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The Truth About a Consultant’s Visit to Your Chapter

October 22, 2010

By Crystal Simmons, Educational and Leadership Consultant

I’m sure your first thought when you received the email from either of the consultants was something to the effect of “Why is someone from Central Office coming to my chapter?  We haven’t done anything wrong.”  As President of Gamma Iota at New Mexico in spring 2009, my thoughts when I received the email were very similar.  I received the email in December shortly after being elected for the upcoming semester and the consultation visit was the second week of classes in the spring.  I started calling alumni who had been around for a while asking the question of why and also asking what goes on during the visit.  I received a brief consolation from a few alumni which included them saying the visit wasn’t a big deal and everything was fine.  At that point, I completely forgot that question 20 in the pledge manual had asked me to explain the Educational and Leadership Consultant program in my own words.  That’s right, I knew the answers to my own questions, but I forgot what I learned about the consultation program less than a year before.  In the time between receiving the email and the day of the consultation visit, I never revisited my pledge manual to review the paragraph explaining the program.  If I had, I would have read the sentence that starts out “The counseling and advising through a consultation visit…”  I would have also recalled that nowhere within the description does it say the consultation visit is an audit of the chapter. 

In that same semester after the consultation visit to my chapter, I read a job posting in the February 2009 DSP News (now the Deltasig Update).  I had talked to the consultant when he was at New Mexico about the position and what it was like.  I didn’t think I would actually do more than learn more about the position but when I saw the job posting, I decided to apply and was later hired.

Today, I get the same response from most chapters that I visit.  They believe that the consultation visit is an audit of their chapter and that the consultant is visiting to try to find something to get the chapter in trouble.  There are also the chapters that don’t think much about the visit and just go with the flow.  Other chapters are happy to get the visit and want the ideas and advice that a consultant has to offer.

So, if you get an email from me or any staff member now or in the future, we aren’t going to your chapter to audit you or to look for things your chapter does wrong.  We are visiting so we can help you  help your chapter.  Sure, we may find practices that aren’t permitted but I promise, your chapter isn’t the only chapter that has heard those words and your chapter is not being singled out.  Think of the consultation visit as a way to learn new ideas that come from chapters around the country.  Thinking back to my thoughts after the consultant left Gamma Iota, I remember thinking “Wow, that was easy.”  Yes, it does take additional time to plan the meetings and sometimes it isn’t easy to get the meetings planned, but the visit will be worth it once the consultant is on your campus.

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