Prior to beginning each semester/quarter, it is imperative that the proper planning has taken place for the member development cabinet for this program to be successful. At least a week or two before classes start, the member development cabinet, with the help of the education advisor, should have their own version of a goal-setting retreat in order to establish their budget, set the member development session calendar/schedule of events, define involvement incentives and establish goals for each position in the member development cabinet. As you get into each phase of the True PIKE Experience curriculum, you will see that member development sessions are meant to be broken out in a recommended timeframe of biweekly (every two weeks) right before or after chapter meetings. It is ultimately up to the member development cabinet and the executive board on how the member development session calendar/schedule of events will be set for the semester/quarter.
The key things you need to know when slating the member development session calendar are the following:
Hold sessions in an on-campus room – It is a best practice to hold member development sessions on campus because it creates an environment with less distractions allowing members to focus and stay more engaged compared to hosting a session at a chapter house. Additionally, the necessary resources tend to be available such as computers, projectors, screens and whiteboards in on-campus rooms. This is not to say that sessions can’t be done at the chapter house, but the environment needs to remain professional for the duration of the session and the necessary resources need to be available to execute the member development session(s) if done in a chapter facility. Remember, as a recognized student organization, your chapter more than likely has the option of reserving rooms on campus for free.
Plan member development sessions around chapter meeting – It is a best practice for the chapter to plan and slate member development sessions for each phase of the TPE around chapter meeting. Chapter members should already be budgeting their time to attend chapter meeting, so all they would be asked to do every other week is either show up an hour before chapter meeting or stay an hour after chapter meeting depending on when and where member development sessions are scheduled. If member development sessions are being held on campus in the same vicinity as chapter meeting, this shouldn’t be an issue for members.
Slate the entire curriculum menu for each developmental phase of the TPE each semester/quarter – Any time you hold a role within the chapter, it is the position holder’s responsibility to maximize the role and do his due diligence to ensure that members can take advantage of everything that that role’s function is within the chapter. The same holds true for the TPE program and the individuals within the member development cabinet who facilitate the program. Each educator within the member development cabinet is responsible for slating the entire menu of curriculum each semester/quarter for each developmental phase of membership within the chapter, then it is up to the membership to take advantage of the silver platter of development opportunities being offered to them based on their TPE progression phase. By having each educator slate all the sessions they are responsible for facilitating each semester/quarter, they are maximizing the program and the opportunities for the membership to gain a holistic development experience. Although each educator should slate their entire curriculum menu, it is up to the chapter’s leadership to set expectations around member development session attendance for everyone in the chapter, for each semester/quarter, in the chapter’s bylaws and/or membership contract. For example, a chapter’s bylaws or membership contract might say that each member in the chapter must attend at minimum four of eight member development sessions each semester/quarter in their respective TPE progression phase.
Key dates to keep in mind when planning the member development calendar – Prior to each semester/quarter, you should look at key dates to help you plan the member development sessions calendar. Once you answer the questions below around key dates, you can begin to slate your member development session calendar by assigning dates, times, locations, and topics in a biweekly (every two weeks) timeframe for each developmental phase of the TPE. Identify the following dates:
- What date does the semester/quarter start?
- What date will your first chapter meeting be held?
- When is your Fall/Spring break?
- When is finals week?
- Any other important chapter dates that would hinder scheduling?
- Based on the dates above, what would be an ideal start date for member development sessions? (From there, you can begin to slate member development sessions for each phase of the TPE biweekly)
Scheduling member development sessions & location ideas – Remember, on-campus meetings tend to be the best because they allow for the member development sessions to remain more professional, and if the chapter is already hosting chapter meetings on campus, it will make your scheduling a whole lot easier. Let’s look at a few scenarios to help you imagine the different possibilities of scheduling member development sessions on campus.
- Scenario #1 – All member development sessions happen prior to chapter meeting: Imagine that your chapter has chapter meeting in a specific room in a specific building on campus. Your member development team decides to hold member development sessions bi-weekly in the same building on campus prior to chapter meeting. The way they decided to organize and schedule their sessions is to hold them in four different rooms in the same building the hour before chapter meeting and then everyone congregates into the room where chapter meeting is held to start the chapter’s business meeting following their development session. This is probably your easiest and most efficient way to schedule member development sessions.
- Scenario #2 – Member development sessions happen in a staggered manner: Keeping Scenario #1 in mind in terms of rooms in a specific academic building on campus, but instead of hosting all member development sessions prior to chapter meeting, you might host a couple member development sessions before chapter meeting in separate rooms in an on-campus room (i.e. new member and brother leader education), and a couple member development sessions after chapter meeting in those same rooms that the previous two were held because you have them reserved (i.e. fraternity leader and community leader education).
- Scenario #3 – All member development sessions happen at different times: In this scenario, member development sessions happen at different times throughout the week. For example, say the member development cabinet has their weekly cabinet meeting on every Sunday at 5 p.m., and new member education meetings also occur at 7 p.m. on Sundays. On Monday chapter meeting is at 6 p.m. so brother leader education occurs at 5 p.m. on Monday followed by fraternity leader education occurring at 7 p.m. following the one-hour chapter meeting. The community leaders decided to have their member development sessions at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays because that works best for them. As you can see in this scenario, the member development sessions are happening at different times based on the availability of those members in their respective TPE progression phases.
Those were just a few examples of ways to set and establish your member development session calendar. The key thing to keep in mind here is what date, time and location will work best for the most members in each of the various TPE progression phases. Each phase might have their sessions at different points depending on availability for most of those members. Your goal is to make the date, time and location convenient for the most members. Don’t forget – planning around chapter meeting is going to be your best bet.
There is a resource in the myPIKE Resource Center titled the Member Development Session Calendar/Schedule of Events in the vice president of membership development folder that outlines how to slate member development sessions for each developmental phase throughout the course of a semester/quarter. The resource provides an opportunity to help the member development cabinet plan their sessions.
Devon T. Teixeira
Director of Membership Development