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Leadership Transitions

Posted by on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 in Blog, Leadership Tidbit, News.

Considering the recent events on campus, and around the world, we want you to know that we are here to support you as you transition through this moment. Additionally, as members of the Vanderbilt community, we want to ensure that you have all the necessary resources to accomplish your remaining goals for the semester. This week’s leadership tidbit focuses on Leadership Transition. This is a process that can occur in the spring or fall semester and is when the current leadership hands the reigns over to the newly elected organization officials. We want to help you all make these transitions as smooth as possible. Here are the four steps that the American Association of University Women (AAUW) suggests to help with a leadership transition.

Identify potential leaders

If this is not something that you have already done in your organization, it is something that you all should be thinking about. There are several virtual platforms that can make this easier now that most students are not on campus. Consider hosting a conference call, using Zoom, or Google Hangouts to help navigate this process.  Also, if you have a few people in mind, reach out to them to determine their interest and discuss the opportunity. Have a clear position description and be willing to engage in a conversation with them about your role as well as their goals, skills, and strengths. Think critically about your officer selection process during this time period as you might need to be flexible when it comes to application dates, interviews, and selection processes.

Organize important documents

In most cases, we know that your documents are stored electronically. If you are using Google Docs or another electronic platform, make sure that the new leadership has the log in information to have access to these documents. This might also be a great time to upload, update, and organize items in Anchor Link.

Distribute a member survey

You can do this virtually using social media, Anchor Link, Google Docs, or Survey Monkey and it’s a great way to identify how your members feel about their experience.  This is the perfect time to reach out to your membership and see what they like, don’t like, or want to see more of next year.  With this information, the new leadership can review this information to see what changes can and need to be made.

Hold a leadership board debrief

Similar to before, this is another opportunity to connect virtually. This is a very important step and will help ensure the longevity of your organization.  If there are projects that current leadership initiated but new leaders will have to complete, this is something the incoming board will need to be briefed on before beginning their new term. Ongoing projects, collaborations, and processes are all examples of topics that need to be discussed during this type of meeting.

These are great tips that will help student organization leaders as they prepare to transition their leadership roles. Please keep in mind that the Office of Student Leadership Development is here to help you navigate this process. Send us an email at studentleadership@vanderbilt.edu and we’d be happy to set up a virtual meeting with you. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Author: Tassany C. Henderson (tassany.c.henderson@vanderbilt.edu)


Robnett, P. (n.d.). Transitioning Your Student Org to New Leadership. Retrieved March 11, 2020, from https://www.aauw.org/resource/transitioning-your-student-org-to-the-next-leader/

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