by Craig Berger
In earlier posts I’ve described the roles of the SGA Senate and Finance Board. This post describes the role of the Executive Branch: the largest part of SGA, but the one with the fewest elected positions.
NOTE: SGA candidate applications for 2017-2018 are due at noon on Monday, March 27th. There are 20 available elected positions (President, Executive Vice President, Vice President for Student Organizations, Treasurer, 11 Senators, and 5 Finance Board Representatives).
The SGA Executive Branch Membership: The Executive Branch consists of four elected officers—the President, Executive Vice President, Vice President for Student Organizations and Treasurer—and the staff members they appoint (with Senate approval) to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities. The students appointed by the President to Director positions of various departments are known collectively as the Cabinet. Only the four elected leadership positions are available now (the appointed positions will be opened up following the election). The application form (follow this link) contains information about the specific responsibilities of each of the four elected positions. What follows is a general description of the entire Executive Branch’s role in SGA.
- Develop and Articulate SGA’s Vision and Priorities: The President takes the lead in establishing SGA’s vision and priorities for the year, working closely with the other elected officers of the Executive Branch and the leaders of the other branches. The President also takes the lead in identifying ways to improve SGA’s effectiveness as an organization, inspiring and organizing other officers to consider and implement upgrades to SGA’s policies, practices and training program. The elected officers of the Executive Branch play a central role in communicating SGA’s vision and priorities to campus leaders and the student body. The President especially is a visible spokesperson for the organization, giving a speech at Convocation, participating in the annual University Retreat and representing SGA in many other settings.
- Run Programs and Provide Services: Appointed staff members in the Executive Branch are specialists: charged with developing and implementing specific initiatives or managing information and communications about particular topics. For example, an assistant to the Treasurer might be tasked with maintaining a log of student organization funding requests and Finance Board allocations. The Director of Academic Affairs is responsible for programs and advocacy relating to students’ experiences inside the classroom, and staff members working for the Director can expect to be tasked with specific projects, or pieces of specific projects, in this area. The value of this setup is that it is relatively easy to coordinate and ensures maximum accountability: You always know exactly who is responsible for following through. It is especially useful in connection with ongoing programs and services, where the bulk of the creative planning work has already happened and the focus now is on implementation.
- Represent the Student Body: The President is the principal voice of the student body to audiences such as the campus administration, the media and state officials. The President also appoints student representatives to certain decision-making committees at UMBC and, with approval from the Senate, also chooses the student body’s representatives to the University System of Maryland Student Council and the Maryland Higher Education Commission Student Advisory Council.
- Manage SGA’s Internal Operations and Support the Senate and Finance Board: The elected leaders of the Executive Branch take the lead in ensuring that SGA members know their responsibilities, have the guidance and support they need, and communicate effectively as they learn about developments on campus and implement their initiatives. They identify and troubleshoot problems as they arise. The President takes the lead in planning and preparing for the fall and spring SGA Retreats. All members of the Executive Branch serve as resources (sources of information and helping hands) to the Senate and Finance Board as they fulfill their own responsibilities.
For the elected members of the Executive Branch, the focus of attention and activity is the total impact SGA is having on the well-being of UMBC students. They ask themselves, could we be functioning more effectively as an organization? What capabilities do we need to develop in order to provide better services, and how shall we develop them? Are we set up to connect with students in the ways that would serve them best, and if not, how should we adjust? How can we support individual SGA members in staying inspired and being as effective as they can be in their roles?
For the appointed members of the Executive Branch, the focus of attention and activity is the specific outcomes expected from their projects. They ask themselves, what are the steps I must take in order to accomplish the tasks that have been delegated to me? With whom do I need to develop relationships in order to position my projects for success? How can I communicate my progress and objectives in order to gain the support I need to succeed? How can I involve students outside of SGA in my work in order to maximize the impact of my projects?
Questions about the Executive Branch, or about running for a position in SGA? Send Election Board Chair Sophia Lopresti (email@example.com) or me (firstname.lastname@example.org) an email.
Be sure to get your application in by the March 27th (noon) deadline!