What is the Role of an Advisor?
Advisors are first and foremost educators. In this role you will provide
information, present alternative, encourage responsibility, support
creativity, and challenge students to develop as leaders. In this role
an advisor walks a fine line between leading the organization and giving
the organization the strength to lead itself.
Advisors should not assume a role as a leader, officer,
or voting member within the student organization. The various “hats”
of an advisor can be placed into four categories: planning assistance,
leadership skill development, resource guidance/policy interpretation,
The advisor will advise students in planning projects, competitions,
events, or programs for the organization. This may include planning
a meeting or social, fundraising drive, community service event, or
sports event. Students often need assistance in ordering the process,
involving other members or logistical considerations. They may not know
the questions to ask.
Leadership Skill Development
Student leaders come into their positions with various levels of ability.
If the advisor develops a relationship of trust the student will benefit
from guidance in areas such as assertiveness, budgeting, time management,
as well as helping the group with problem solving, decision-making,
and cohesiveness. The advisor may work directly with officers in developing
individual skills like public speaking and letter writing, or officers
may ask him or her to assist in ways to increase motivation.
Resource Guidance/Policy Interpretation
Advisors serve as liaisons between the university and the organization
by providing information regarding university procedures and guidelines
and making appropriate contacts. It is not the responsibility of the
advisor to find monetary resources but students frequently need some
guidance in deciding where to start.
Many organization need assistance in transitioning officers. As advisor
you can help by offering to meet with the out-going and in-coming officers
to discuss expectations and re-cap the previous term of office. Your
presence as facilitator will guide the students to exchange needed information.
Suggested Tasks for Advisors
Create opportunities for the educational and personal
development of students.
Have knowledge of all plans and activities of the
Discourage domination of the group by any individual
or small groups.
Assist in the orientation of new officers.
Be available to meet with members of the organization
at their regular meetings and events sponsored by the group.
Provide guidance in the planning and evaluation of
Assist the group in setting realistic goals and objectives
for the academic year.
Promote closer involvement between students, faculty
Assist the group in abiding by all University policies,
procedures, and regulations.
Be familiar with the Student Organization section
of the student handbook as well as the constitution and by-laws of
Student Association Senate and the specific organization by-laws.
Attend all general and executive committee meetings
Call meetings of the executive committee when they
believe it is necessary
Explain University policy
Meet with the President/Chairperson prior to all
Speak up during discussion when they have relevant
Take an active part in formulating the goals of the
Initiate ideas for discussion when they believe they
will help the group
Check all official correspondence before it is sent
and keep a copy on file
Be custodian of all group paraphernalia, records,
etc., during the summer and between change over of officers
Keep official files in office
Inform the group of infractions of their constitution
Keep the group aware of its stated objectives when
Veto a decision when it violates a stated object,
constitution, bylaws, or University policy
Mediate interpersonal conflicts that arise.
State what their advisor responsibilities are, or
as they see them, at the first meeting of the year
Let the group work out its problems, including making
mistakes and “doing it the hard way”
Insist on an evaluation of each activity by those
students responsible for planning it
Take the initiative in creating teamwork and cooperation
among the officers
Let the group thrive or decline on its merits; do
not interfere unless requested to do so
Represent the group in any conflicts with members
of University staff
Be familiar with University facilities, services
and procedures which affect group activities
Take an active part in the orderly transition of
responsibilities between old and new officers at the end of year
Approve all candidates for office in terms of what
the constitution and by-laws stipulate
Cancel any activities that may violate policy or
are poorly planned