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The organization shall be known as the “NOLS Instructor Association,” or “NIA.”


The NIA mission is to communicate and advocate employee views and to work within the NOLS community to promote the school’s mission and values.


A. Persons meeting one of the following criteria, so long as they have paid their dues, shall be considered members in full:

  • Any certified Expedition or Wilderness Medicine instructor who has been employed as an instructor by NOLS within the current or past three calendar years or has signed a contract for future work; 
  • Any certified Expedition or Wilderness Medicine instructor who has successfully completed an instructor course or instructor training course and has signed a contract for future work; 
  • Any intern, fellow, or employee below the level of the NOLS Executive Team, who has received a paycheck or stipend from NOLS within the current or past three calendar years or has signed a contract for future work.

B. A two-thirds vote of a quorum of the NIA Board may recommend to the membership granting of honorary membership to select former instructors. A simple majority of voting members shall then invoke an invitation to that individual to join as a dues- paying, voting member. No more than one former instructor may be selected per calendar year.

C. The following shall be eligible for Associate Member status: 

1) Any NOLS instructor who has attained senior field staff status (60 weeks in the field), has not been employed as an instructor in the current or past three calendar years, and has paid his/her dues or

2) Any successful graduate of a NOLS Instructor Course within the current or past calendar year who has not yet signed a contract to work a NOLS course and has paid his/her dues

D. No person shall be denied membership based on race, creed, color, sex, gender, national origin, marital status, religion, age, sexual orientation, or disability.

E. A member may be expelled from the organization upon the bringing of written and signed charges by two or more members to the NIA Board. A majority vote of the NIA Board shall cause an expulsion hearing to be held at which the accused member shall have the right to examine and question the charges and be represented by a person of his/her choice. At the conclusion of the hearing, the NIA Board may recommend expulsion by a two-thirds vote. The NIA Board shall then request a vote from the general membership. A simple majority of the members voting shall be sufficient to over-rule the recommendation of the NIA Board to expel.

F. Any member in arrears with their dues for more than six weeks shall be dropped from the rolls.

G. Full Member Powers. Members may join any Association websites, discussion boards, or other media or outreach efforts. Members in full shall have one vote.

H. Associate Member Powers. Associate Members may join any Association websites, discussion boards, or other media or outreach efforts. Associate Members shall be non-voting members.


The voting members of the NIA are to elect a President of the NIA every 24 months. In addition, they are to elect eight to twelve Board Members. Each year the membership will elect four to six Board Members for 24-month terms to maintain a board of eight to twelve Directors. Any office voluntarily vacated will be filled by the board for the remainder of that term if the board drops below eight members. The Board and President will yearly elect a Treasurer and Secretary from the board and any other officers the Board or President sees fit. The President is a voting member of the board. 


The attending members of any General Meeting shall constitute a quorum at that meeting. A majority of voting members shall decide any issue put before them. A quorum of the Board shall consist of five members.


Public notice of NIA Board Meetings shall be posted online. General Meetings will be called by the Board when needed, with a minimum of one yearly. All members will be notified of the time and location of the General Meeting. All Board Meetings and General Meetings will be open to interested parties.


The NIA Board has the authority to manage all NIA funds, functions, representation, and set responsibilities for its members as it sees necessary in the best interest of the NIA membership. Financial policy shall be decided by a majority vote of at least a quorum of Board Members.


The NIA Board is composed of eight to twelve members and the President. The Board is responsible for setting the dates for the election, the nomination period, and ballot circulation. They are also responsible for making these dates known to all voting members. All candidates shall be self-nominated. The President is decided by a plurality of the votes cast for that office. Candidates for President may also be candidates for the Board. The election for the Presidency and the Board are two separate ballots. The nominees for the Board with the most votes will constitute said Board. The NIA Board can replace without general elections (for the duration of the absentee’s term only) any Board member who resigns or who is unavailable to perform NIA work.


A. Contracts. Only an officer or other person authorized by the Board or the President may enter into a contract or execute and deliver an instrument in the name of and on behalf of the Association.

B. Bank. All funds of and funds received by the Association shall be deposited from time to time to the credit of the Association in such depository as the Treasurer of the Board may from time to time designate by resolution.

C. Financial Distribution. The Treasurer may from time to time allocate monies to activities or reimburse individuals for activities or purchases that promote the mission of the Association. Such distribution shall be determined by the Treasurer and authorized by the Board or the President.


The authority governing this association shall be this Constitution.


A. Amendments. This Constitution may be amended by a two thirds (2/3) majority of those members voting in ballots mailed or emailed to all members.

B. Committees. The Board may create and appoint such standing or special or advisory committees as it may from time to time deem necessary for the promotion and proper conduct of the objectives of the NIA. All Board members shall be eligible for membership on all committees so created. Committee membership and specific objectives shall be determined by the President.

Approved 28 February 1983 

Amended 25 March 2003; 26 June 2004; 15 June 2009; 1 September 2014; 20 December 2016; 1 December 2019, May 2020

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