April Hot Topic: Tips to Transition Section Leadership

Image: cedarhome.org
Image: cedarhome.org

As the school year comes to a close and SWE sections elect their new leaders, proper transitioning of the leadership roles is vital to make sure the section continues to flourish in future years. Here are some tips for successful transitioning:


If possible, an in-person meeting between the outgoing and incoming leader is a great way to discuss the duties and tasks needed for the position. Whether or not an in-person meeting is possible, it’s important to have electronic documents that detail the information. There is usually a large amount of information to share, so having it available for later reference is useful. These documents will greatly help future officers, who can update them as needed. Here are some documents your section might benefit by utilizing:

  • Officer Reports – contain categories such as Timeline, Summary of Projects, Budget, Inventory, Sample Emails/Documents Prepared, Contact Information, Tips, Ideas for Improvement, etc. If the leadership role involves money, make sure all account information gets properly shared.
  • Committee Member Reports – similar reports written by committee members or other leadership roles within the section, if needed.
  • Event Archives – submitted via an online form within ~1 week of the event by the event planner, it details what the event was about, what went well, and what did not go well. Event archives from the current year should be shared with all officers for the upcoming year. They are also very useful for applying for awards for the section.

What Need Improving?

I have often heard statements such as, “It will take most of the fall semester to get the hang of the position.” The problem with this learning curve is that it leaves less time for making improvements or introducing new ideas. Make sure during transitions that the outgoing officer clearly communicates (and documents) what the current biggest challenges with the role are, what ideas they had but did not have time to implement, and other advice to keep the section continuously improving.


The incoming president and other executive officers need to come together to agree on expectations for the section leaders. These expectations could involve event attendance, office hours, communicating within the officer board, section goals, resources for help, etc. It’s important that these rules and expectations  are clearly communicated.


The new leadership should have opportunities to get to know each other on a personal level, have fun together, and get excited for the next year that they will be working together!



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