Appointments and academic programs of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World are under the jurisdiction of its faculty, which achieved independent status in fall, 2010, and which is led by the Director. The Director reports to the Provost and President of New York University.

In addition, the Institute has its own Director's Council. Its chair is the Institute's Founder, Shelby White. The Council plays a crucial role in ensuring that ISAW fulfills its mission and has the means necessary to do so. It provides essential advice to the Director on strategic directions and public programming, and its members are vital ambassadors for ISAW in enlarging the public reached by its work.