How to Chair an AAS Committee or Task Force
The AAS recognizes that we are an organization that provides many leadership opportunities to young faculty. Often, AAS members are serving as Chair of a committee for the first time. Thus, we felt it was important to provide guidelines on how to chair a committee or taskforce.
Formalities when first assigned Chair:
- Formally accept the appointment to serve as chair/co-chair through the AAS office.
- Be familiar with the AAS Executive Council Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and Executive Council Reporting Template documents.
- Obtain the contact information, including email addresses, for all of your committee members from the AAS office.
Organizing your committee:
- Upon assuming the Chair position, send out an email to all committee members, confirming that you have all the correct email addresses (i.e., request replies to confirm they received your email). With folks moving a lot, this has been an issue in the past. We have had committee members claim that a Chair has not contacted them throughout the entire year. We want to avoid these types of situations.
- In the first email
a) introduce yourself
b) describe the goals or tasks of the committee
c) detail the expectations you have for the committee members (i.e., if there are deadlines, meetings to attend, etc)
d) set the communication schedule (i.e., monthly conference calls, etc). Conference calls can be arranged through the AAS office.
- When having conference calls, develop an agenda ahead of time and distribute this, along with call-in information, prior to the call. To coordinate a conference call date and time, the AAS staff can set up a Doodle pool to find the best day and time, if needed.
- It is important to make decisions with the input of all committee members. Thus, if there is a decision to be made, communicate the issue to the committee members to receive input. While this may be your first time chairing a committee, it is often the faculty members’ first time on a committee. You want to engage all committee members and make this a good experience for all members.
- It is important to follow up on all issues discussed during the conference call. Provide feedback to the committee members on a regular basis.
Communicate with your assigned AAS Officer about the activities related to your committee on a monthly basis. See below for the list of assigned officers:
Subspecialty Committee, ACS Board of Governors Representative, Historian, ACS Surgical Research Committee Representative, Senior Member Council, Nominating Committee, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force and ABS Representative.
Basic and Translational Science Committee, Clinical and Health Services Committee, Education Committee, Leadership Committee, Councilors, Society of Black Academic Surgeons Representative, Association of Women Surgeons and Society of Asian Academic Surgeons.
Global Affairs Committee, Committee on Technology and Communications, Membership Committee, Military Committee and International Career Development Course Director.
Program Committee, Ethics Committee, Committee on Academic Advancement and Publications Committee.
Finance Committee and Audit Committee.
Other responsibilities as Chair:
- Must provide bimonthly updates to the Secretary on the progress and status of your committee work. The Secretary may ask for you to prepare a write up for the quarterly AAS Blog.
- Must provide a report for the Executive Council book (see SOP for reporting structure).
- Must attend all three Executive Council (EC) meetings (at the ASC, a summer retreat in May/June and during the ACS in the fall).
- Follow up on action items from the EC meeting that pertain to your committee.
- Work with AAS staff on setting up a committee meeting during the ASC, if necessary.
- If holding a meeting, work with AAS staff on the development of an agenda to be distributed to the committee members.
The key to success is through the Chair’s communication skills:
- Communicate with members regularly
- Communicate information in a clear and concise manner (i.e., be organized)
- Follow up on all requests
- Involve as many committee members as possible
- Answer all correspondence in a prompt manner
- Provide positive feedback to members who do good work, and are involved
- Maintain a sense of collegiality and have fun