SIG Policies and Guidelines

Revised February 2009

What is the Role of a SIG?

SIG’s, or Special Interest Groups, are AHEAD members organized around an interest or concern. SIG’s provide leadership to the AHEAD membership by providing information and referral, organizing professional development opportunities, and networking around a particular topic. SIG’s are comprised of AHEAD members, although non-members may participate in certain activities, such as the conference SIG meeting. If requested, membership of a SIG may be tracked by having members register on an individual SIG web page. SIG Chairs initiate this service by contacting the AHEAD webmaster.

AHEAD Support for SIG

AHEAD highly encourages members to be involved in SIGs, and provides the following support:

  • SIG link on the AHEAD website with SIG description, and contact information
  • SIG web assistance for home page
  • SIG meeting place at the annual conference, with room location and meeting time identified in the conference booklet
  • Assistance with establishing an electronic communication list for SIG members to continue discussions

Board of Directors’ Liaison Role with SIG’s:

The AHEAD Board of Director’s Liaison (BODL) serves as point person between SIG’s, AHEAD Board of Directors, and the AHEAD Executive Office. Furthermore, the BODL:

  • Maintains contact with SIG chairs, and consults with groups interested in becoming a SIG.
  • Is responsible for maintaining updated information about the SIG program on the AHEAD web site.
  • Is responsible for providing SIG chairs updates and deadlines, and coordination of: conference meeting times, SIG chair reception/business meeting; and SIG coverage at the exhibit hall
  • Communicate with SIG’s on matters pertaining to SIG activities and resources, such as annual conference activities or Board policies. Members of SIG’s may use the BODL for information and referral, or to share ideas and concerns related to SIG’s.

Expectations of SIGs:

In order to maintain active SIG status, each SIG must do the following annually:

  1. Maintain accurate SIG webpage. A web page on the AHEAD site is to contain:
    • Purpose statement; goals and objectives if available
    • At least 3 links to additional resources
    • At least 3 “Frequently Asked Questions” or FAQ’s
    • Contact information for chairs and other SIG members willing to provide information and referral on the topic
  2. Contribute to the ALERT. At least two ALERT articles regarding information of interest to the SIG need to be arranged for by SIG members (note, not necessarily written by SIG members, but that SIG members solicit or arrange for.) Articles can be informational, or be position statements, newly-developed FAQ’s, book reviews, etc. ALERT articles will be cross-posted to the SIG web site after publication.
  3. Attend the Annual Conference SIG Chairs Meeting. At the annual conference, SIG chairs are expected to attend the SIG chairs meeting, and be prepared to provide a SIG update.
  4. Conduct SIG Meeting at the Annual Conference. Since AHEAD will arrange a room, time and location for each SIG to meet, it is important that each SIG have a member able to facilitate the session. Topics could include discussion on issues of concern, developing or refining position statements, selecting new chairs as needed, thinking of presentation strands for upcoming conferences etc. If more than one SIG meeting time is requested, SIG chairs will need to notify the BODL at least 2 months before the annual conference to have this arranged.
  5. Provide a post conference/SIG meeting annual report to the BOD liaison within a month of the conference, to be shared with the AHEAD BOD at its' fall meeting.
  6. Should SIG chairs be non-responsive to BODL requests for information or participation in AHEAD conference activities for at least one year, the SIG will lose its’ approved status with AHEAD and be denied AHEAD resources or support until such time as it re-applies and is again approved for AHEAD active status.

Optional SIG Activities:

SIGs are encouraged to plan and implement activities outside of the conference, and throughout the year. Suggested activities might include:

  • Web-based “discussion boards” are available to facilitate communication between SIG members, and are administered by the AHEAD webmaster. SIG Chairs need to request a discussion board from the AHEAD webmaster, and must designate an AHEAD member to moderate discussion on the board.
  • Moderated “chat” or virtual SIG meetings
  • Plan proposals relevant to the SIG for the next annual conference

How to Start a New SIG:

Interested members need to provide the BODL a proposal for a new SIG. The BODL is responsible for the following:

  • Communicates with new SIG contact to clarify intent and purpose
  • Sends request for new SIGs to other BOD members
  • Votes on it at upcoming BOD meeting
  • Informs SIG of approval status and provides SIG chair(s) SIG Guidelines

In the proposal for a new SIG, the following criteria must be addressed:

  1. Intent, Purpose, and Contacts

    a) Intent of the new SIG – how does it meet needs not otherwise addressed in currently existing SIGs

    b) Purpose and need for new SIG

    c) Names and contact information of at least 10 AHEAD members or affiliates interested in being part of the SIG

    d) Names and contacts of primary SIG contact, as well as a secondary contact in the event the first contact is not responsive
  2. Explanation of how the new SIG will be keeping with AHEAD's mission and vision
  3. Commitment that the new SIG Chair will commit to a two-year leadership term, in order to provide leadership and continuity.

    a) SIG chairs are generally selected at the annual conference each summer, and must be members of AHEAD.

    b) Individual SIG’s determine how long a chair may serve, however when a SIG is first approved, the SIG chairs must commit to at least a two-year term.

    c) SIG chairs must:

    - Develop an agenda for SIG meetings at conference or other arranged times, and lead SIG meetings.

    - Ensure decisions made by the SIG are recorded and submitted to the BOD Liaison

    - Keep the BODL informed of all requests for AHEAD support or resources