University of Southern Indiana

Transition Quick Guide


There are many different ways to transition an executive board. The question is, what strategy will you take? Based on your skill set, here are a few suggested methods to successfully pass the torch.

Independent Study

Incoming officers review officer expectations and responsibilities individually and then discuss them with outgoing officers.


  • Independent - on your own
  • Observational
  • Provides autonomy


  • Often forgotten or put off until last minute
  • Sometimes too much room for confusion if poor constitution/material 

Learning Contracts

Developed individually between incoming and outgoing officers, learning contracts establish a list of skills and tasks that incoming officers must satisfy in order to be eligible to run for/hold a specific office in the organization. Once the list is complete, incoming officers meet with outgoing officers to identity their skill for each condition. Next, the outgoing officer provides the necessary training so that incoming officer is able to gain the necessary skills, knowledge and tasks to be successful.

  • EX: skill development (budget tracking), (web master training), (fundraising)


  • Specific
  • Collaborative
  • Hands-on


  • What if outgoing officer didn’t have the skills?
  • Risk of “doing it the way it has always been done”
  • Different styles


Incoming officers are paired with outgoing officers for a specific period of time to learn position basics and to observe the outgoing officers. Through discussion and interaction, outgoing officers share expertise, insight and advice for the incoming officers. Through a “shadowing” process, new officers are elected and serve for an “elect” term with the current officer to learn processes, meet people (advisor, community partners, etc.) and transition materials.


  • Strong bonding opportunity
  • Experiential
  • Overlap provides partnership


  • Collaboration is hard
  • Requires “letting go”
  • Confusion for members


Although they can take different formats, retreats and workshops provide and opportunity for incoming and outgoing officers to transition materials and discuss pertinent issues. All retreats and workshops should be planned in advance and should seek to address specific goals and objectives.


  • Strong bonding opportunity
  • Deeper than single meeting
  • Collaborative
  • Safe space


  • Time commitment
  • Money/resources
  • Making sure everyone is bought in

Creating A Transition Binder

Transition binders are a useful way to pass on information to new executive board members. In the binder you can include a variety of items to help the new executive board member fill his/her new role. Included in the binder should be tips for success, important dates for your organization, and many other things. Below is a suggested list of items to include:

  1. Organization constitution and by-laws
  2. Executive Board job descriptions
  3. Contact information of on and off-campus partners you have worked with in the past year/semester
  4. Last year’s budget
  5. Past event information (day, time, location/reservations)
  6. Important forms (event registration form, event sign-up form, contracts, activity waiver)
  7. Goals for your position last year
  8. Tips you wish you were given
  9. Meeting/event agendas from past year
  10. Executive board/committee responsibilities
  11. Advisor information

These are all suggested items, but should not limit what you include. Include anything and everything that the incoming executive board member will need.

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