The Association for Psychological Science

Executive Director

The Opportunity

The Association for Psychological Science (APS), located in Washington, DC, is conducting a search for its Executive Director (ED). APS is a nonprofit, international membership organization dedicated to advancing scientific psychology across disciplinary and geographic borders. Working within a broad vision set by the APS Board of Directors, the next APS ED will be responsible for the association’s operations and representation in the public arena.  

APS: An Overview

APS supports professionals and students in the field of scientific psychology. It has a revenue budget of approximately $7.5M and a staff of approximately 30.

About the APS Membership  

APS is the leading international organization dedicated to advancing scientific psychology across disciplinary and geographic borders. Its 35,000 members study some of life’s biggest questions and help solve some of society’s most difficult problems. APS draws psychological scientists, academics, clinicians, researchers, educators, administrators, and students from more than 80 countries.

About the Association’s Work

The APS mission is to promote, protect, and advance the interests of scientifically oriented psychology in research, application, teaching, and the improvement of human welfare. Led by a drive to better understand and improve the human condition, APS members study all facets of behavior, from neurons to neighborhoods. A key part of the APS mission is to promote the integration of the full range of scientific perspectives across this diverse field, as well as with other scientific disciplines.

The association’s work includes:

  • Publications: APS publishes six journals, The Observer magazine, and a range of other print and electronic publications for its members and other subscribers. APS journals are some of the most widely recognized and cited in the field.
  • Events: The APS Annual Convention and the biennial International Convention of Psychological Science allow researchers to showcase their work and connect with others in the field.
  • Public outreach: APS produces news releases, media backgrounders, articles, columns, and blogs that translate the research published in APS journals to the broader public. 
  • Advocacy: APS reports on policy news that impacts psychological scientists and aggregates information about Federal grants and other funding opportunities for psychological research. The association also advocates on behalf of the interests of psychologists with Federal agency leaders and policymakers in the U.S. Congress and with the broader public.
  • Student resources: The association has a number of activities (e.g., the APS Student Caucus, student award and grant opportunities) aimed at attracting members who are still completing their studies.
  • Teaching resources: APS offers classroom resources (e.g., tutorials, lesson plans, videos) that help teachers and students of psychological science see their discipline from new perspectives.

Structure of APS

APS is governed by a 12-member Board of Directors (the Board), of which the ED is an ex-officio member. A number of committees support specific functions (e.g., publications, meetings).

Executive Director Role and Responsibilities

The ED will provide vision and leadership for APS, working in coordination with the Board to set the association’s strategy. The individual will oversee public policy and outreach efforts, acting as the association’s representative as it works with government agencies, other scientific societies, and coalitions to raise the profile and impact of psychological science. The ED will be responsible for the management and operations of APS, including publication of its six journals. The ED will also oversee the association’s two major conferences, which feature the latest research from across the field, showcase pioneering integrative research, and provide important educational and networking opportunities for members at all stages of their careers.

Critical Competencies for Success

Strategic Thinking and Leadership

  • Working with the Board, provides vision and leadership to the organization and transmits that to the membership.
  • Leads the association’s strategic plan development and implementation. Continually reviews the plan and develops course corrections as appropriate.
  • Fosters an innovative culture within APS. Seeks new methods and approaches for achieving the association’s goals.
  • Looks for opportunities to expand the organization’s influence and/or market and brings these to the attention of the Board for review.
  • Supports a culture of honesty, diversity, and transparency that inspires staff and member volunteers to contribute their expertise, effort, and enthusiasm to create a high-performing, positive, team environment.

Administration, Operations, and Financial Management

  • Administers the business and programs of APS.
  • Establishes the organizational structure for staff, which stands at approximately 30 members.
  • Recruits, develops, and directs qualified staff to manage APS programs and services.
  • Establishes administrative and personnel policies.
  • Ensures ongoing training and professional development of staff members.
  • Prepares an annual budget (currently $7.5M) for review and approval by the Board.
  • Manages the organization to meet budget requirements.
  • Assists the Board in developing and maintaining appropriate reserves and investments, involving experts as appropriate.
  • Ensures the U.S. Federal and District of Columbia legal and regulatory integrity of APS. Enacts the requirements for a non-profit organization as defined by U.S. Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3)

Board Relations and Governance

  • Serves as principal liaison between APS staff and the Board.
  • Plans and coordinates meetings of the Board in close cooperation with the Board President.
  • Ensures that Board members have the information they need to make decisions.
  • Provides guidance to the Board and committee leadership on governance, policies, and historical perspective and ensures that bylaws are followed.
  • Works with the Board to recruit volunteers for committee and leadership service.
  • Communicates important staffing and membership matters to the Board in a timely manner.

Public Policy, Advocacy, and Outreach

  • Works to increase visibility and support for psychological science research and training around the world.
  • Oversees APS public policy and advocacy efforts, in the U.S. and internationally. Looks for opportunities to expand those efforts both in the U.S. and internationally.
  • Represents APS with other scientific societies and in coalitions.
  • Works with counterparts at parallel organizations.
  • Develops relationships with U.S.-based and international stakeholders and constituencies. 
  • Inspires APS members to support advocacy efforts.
  • Maintains effective relationships with the international media. Helps promote APS-generated articles, stories, columns, and blogs that translate the research published in APS journals to the broader public.
  • Develops APS media campaigns that help connect the public to psychological science, worldwide.

Scientific Publishing

  • Oversees a multi-faceted publications and content program that includes:
    • Six journals (the flagship of which—Psychological Science—is the most-cited journal for new research among the nearly 300 in behavioral science)
    • The Observer, a monthly magazine
    • A variety of other print and electronic media
  • Ensures that all printed, electronic, and other communications continue to represent the highest quality and are published and distributed in a timely manner.
  • Works with the APS Board, the APS Journal Editors, and the APS Publication Committee to respond to and lead academic innovations in both publishing and open science practices.

Scientific Meetings and Educational Offerings

  • Guides the planning and execution of two major conferences that feature the latest research from across the field, showcase pioneering integrative research, and provide important educational and networking opportunities for members at all stages of their careers:
    • The APS Annual Convention, a U.S.-based event that attracts 4,000+ attendees
    • The biennial International Convention of Psychological Science (ICPS), which is hosted in a new country every two years and attracts 2,500+ attendees
  • Promotes ICPS and other APS educational programs that position psychological science as a global enterprise.
  • Ensures that conferences, seminars, and educational offerings remain of the highest quality.
  • Ensuring that all APS programs remain relevant to the membership and the field of psychological science.

Professional Qualifications and Personal Qualities

  • 10-plus years of executive-level leadership experience within a nonprofit association, governmental agency, or academic institution.
  • Experience working with a governing board on strategy and implementation.
  • A demonstrated commitment to the advancement and integration of science (preferably psychological science).
  • A commitment to diversity broadly defined.
  • Financial and staff management expertise, preferably gained while serving an organization with an international membership.
  • Experience diversifying revenue streams to sustain the core activities of an organization.
  • Knowledge of peer-reviewed journal publishing, including an understanding of the impact of open-access publishing models.
  • An inclusive, approachable communicator who’s comfortable speaking with members, interacting with the media, and presenting at conferences and other events.
  • An advanced degree in psychological science or a related field is desired.


A competitive compensation package will be offered to attract an outstanding candidate.

To Apply

To apply, please send a cover letter and current résumé (Microsoft Word® format preferred) to [email protected]. The cover letter should outline how your experience fits the requirements of the position as this will be an important factor in considering your candidacy.

APS is an equal opportunity employer committed to inclusion and cultural diversity in the workplace. Employment selection and related decisions are made without regard to sex, race, color, age, disability, religion, national origin, sexual preference, genetic information, or any other protected class.

Additional Information

For more information, contact:

Sterling Martin Associates
1025 Connecticut Avenue | Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036

David S. Martin | Managing Partner
[email protected]

Leigh Beal | Vice President, Executive Recruiting
[email protected]
(347) 804-4237