Driving Change in Higher Education.

Transition in student senate

steve-sabinMSCSA President Steve Sabin has dealt with several transitions in his student senate and he has some advice for you to make it a successBy Steve Sabin

MSCSA President

Congratulations on the great work you have done in Student Senate so far this year. Now that a new semester has begun, you may be faced with a situation where there is a vacancy on your executive board or within the senate. I have had to address vacancies on several occasions during my tenure in student government. A change of leadership is one of the most important and challenging opportunities a student leader will face in their term. If managed properly, leadership transition provides a pivotal moment to set the stage for the success of your senate.

Each transition is unique and often complex. Understanding the uniqueness of your senate and the personality of the incoming individual will help make your senate and the new officer even more successful. 

In preparation for having transition, a crucial thing to do is plan for a successful end goal in order to start off on the right foot:

  • Be proactive in communicating expectations with the incoming officer
  • Clarify with the new officer the role they play within the executive board and the senate.
  • Ensure you educate the new officer on the vision of the senate and the executive board moving forward.

 Having one-on-one meetings with the new officer can really be helpful. Some things to cover in these one-on-one meetings include:

  •  Conveying responsibilities of the position
  •  Timelines for completing duties of the position
  •  Outlining any unfinished projects and the role the new officer plays in the project
  •  Provide any important contacts and resources
  •  Schedule introductory meetings with administrators and key student services staff they will be interacting with
  •  Invite them to ask questions!

Whatever you do in transition, keep in mind this one phrase. Transition new student leaders like you wanted to have been transitioned. Have a plan in place, communicate with the student, and look to the future.


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