One way organizations accomplish their goals is through committees. For the Honor Society, the constitution establishes an executive committee to help run the chapter, with other committees that can be formed to carry out projects and activities. Your chapter will be more successful with a strong committee structure.
There are three basic types of committees used in Honor Society chapters:
- Executive committee—made up of the chapter officers and adviser.
- Standing committee—has a continuing task for the year(s) such as service, finance, staff appreciation, etc.
- Special committee—appointed to do a definite job or project within a time limit such as a fund drive, dance, election, milestone year, etc.
Traditionally, the chapter president appoints all committee chairpersons with prior approval of the chapter adviser or executive committee.
The executive committee is composed of the chapter officers and the chapter adviser.
The executive committee:
- Helps administer and direct the business of the chapter
- Makes recommendations concerning the bylaws
- Delineates the time and place of meetings
- Creates meeting agendas
- Organizes special projects
- Develops member obligations
All actions and recommendations by the executive committee are subject to review by the membership.
As noted in Article XII, Section 3 of the National Constitution, the executive committee should be especially aware of the chapter’s relationship to other school organizations, the administration, faculty, and community. Be sure that chapter activities do not duplicate or interfere with those of other school organizations. Ideally, any chapter project or activity will complement and serve the best interests of the total school.
Alternative Committee Structure
You may wish to consider committees based on the purposes of the Honor Society:
- Scholarship—to provide mentoring and tutoring project supervision, honor roll postings, freshman motivation programs, etc.
- Leadership—to supervise officer training, creation of a member handbook, bylaws review and/or revision, etc.
- Service—to fulfill the chapter obligations to both school and community, organizing and implementing projects; also assists in keeping track of service hours of members
- Character—charged with developing and monitoring a code of ethics; providing inspirational quotations for each meeting
- Citizenship—charged with reminding members of important patriotic holidays and provide guidance to all students on how to be good citizen
Committees, whatever their shape and function, should be encouraged to report on their progress at regular chapter meetings.
Committees should include both new and old members of the chapter to ensure continuity for leadership in the following year.
Tips for Successful Committees
Good committees, no matter what their specific purposes, have some common characteristics:
- Clearly defined purpose and specific goals
- Enthusiastic and committed chairperson and members
- Good attendance at meetings
- Comfortable atmosphere where everyone’s ideas are valued
- Ability to evaluate ideas apart from personalities
- Appropriate size: 5 to 7 members is ideal, but sizes vary depending on purpose
- Good communication among all members and in coordinating with other committees
- Careful time control: neither meetings nor projects drag on
- Periodic self-assessment of committee’s performance
- Understanding of the committee’s authority and limitations
- Recognition and appreciation are given to members so they feel they are really making a contribution
- The work of the committee is accepted and makes a valuable contribution to the organization