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Officer Transition Tips During a Pandemic

Officer Transition Tips During a Pandemic

Even though this semester will not be the first officer transition since the pandemic started, transitions are still more difficult because of social distancing and other COVID-19 precautions. Because of this fact, it's better to start prepping for officer transitions sooner rather than later.

If you have not started officer transitions already, start now. With only about a month left in this semester, beginning officer transitions can ensure that next semester's leaders are ready and able to take on all their responsibilities.

In this article, we're going to offer you some tips about officer transitions during the pandemic.

Get Needed Materials

The first step in ensuring a successful officer transition throughout the pandemic is supplying the upcoming leaders with all the needed materials. This is a crucial step, given that shadowing and training may be more constricted because of social distancing procedures.

Make sure all upcoming leaders have materials related to your chapter's governing documents, as well as your university required materials. Here is a list of the different materials you may need to pass on to your upcoming officers:

  • A copy of the governing documents, like the constitution, by‐laws, chapter policies, and procedures
  • Officer job description
  • Goals from the last year
  • Status report for ongoing projects
  • Minutes
  • Officer reports
  • Financial records
  • Budget as it relates to each position
  • History of the chapter
  • Passwords to accounts
  • Risk management guidelines
  • University policies
  • Fraternal Organization Agreement information

Additionally, it's a great idea to pass on a list of contact information if the upcoming leaders have any questions or emergencies they need to take care of. Here are some pertinent contacts you should pass on:

  • National headquarters
  • Chapter or graduate advisor
  • Advisors
  • Office of the Dean of Students/Fraternity & Sorority
  • University resources
  • Emergency contacts

Of course, your chapter may not have all of these documents. If you find this case for you, contact your national headquarters and find out how to get started. All of these documents and information will make your chapter more organized and professional, especially where officer transitions are concerned.

Shadowing and Training

Under normal circumstances, shadowing and training are two crucial steps of officer transitions. Because of the pandemic, shadowing and training need to take on a new form, ensuring everyone remains safe. Still, there are ways that you can train upcoming officers while still practicing suitable safety measures.

No matter the semester or year, your shadowing and training should touch on four different categories, including independent studies, learning contracts, shadowing and mentoring, and learning workshops.

Under normal circumstances, you would fulfill all four of these categories in person, but that might not be an option this semester. Here are some tips for fulfilling all four categories in a way that is safe yet effective:

  • Independent Studies: Review expectations and job responsibilities with the upcoming officers via Zoom or some other virtual chat room. It's best to do this in a video setting to ensure that both parties have ample time to answer or ask questions organically.
  • Learning Contracts: Learning contracts explicitly list everything the incoming officer needs to learn before taking on the position. Be sure to give a learning contract to the incoming officer and take the contract just as seriously as you would in another year.
  • Shadowing and Mentoring: The most challenging aspect of pandemic officer transitions is shadowing and mentoring. You can still shadow and mentor using virtual chat rooms. Instead of working things out on your own, invite the upcoming officers to witness and help out on the work in a virtual setting.
  • Learning Workshops: Learning workshops can help individual officers and the entire committee learn rules and steps for effective management. Host workshops in virtual environments so everyone has a chance to join in and learn.

Final Thoughts

Even though the pandemic makes it challenging to meet with people one-on-one, technology allows you to have an excellent officer transition period still while remaining safe and socially distanced. If you need any more help with officer transitions, don't be afraid to reach out to your national headquarters. They have resources that can help you maximize your potential while remaining safe. 


by Gabrielle Johnson

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