Campus Chapters: How to Plan a Successful Leadership Transition

A successful leadership transition may be one of the biggest challenges facing student groups on campus. Leadership transitions are not only the glue that holds your club together from year-to-year but the fuel that will continue to propel them forward.

As a chapter leader, it is not enough to build and run a good chapter. One of your missions should be to leave the organization in the hands of students that will continue to build on your accomplishments. Hopefully you’ve been building your leadership pipeline throughout the year, and now it’s time for those members to take on newer and bigger roles within the chapter. The careful planning of this transition will allow your chapter to capitalize on new momentum, and ensure future leaders have a solid foundation from which to take on their new roles.

Why plan a leadership transition?

  • Provide for the transfer of significant organizational knowledge.
    • If your chapter has not already done so, create a handbook, binder, or Google Drive folder containing important documents. These may include items such as contact information, role descriptions, meeting ideas, and recruitment tactics.
  • Minimizes the confusion of leadership changeover.
    • Communication is key! Be sure to let all members and administrators know the details of your transition. Introduce new officers to the chapter in a general meeting, schedule meetings with faculty mentors, and contact the national UNA-USA office to let them know roles have changed.
  • Helps incoming leadership absorb the special expertise of the outgoing leadership, and minimizes the loss of momentum.
    • Allowing executive-elect leaders to shadow current board meetings and practice position duties ensures they will be confident enough to hit the ground running at the start of their term.
  • Gives outgoing leaders a sense of closure, and celebrate their valuable contributions
    • Outgoing leaders have worked hard to create a successful chapter and deserve to be recognized for their successes. Through strategic planning and goal setting, they can ensure a smooth send off for themselves, and peace of mind knowing their chapter will move forward in the future.