Search - Rhetoric Society of America

The Rhetoric Society of America seeks an Executive Director, who demonstrates an appreciation of the relevance of rhetoric in today’s world and a passion for helping to advance the humanities in research, education, and public scholarship.

The Executive Director will work with the Society's President, its Board of Directors, its volunteers, and its vendors to administer RSA's mission, manage its finances, pursue its strategic goals, and attend to the general well-being of the organization and its members. The responsibilities of the Executive Director entail two broad categories:

  • Operational Responsibilities - Oversee the regular and ad hoc activities of the Society.
  • Fiduciary Responsibilities - Manage the Society’s financial assets, contracts, expenditures, and budgets.

In addition, the Executive Director, in conjunction with the Officers and the Board members,  furthers the Society’s mission and strategic goals with energy and passion by advocating to members, sister organizations, and other professional bodies.

Founded in 1968, the Rhetoric Society of America is an academic society focused on the study and advancement of rhetoric. Its purposes are to gather from all relevant fields of study, and to disseminate among its members, current knowledge of rhetoric, broadly construed; to identify new areas within the subject of rhetoric in which research is especially needed, and to stimulate such research; to encourage experimentation in the teaching of rhetoric; to facilitate professional cooperation among its members, to organize meetings at which members may exchange findings and ideas; and to sponsor the publication of such materials dealing with rhetoric. Anyone with an interest in rhetorical inquiry is welcome, but its approximately 1,400 student and faculty members come primarily from the disciplines of English and Communication. A member of the American Council of Learned Societies, RSA hosts a major event each year--an academic conference in every even-numbered year and a summer educational workshop in every odd year. In partnership with Taylor & Francis, RSA manages the peer-review journal, Rhetoric Society Quarterly and it oversees a book series with the Pennsylvania State University Press. 

The Rhetoric Society of America is in the final two years of a five-year strategic plan to A) enhance its inclusivity of diverse perspectives, scholarship, and scholars, B) provide greater opportunities for leadership within the Society for its members, C) enhance its mentorship of graduate students and faculty across the trajectory of their careers, and D) increase the public presence of the Society. The next Executive Director will be asked to pursue this plan, assist the Board of Directors in developing a new five-year plan, and help the Society navigate the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. 


The Executive Director will

  • manage and direct the Society's administrative officers and committees as they pursue their unique duties and the goals of the Society, including important commitments to inclusion, diversity, equity, and access;
  • lead RSA’s budget and investment committees in the management of RSA's fiscal services, including accounting, budget, purchasing, banking, investments, and vendor contracts;
  • oversee and manage, at the behest of its Board of Directors, RSA's legal, tax, and insurance activities;
  • track annual expenditures and revenues;
  • advise the RSA Board and President on planning for future financial needs and growth;
  • communicate with the Board of Directors, RSA's elected officers, and its members regarding the ongoing initiatives and activities of the Society;
  • bring to the attention of relevant parties within the Society any internal or external issues that might influence the Society’s mission or activities; and
  • facilitate the work and communication between and collaboration among the committees to sustain and encourage the collaborative spirit of the association;
  • provide data and advice that helps the Society’s elected leadership make decisions that safeguard the Society and promote its short- and long-term goals.


The Executive Director search committee welcomes applications from candidates who have the expertise, skills, experience, and passion to perform this job. Current or former membership in RSA is not a prerequisite for application. Applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree and administrative experience, either within the academy or on behalf of a non-profit organization. An advanced degree, including but not limited to, Ph.D., MBA, MPA, is preferred. Competitive applications will provide evidence of strong organizational and logistical skills, proven operational and management expertise, and familiarity with accounting, auditing, budgeting, and forecasting models. The capacity to think strategically, a personal commitment to diversity and equity, emotional intelligence, and excellent communication skills are also required.

RSA has budgeted between $55,000 and $65,000 for the duties associated with this position but the final compensation package and distribution of those funds will be determined by the skills and needs of the successful candidate in consultation with the Search Committee and upon approval of RSA's Board of Directors. This position involves 20 to 25 hours of labor per week, and the search committee welcomes applications from candidates who can devote 1/2 to 3/4s of their time to RSA. Academic and non-academic administrators, recently retired faculty, faculty who have institutional support for a partial buy-out of their appointment, and executive professionals with non-profit experience are encouraged to apply. RSA is incorporated in the state of Illinois, but the successful candidate can execute the duties of the Executive Director from any location in the United States.

Applicants should provide a resume, and a cover letter, which specifically addresses the applicant’s commitment to and experience with addressing issues of inclusion, diversity, equity, and access in addition to a list of references to The review of applications will begin as applications are received  and continue until the position is filled. Inquiries may be sent to

The Rhetoric Society of America is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We celebrate diversity and foster an inclusive environment for employees and members of the Society.

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