Specific responsibilities of Student Branches, Branch Officers, and Counselors are described on the following pages. It is important to note, however, that an Officer's responsibility is not limited to points outlined below. If your Branch is to succeed, it requires that you be willing to reach beyond the customary roles defined here.
The Branch Executive Committee is responsible for administering Branch operations and traditionally consists of the Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer. However, you can increase your support by including as many people as possible in your team. Since the Executive Committee is the core of the Branch, you should make every effort to include your Counselor, Branch Mentor and Committee Chairs. This will help to improve the interaction and exchange of information with these important resources.
You might also include representatives from all classes - Sophomore, Junior, Senior and the Graduate Student level - on your committee. The Executive Committee should meet regularly to develop programs plans, review progress, and maintain the necessary continuity of operation. Remember, good communication is a necessity for a successful operation.
The Annual Plan of Activities is a report due at IEEE Student Services by 1 November, or two months after the academic year begins at your Branch. The completion of this plan assists the Branch in setting its goals and objectives. Developed in a series of meetings involving the Executive Committee, Committee Chairs, and the Counselor, it considers the needs and interests of the Branch members and sets down specific programs and goals. By working toward defined goals, your Branch is able to measure and evaluate its effectiveness during the course of the year, and again at the end of the academic year when writing the Annual Report of Activities. To encourage you to complete the Annual Plan, IEEE Headquarters provides an incentive allotment of US$100.00 (if your Branch has more than 50 members) or (US$50.00 if your Branch has less than 49 members). Copies of the completed report should be sent to IEEE Student Services, the Section Student Activities Chair, the Regional SAC Chair (RSAC) and the Regional Student Representative (RSR).
The annual report, if developed before current Officers leave and new Officers assume their duties, provides an excellent means for establishing officer continuity. If you sit down with the incoming Executives to fill out the report, you will help them out greatly in their planning for next year. The Annual Report is due at IEEE Student Services 1 May, or two months after the academic year ends at your branch.
Once again, to encourage you to fill this out, the IEEE provides an incentive rebate of US$2.00 per student member at your Branch (based on your membership on 31 December of the previous year). Copies of the report should be sent to IEEE Student Services, the Section Student Activities Chair, the Regional SAC Chair (RSAC) and the Regional Student Representative (RSR).
Your responsibilities to IEEE Headquarters include tasks such as the Annual Plan, Annual Report and Financial Statement, and reporting of new Officers, etc.
As the Executive Officer of the Branch, the Chair is the key to effective student leadership. As Chair, you are responsible for the overall management of all Branch affairs. However, in order to be effective, you must learn and use the skillful art of delegating. The size and range of activity of your Branch will dictate how much responsibility you should delegate to other members of the Executive Committee. The Chair should take every opportunity to promote the benefits of IEEE membership to fellow students. Some specific duties of the Branch Chair include:
- Preside at all meetings of the Branch.
- Hold regular meetings of the Branch Executive Committee and serve as Chair.
- Appoint Program, Publicity and Membership committee Chairs promptly.
- Prepare the necessary reports for IEEE Student Services:
- Annual Plan - 1 November
- Annual Report - 1 May
- As elections are held, new officers should be reported online (view online reporting site)
- Arrange for the election of new Officers annually.
- Ensure smooth transition of information and materials to newly elected Officers and arrange an orderly transfer of Branch records.
- Work with and coordinate some activities with Section and Region Officers.
- Communicate frequently with other Branch Officers, particularly during the summer months when you are not at school.
The Student Branch Vice-Chair is the junior Executive Officer of the Branch. You should help the Branch Chair with the workload, oversee some of the subcommittees, and manage the annual program of activities.
Since you are an important member of the Executive Committee, you can do much to motivate Branch activity. Some of your suggested duties include:
- Chair the Program and Membership Committees.
- Organize field trips or special events beyond regular program efforts.
- Arrange for refreshments at Branch meetings.
- Assist the Chair in following up on assigned committee responsibilities.
- Perform all functions of Chair in the latter's absence or upon request.
As many Student Branches have been around for many years, when accurate and informative records are not kept, it is easy to waste time and effort on projects previously proven unsuccessful. For this reason, the Secretary has an important and exacting task. For a larger Branch, you may wish to divide the responsibilities between a corresponding and recording Secretary, or get the Vice-Chair to help out with the workload. In addition to maintaining all Branch records and supplies, some of your specific duties include:
- Report new officers online as elections are held (view online reporting site).
- Keep detailed records of each Branch meeting.
- Maintain the Branch membership roster and committee assignments on the Branch website.
- Be responsible for all Branch correspondence.
- Post a calendar of events.
- Assist the Chair to ensure that Branch activities are conducted under the provisions of the current Branch Constitution and Bylaws.
- Arrange for an orderly transfer of all Branch records to the incoming Secretary.
The Treasurer is responsible for maintaining the financial accounts of the Branch. Since final approval of a project may depend on the finances available, it is imperative that all records be kept current and as accurate as possible. The specific duties of the Treasurer include:
- Maintain the appropriate Branch accounts. Your bank account should be interest bearing and require two signatures; the faculty counselor should always be one of those signatures.
- Prepare an annual budget for inclusion in the Annual Plan of Activities report.
- Prepare the final Financial Statement for inclusion in the Annual Report of Activities.
- Oversee all fundraising efforts.
- Arrange for an orderly transfer of all Branch financial records to the incoming Treasurer.
The Branch Counselor is a University or College faculty member, active in IEEE, who serves as an advisor to the Branch and its student Officers. As the Officers usually change annually, and sometimes more often (e.g., coop schools), the Counselor lends a sense of continuity to Branch affairs. As such, the Branch Counselor is a key individual whose participation is vital to the success of a Branch.
The Branch Counselor is appointed by the local Section Chair, upon the recommendation of the Student Members of the Branch and the Regional SAC Chair (RSAC), and serves with the approval of the Department Head. The appointment (or re-appointment) is normally for two years, commencing July 1.
In addition to a vibrant and good working rapport with the student Officers, the Counselor should be in frequent contact with the Section SAC Chair. He or she should act as a liaison with the Section, the Region, and IEEE Headquarters, and should be familiar with all aspects of Branch operations. Some specific duties of the Counselor include:
- Ensure that information from IEEE Headquarters is transmitted to the student Officers.
- Attend Executive Committee meetings and assist Branch Committees.
- Participate in Regional Activities Committee meetings.
- Consult with the Section SAC Chair, Regional SAC Chair or Region Director about Branch activities or problems.
- Promote online student application and renewal.
- Foster good relations with the local Section and encourage students to establish regular liaison with the Section SAC Chair.
- Promote student awareness of awards, contests and benefits of membership.
- Establish industrial contacts for Branch programs and activities.
- Interest other faculty members in the activities of the Branch.
The Branch Mentor Program is a new initiative by SAC, designed to maximize the interaction between IEEE Student Branches and their local Sections. Frequent communication between students and Section members is important so that students feel like true IEEE members. The role of the Branch Mentor is meant to augment the valuable contributions of the Counselor.
A Branch Mentor is a Section member, not associated with the University, who is appointed by the local Section, in consultation with the Student Branch members, to be a mentor to a specific IEEE Student Branch. Each Branch Mentor should be a member of both the Section Executive Committee and the Student Branch Executive Committee. He or she will provide guidance, serve as a liaison between the Student members and Section Executive, and encourage new graduates to stay active in IEEE. A recent graduate who has some first-hand experience in Student Branch operations and Section activities is an ideal candidate for a Branch Mentor.
Some suggested duties for the Branch mentor include:
- Meet with Student Branch members regularly.
- Participate in all Section Executive Committee meetings.
- Assist the Student Branch in developing effective programs.
- Provide a dependable bridge between the Student Branch and local Section.
- Work closely with the Student Branch Counselor and the Section SAC Chair.
Although this program is a new initiative by IEEE, some expected benefits are:
- Increased interaction between Student Branches and local Sections;
- Improved continuity of Student Branch Operations;
- Improved retention of recent graduate members;
- Improved student/faculty/industry cooperation;
- Increased young member participation in Section activities.
If your Branch would like to participate in this program and would like some help in finding a Branch Mentor, you should contact your local Section Chair and the IEEE Student Services Coordinator. Once you have found a Branch Mentor, you should register your selection by filling out the Branch Mentor Appointment Form and returning it to IEEE Student Services. A blank form can be found in Section F - Selected Forms.
Student Branch Operating Committees
It is quite seldom that any event you plan will attract all the members from your Branch. Instead, you must plan a varied program, based on a cross-section of interest. Having different operating committees can help you achieve this goal of a balanced, broad-reaching program of activities.
By having several committees, you can also involve more of your members in the planning and leadership of many activities. A Branch with many active members is one that will have a successful program of activities; a Branch where only a few are involved will soon find itself tired and unenthusiastic.
Before you decide to form a new committee, you must determine precisely what function the committee is to serve and what steps must be taken to achieve the prescribed goals. Since a committee is only as productive as its leadership, it is essential that your committee Chair either have the necessary organizational and leadership abilities, or be given the time to develop those abilities.
There are many successful engineers in the industry that will tell you their IEEE Student Branch was the first place they were given a chance to develop their leadership skills. Don't worry if your volunteers are unsure of what to do at first. Guide them along, give them some time, and they will develop the skills they need.
You should keep in mind that not all committees may exist every year. Some years, you may have an abundance of volunteers and more activities than historically normal. Other years, you may find students unwilling to volunteer their time. If you have lots of committees and a large program, that's great.; you should then try to focus your efforts on maintaining this new level of participation.
If, however, you find a lack of volunteers and a very small program, don't be too discouraged. Do your best to run a scaled-down program. While it may seem to you that your effort is in vain, don't forget that at the same time, you are developing your own organizational and leadership skills.
Once again, depending on the size of your Branch, the number of committees will vary. In a small Branch, many of the duties may be assumed by the Executive Committee, or you may find that every member is an active member. Some key committees are:
- Program Committee responsible for planning and running your Branch's program of activities for the year. A program of meaningful activities (both technical and social) can help increase your membership and participation.
- Publicity Committee responsible for advertising all Branch activities. This may also involve public relations with other faculties and the general public.
- Membership Committee responsible for planning, organizing, and carrying out Branch recruitment. Each member of this committee should have a thorough knowledge of membership benefits, Branch programs, and be able to answer questions such as "Why should I join IEEE?".
- Finance Committee responsible for helping the Treasurer plan fundraising activities.
- Nominating Committee responsible for setting the election guidelines and dates prior to the annual election of Officers. This committee must ensure that all candidates are Student members in good standing at the time of their declaration, and should pay careful attention to why an individual is running.
For more informations, click Student Branch Officer Responsibilities and Administration