Resources for Advisors
Thank you for your dedication as an advisor to a student organization. Advisors are a supportive resource in many ways. It is typical for an advisor to counsel and advise student organizations by asking questions, challenging students and supporting their efforts. An active advisor can improve the effectiveness of an organization while also assisting in the positive development of students. With this, we recognize that you may benefit from certain advisor resources and support. We strive to provide a network that supplies the support and recognition that you deserve. Please explore the following resources and let us know how we can best assist you!
It is important that advisors understand the responsibilities involved before making a commitment to a student group. Those responsibilities include:
- Assist officers in understanding their duties, administering programs and plans, organizing projects and making appropriate transitions.
- See that continuity of the organization is preserved through a constitution, minutes, files and traditions.
- Encourage use of parliamentary procedures and that meetings are run in an orderly, efficient manner.
- Encourage students to understand and apply democratic principles, including recognition of minority opinions and rights.
- Attend as many organization meetings and events as possible.
- Articulate campus policies and procedures and help cut through red tape when necessary.
- Be a sounding board, especially for officers, and be supportive of all members.
- Maintain the ability to deal with the same issues each year, and remain fresh.
- Be a facilitator both among officers and between officers and members.
- Be familiar with national structure and services, if relevant.
- Be a resource for the students especially in regard to understanding university policies, regulations and services.
- Consult on programs.
- Consult with individual students, when necessary.
- Be generally available to assist the organization.
- Consult with other university offices when problems arise with the student organization.
- Sign all appropriate forms, i.e., check requisitions and space requests.
- Have a blank copy of the Incident Report form with you at all events.
- The maturity/skill of the organization and its leadership should dictate your style of advising. If the leaders have low skill levels, you may need to be more actively involved with the group. As the leaders’ skill level matures, you can then decrease the amount of direction you need to provide the group.
- Express sincere enthusiasm and interest in the group and its activities.
- Be open to feedback from the group. Talk with them regarding your role as advisor. Be willing to admit mistakes.
- Give the group and the leaders feedback regarding their performance. Raise questions with them regarding their goals.
- Be aware of university policies and procedures so that you can be a knowledgeable resource for the group. Be familiar with the Student Organization Manual.
- Meet with the officers before group meetings. Assist them in setting an agenda.Following group meetings, discuss with officers and problems encountered during the meeting. Offer suggestions/feedback for how meetings can be improved.
- Be careful of becoming too involved with the group. You are not a member. Advise, assist, facilitate; not lead or do.
- Set up weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly standing meetings with your advisees to touch base on programs, finances, committee dynamics, etc. Such regular contact helps to keep you well informed as an advisor, and is a great way to show support for the students and their committees.
- Every once and a while, get together with your students individually outside of official meetings. Meet them for lunch or dinner and just chat about non-business stuff. You'll be amazed at how much easier it is to get things done organizationally once you know the students on a personal level.
- When starting to work with a new advisee it's really helpful to spend some time to get to know his/her communication style and preferences. For example, it is important to know if e-mail, cell phone, Facebook, etc. are good ways to get in touch with the students. Also, it's helpful to understand if the student is someone who takes notes, prefers to 'store it in his/her head', or needs a follow-up e-mail with summary notes. All of this information helps to make things go smoothly for the rest of the year.
- American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Advisor Manual
- "Advising the Undergraduate Student Organization: This Worked for Us!"by M Susie Whittington and Jamie Cano
- "Advising Student Organizations: Strategies for establishing and maintaining successful advisor/student relationships" by Erin Morrell
- Incident Report Form
- Advising Student Groups and Organizations by Norbert Dunkel and John Schuh
- A Professor's Duties: Ethical Issues in College Teaching By Peter J. Markie
- New Faculty: A Practical Guide for Academic Beginners By Christopher J. Lucas and John W. Murry