Committee Chair Handbook

Committee Chair Selection

The PPT nominates senators to be committee chairs. Generally, the PPT is elected a couple weeks before the end of the Spring semester. Upon election, he or she will ask interested parties to contact them if they want to become a chair. The PPT will then meet with candidates and interview them. The next session, the PPT will nominate his choices and Senate will confirm them with a vote. The nominees are generally offered a chance to speak, like the officer elections.

Duties of Committee Chairs

Congratulations! You're a committee chair. So what exactly do you do? Essentially, your duties consist of:

  • Meeting regularly with your committee

  • Act as a manager for your committee:

    • Delegate tasks

    • Train committee members to do their jobs

    • Actively seek and mentor successors

  • Being willing and available to do every job within the committee if necessary

    • However, be aware of your limitations and learn how to delegate tasks

  • Attending Committee Chairs Meetings with PPT

  • Reporting on your committee's progress in session

  • Generally being a leader within Senate

Take a look at the List of Committees for more committee-specific responsibilities.

See below for greater details about some of these.

Committee Meetings

Hold regular committee meetings to assign tasks to members, collaborate on projects, and perform additional committee duties. How often you meet is up to you. However, once a week is typical. Depending on committee workload, you can meet more or less often.

Scheduling a Meeting

Planning a meeting around everyone's schedule can be a real pain. Use schedule tools like Outlook or when2meet to find a time to meet. Often you'll have to ask your members to recheck their schedules and add additional free time in order to find a slot when you are all free.

Where to Meet

For most cases, a classroom serves as the best location to hold a committee meeting. Reserve the room on to ensure you will have it every time you want to meet. Collaboration rooms in ASC are also an option, although you should try to avoid using these if possible, because ASC wants those to be available for class projects. The YAC office on ASC-2 works very well for more relaxed settings, however it does not have technical equipment, making it a poor choice for meeting requiring a presentation or computer screen (such as PR). Finally, there are several conference rooms that can be reserved, such at Stebbins in Longview Hall and the one in Glaske. These are often full and are generally to formal, but they are available should you need them. Reserve the same way you would a classroom.

Committee Chairs Meeting

The President Pro Tempore holds a weekly meeting of the committee chairs. Like a normal committee meeting, this is scheduled around its participants. This meeting is probably the single most important weekly event for Senate besides session. Here the direction of the committees is decided, as is the direction of Senate as a whole. If your committee has a co-chair, they are invited to attend alongside you. Make every effort to attend if you can, and send a representative in your stead if you cannot make the meeting.

For more information, check the President Pro Tempore Handbook.

Committee Reports

In General Assembly, committees are allowed to make Committee Reports, right after the Officer Reports are complete. Generally, these are done by you, the chair, but can be done by any committee member if the chair so directs. Committee Reports are a powerful and necessary tool, and should be done anytime your committee has made significant progress on something (or lack of progress). Keep your reports short, but thorough - this is generally the only chance for senators that are not in your committee to learn what your committee is doing.

Begin a report by identifying yourself (as normal), and identifying the committee you are reporting for.

Examples of good Committee Reports:

"Senator Johnson, Student Life. We've selected a student life project - building a dock out by the pond. Senator Smith is heading that up, so talk to him for details. We also need people for ice cream, can I get a few volunteers?"

"Senator Brown for Public Records. We're taking senator pictures today, please stay afterword to get that done."

Examples of poor Committee Reports:

"Senator Joe. Hey I just wanted to say that we met for the first time last Monday. Not sure why it took so long, but we met. Good meeting. Got a lot done. Had some good ideas, and some bad ones. If you're on my committee, please make sure to give me your preference for the color as soon as you can. Sam, why didn't you come? I also wanted to say..."

General Advice

Being a committee chair is a fantastic way to get more involved in Senate. It's a larger responsibility, but a good chair will take that responsibility and go far with it. As chair, you should work harder than anyone in your committee. Your members will look to you for leadership, so lead. Don't tell someone to do something you're not willing to do yourself if need be. Never be afraid to go to the Vice President or President Pro Tempore for advice - they were probably in your shoes at some point and can help you.

Lead well, and I wish you luck in your term as chair.