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Pre-UniServ Institute

The position of the UniServ (short for Unified Service Model) Director was developed by the National Education Association in the 1970's as a blanket title for field staff of NEA's state affiliates.

The idea was to create staff positions that would provide direct service to members of a bargaining unit as it related to contract issues, evaluation appeals, legal matters and grievances. Public School Unions and the needs of their members have dramatically changed since 1970. While UniServ Directors may still function in the above capacities, the job has broadened in scope and sharpened in focus on organizing, professional development, public advocacy and building organizational capacity. Simply put, a UniServ Director works with association members to protect public education and help ensure continued strength and growth of the affiliate.

The Pre-UniServ Institute is built on a “grow your own” strategy. Small states find it difficult to attract and retain UniServ staff and they often see their investments in hiring new staff evaporate as individuals take their skills elsewhere. This Institute targets educators who are exploring a possible career with their union. While no promises are made as to future employment, the experience is designed to provide a cohort experience that is project-based, rigorous in nature and provides skill development in the competencies required of today’s UniServ Director.

Pre-UniServ Institute Structure: The full institute includes three on-site experiences. Two of these are two-day, weekend, classroom experiences, and the third is a four-day, field-based experience at the East Baton Rouge Organizing Institute. In addition, participants agree to weekly check-ins and the completion of a member-focused campaign project. The total timeline for the completion of these experiences is three months.

Pre-UniServ Institute Costs and Dates: NEA will pay hotel, on-site meal and on-site material costs for participants. Any other costs are paid by the sponsoring affiliate or the individual. There will be two cohorts with the following schedule:



*Deadline to apply is December 21, 2017.

For more information

To find out how we can support you in developing your future corps of UniServ Directors please contact Ellen Holmes or Kenton Cooper.

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