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September/October 2010

Tools for the ASTM Officer

ASTM Provides Resources and Training for Committee and Subcommittee Leaders

What skills should committee officers have?

A few committee chairmen, when asked recently about important main/subcommittee chairmen skills, responded with these capabilities: agendas that accelerate standards development, understanding ASTM International procedures, creating the momentum to complete reviews of existing standards — plus administrative, diplomatic, interpersonal, problem-solving and follow up skills (and more).

However you answer the question about what constitutes an officer’s skill set, be sure that ASTM wants to help you succeed in your technical committee officer role. To provide ongoing assistance to all officers, ASTM offers manuals and training opportunities. Your staff contacts are also available to answer questions.

ASTM manuals that provide officer, standards development and committee information can be found as PDF files at “Key Documents and Forms."

  • The ASTM Technical Committee Officer Handbook could be subtitled “ASTM International, A to Z.” The manual introduces ASTM and how it works, and then describes officer responsibilities — those of committee, subcommittee and task group chairmen, and recording and membership secretaries. In addition, the manual details the standards development process, particularly balloting and negative votes.
  • Form and Style for ASTM Standards, is the textbook for writing an ASTM International standard. The manual includes comprehensive explanations of how to draft different types of standards, including proper format, and mandatory and optional sections.
  • Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees codifies the rules that ensure consensus standards development in accordance with rigorous democratic procedures. Available in five languages, the manual covers the operations and composition of technical committees; it also stipulates voting procedures, including requirements for considering negative votes.

In addition to these manuals, ASTM offers training programs to assist committee officers in carrying out their leadership roles. This year, on Sept. 14 and 15, the Officers’ Training Workshop is being held again at ASTM International headquarters in West Conshohocken, Pa., bringing together committee and subcommittee leaders for training and information interchange.

The officers’ workshop packs in numerous sessions along with question and answer periods. From overviews about officer responsibilities and the arc of standards development to strategic planning, new activities, balloting and negative votes, the September schedule delivers a great deal of useful information. The gathering also provides the opportunity to chat with others who have similar responsibilities, which is always a plus.

Not attending the September workshop? Consider checking the online “Virtual Classroom for Members," which links to the PowerPoint presentations from the officers’ training sessions. Or, you may register for any of the live, staff-hosted virtual sessions on relevant topics. At the virtual classroom Web page you will find descriptions, dates and contact info for such topics as:

  • ASTM website training;
  • Balloting and handling negative votes;
  • Developing and revising a standard;
  • Interlaboratory studies program;
  • New member orientation and training;
  • Roster maintenance;
  • WebEx training; and
  • Work item collaboration areas.

As a final note, thanks go to everyone who serves as a committee officer. As one committee officer notes, these responsibilities and duties are over and above your standards development participation, and in addition to your work for your company. ASTM wants to facilitate your leadership as much as possible.