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Officer Training and Transition

It's important that the leadership transfer between student officers be efficient so that it doesn't take months for new officers to get up to speed with the student chapters operations. For the chapter, a successful officer transition can minimize the loss of momentum and accomplishments that group has achieved during the last year. In conjunction with the faculty representative, arrange a time for the incoming and outgoing officers to meet and consider the following items:

Historical Perspective of the Student Chapter
  • Know and use the Constitution and Bylaws of the Society and of the student chapter. Use them, as they are the foundation to SAF operations.

  • Understand the policies and procedures of SAF and the college or university. For example, SAF has procedures including how to obtain membership lists, Foresters' Fund Guidelines and the SAF student discussion list. Many colleges and universities have guidelines for student organizations covering the location of checking accounts, working with outside vendors and reserving meeting rooms. Remember: each school will be different. Contact your college or university's Student Organization Office or Student Government for more information.

  • Talk about the job description for each incoming officer. This will serve as a guide to the officer throughout his or her term of office, and should include responsibilities and duties of the position.

  • Review meeting minutes and historical records. This will provide an understanding of past chapter issues, speakers and meeting topics.
Previous Years Goals, Projects and Activities
  • Review a status report on current and continuing projects. Just because the leadership changes does not mean that projects end. The student chapter may be involved in a public service project or already have speakers established for future meetings.

  • Review and evaluate previous projects. Many student chapters establish standing projects that are completed each year. Each year, new ideas are created and lessons are learned. This important information needs to be passed down year to year.
Financial Information
  • Examine and review the previous year's budget. Discuss if the budget was met or if the chapter expenditures exceeded the budget.

  • Review financial records of the chapter. Review the current account balance, any outstanding bills and/or invoices.
Roles and Relationships
  • Review resources or contact lists of important people. SAF has many resources available to student chapters through The SAF Leadership Manual, SAF website, and local SAF units. Establish contact lists that includes current and past chapter officers, national office staff, faculty representative, SAF state society chair, SAF division chair and SAF local chapter chair.

  • Discuss the expectations and roles of the officers and faculty representative in the coming year. The faculty representative may have special office hours each week to discuss chapter operations. Officers may expect the faculty representative to be present at each chapter meeting.
Leadership and Skill-Building Sessions
  • These can be facilitated by faculty representative, outgoing officers, knowledgeable incoming officers or outside resources. Topics may include delegation, recruitment ideas, communications and/or fundraising.

It's useful to complete a short but comprehensive evaluation form. Suggestions will help improve the next training/transition program.