Chapter Advisory Board Restructure FAQs

During the spring 2018 semester, Alpha Sigma Tau will pilot a revised Chapter Advisory Board structure and position descriptions with a small number of chapters representing a variety of chapter demographics. The purpose of the pilot is to test concepts for and receive feedback on transition and implementation, advisor appointment and onboarding processes. Feedback from the pilot will inform modifications and revisions to the processes before full implementation.

We recognize that you may have questions about this, which the following FAQs should help answer. If your question is not answered there, please contact Angie Bong, Associate Executive Director of Member Services, at abong@alphasigmatau.org or 317-613-7229.

FAQs

Why is Alpha Sigma Tau restructuring the Chapter Advisory Board model?

The restructure of the Alpha Sigma Tau Chapter Advisory Board model is a result feedback we have received directly from members, as well as recommendations that were made by RISE Partnerships, the organization with which Alpha Sigma Tau contracted to identify an advisor competency model.

Both advisors and collegians have indicated a desire for the Chapter Advisory Board structure to more closely align with the collegiate chapter officer structure that was revised in 2013. Greater alignment creates opportunities for increased support for specific collegiate chapter officers and all areas of chapter operations.

Beyond the desire for increased alignment, the revised structure provides greater clarity in roles, responsibilities, and expectations for advisors, and creates more manageable and focused workloads for all advisors when the structure is maximized. This clarity has also been an expressed desire from current and previous Chapter Advisory Board members.

Furthermore, the revised structure advances the National Organization’s strategic focus area of increased alumnae engagement by creating more advising opportunities and more accessible entry-level opportunities for individuals new to advising.

What is a competency model?

A competency model is a framework that identifies knowledge, attitudes, and skills or behaviors that, together, define successful performance in a role. Competency models help individuals who are interested in or who are already serving a position better understand what great work in the role looks like.

Why did Alpha Sigma Tau select a competency model?

Competency models are commonly used by many human resource departments in organizations and businesses. We selected a competency model because of the feedback we received from many constituents – particularly advisors – regarding the need for more clearly defined roles and expectations, and for more training and support. By clearly identifying the competencies necessary for successful advising, we are able to then use those competencies to both recruit and appoint advisors, as well as identify ways to support advisor development through formal and informal training and education.

How was the revised structure developed?

In fall 2017, a Phase I Chapter Advisory Model Workgroup was formed as the first part of a multi-year competency model implementation plan. The workgroup consisted of chapter advisors from a variety of collegiate chapters with varying degrees of tenure and experience, two campus-based professionals who have experience working in fraternity and sorority life, and a collegiate member.

The workgroup met regularly via video conference calls over the course of the fall 2017 semester to review RISE Report recommendations, Alpha Sigma Tau governing documents, and feedback from members. They then engaged in discussions and project work to create a set of advisor norms and expectations, as well as the revised Chapter Advisory Board structure. The revised structure is a result of their intensive review, discussion, and initiative of options that would best serve collegians and advisors, and advance the vision and mission of Alpha Sigma Tau.

What positions are included in the revised Chapter Advisory Board structure?

The revised Chapter Advisory Board structure is designed to be both flexible and comprehensive, with positions that support the core collegiate chapter operational areas. The revised Chapter Advisory Board structure includes the following positions:

  • Chapter Advisor
  • Organization Development Advisor
  • Growth Advisor
  • Operations and Finance Advisor
  • Member Development Advisor
  • Community Relations Advisor
  • Tau Honor Council Advisor
  • COB Advisor
  • Housing Advisor
  • New Member Education and Ritual Advisor
  • Women’s Wellness Initiative Advisor
  • Alumnae Engagement Advisor

Where can I find the revised position descriptions?

The revised position descriptions will not be available until after the Phase II Pilot, as we anticipate there may be small modifications or adjustments that may need to be made as a result of feedback from the Phase II Pilot.

Most current Chapter Advisory Board positions seem to have a similar position in the revised structure, with the exception of the Chapter Consultant. Why is that position not represented?

We have received considerable feedback from both collegians and advisors that the Chapter Consultant position in the current structure is unclear and ill-defined, and the title does not provide a clear reflection of the position responsibilities.

The two primary responsibilities of the Chapter Consultant role in the current structure include officer training and transitioning and Ritual support. These responsibilities are reflected in the Operations and Finance Advisor, and the New Member Education and Ritual Advisor roles, respectively, in the revised structure. The role supporting Ritual will only be held by an initiated member advisor. If there is a strong non-member candidate for the New Member Education Advisor position, Ritual support may be assumed by another initiated member of the Chapter Advisor Board.

I am a current Chapter Advisory Board member – what does this mean for me and the status of my advisor position? Will I have to reapply if I want to continue advising?

We value and appreciate the contributions our advisors make to the success and support of our collegiate chapters and colonies. We also recognize that change can be challenging.

The Headquarters Staff will be working individually with each Chapter Advisory Board to talk with current advisors about their interest and willingness to continue serving in an advisory capacity, and about the revised Chapter Advisory Board positions and expectations. While the restructure may be an exciting and welcome opportunity for some advisors, we recognize that for others, the opportunity may no longer be a good fit for personal goals, interests, and skill sets – and that’s okay. We’ll be working to support the best interests of both our advisors and our collegiate chapters throughout the transition process.

All advisors who remain serving in an advisory capacity will be expected to participate in re-appointment and re-onboarding processes to ensure all advisors are knowledgeable about the expectations and responsibilities of the revised positions, and supported with the training and education they need to be successful. The details regarding those processes are still being finalized and will be provided during the conversations with individual Chapter Advisory Boards.

Our chapter currently doesn’t have a full Chapter Advisory Board with five positions; how will we fill 12 positions?

The revised Chapter Advisory Board structure is designed to be both flexible and comprehensive. While the goal is to maximize the advisor opportunities for each collegiate chapter, we recognize and expect that will not be possible in all cases.

The revised structure anticipates potential vacancies of several positions by clearly indicating in revised position descriptions where duties and responsibilities fall in the event of a vacancy – clarity that has not been provided until this point.

In addition, through the appointment process, we will seek to prioritize appointments to Chapter Advisory Board positions that support Executive Committee officers first, followed by positions that support director-level officer positions. This does not mean that we will not appoint an advisory board position with primary responsibility for a director-level function if there is an interested and qualified candidate for the role; it simply means we actively work to recruit advisors for other positions first.

We also anticipate that the revised structure, which provides greater clarity and focus in advisor positions, will be a more desirable opportunity for potential advisor candidates, including young alumnae looking to stay involved post-graduation.

What happens next? How and when will the transition to the revised structure happen?

Phase II of the project implementation will occur in spring 2018 with a small pilot group of collegiate Chapter Advisory Boards representing a broad demographic of chapters, that will transition to the new structure. This group of pilot chapters will serve as the Phase II advisor workgroup.

The purpose of the pilot is to test concepts for and receive feedback on transition and implementation, appointment/re-appointment, and onboarding/re-onboarding processes. Feedback from the pilot will inform modifications and revisions to the processes before full implementation.

We anticipate that we will begin the broader transition starting in the Fall 2018 semester. Each collegiate chapter and Chapter Advisory Board will be contacted individually in August 2018 with an anticipated timeline for transition.

If our chapter is not part of the Phase II Pilot but we have vacancies on our Chapter Advisory Board, will we be able to fill them?

We made a decision to stop all advisor appointments during the fall 2017 semester, with the exception of chapters with no advisors or one advisor, anticipating that we would be able to sustain with the advisors we had in place until the revised structure was ready to implement.

This last semester, we experienced a larger than anticipated rate of advisor resignations. As such, we have made the decision to resume advisor appointments to the current advisor structure, but only for the following positions: Chapter Advisor, Assistant Chapter Advisor, New Member Advisor, and Recruitment Advisor. We will not be making any appointments to the Chapter Consultant role.

All advisors appointed going forward will be informed that they will serve in their current advisory capacity until the chapter they are serving is transitioned to the revised structure, at which point they will need to participate in the established transition process if they wish to continue serving.

Are there any components of the Phase I Workgroup that will be implemented immediately?

Yes, we will be introducing a revised set of Alpha Sigma Tau Advisor Expectations beginning this semester. All advisors will be expected to review and sign off on the revised expectations. Instructions for accessing and completing the expectation agreement will be available soon.

What training and support will be provided to advisors who are transitioning into the revised roles or who are taking on an advisor role for the first time?

We are working on developing a training and education plan to ensure that all advisors who are transitioning to roles in the revised structure will be well supported. While details of the training and education plan are still being developed, support will likely come in a variety of formats including new or revised written resources, virtual training and education (video conferences, webinars, etc.), self-directed learning, and in-person education.

Will the chapter I work with still have an assigned Headquarters Staff contact under the revised structure?

Yes, chapters will still have a support team inclusive of an assigned Headquarters Staff contact, an assigned Panhellenic Support contact, and an assigned Master Facilitator (if applicable), in addition to the Chapter Advisory Board members.

Who should I contact if I have additional questions or concerns?

Please contact Angie Bong, Associate Executive Director of Member Services, at abong@alphasigmatau.org or 317-613-7229.