Advisor Role and University Policies
The following are functions for faculty advisors of Campus Organizations:
- To ensure that your organization is following local and national constitution and by-laws including but not limited to: membership selection, officer elections, and financial responsibilities, including handling delinquencies.
- To promote appropriate and responsible behavior and ethical decision-making by all members of the organization.
- To ensure that your campus organization is financially sound and has a checks-and-balances system, which ensures that expenditures and collections are legitimate and handled in a sound business manner.
- To attend the meetings of the organization on a regular basis so that you have direct contact with your organization.
- To ensure that detailed minutes of all meetings are maintained.
- To be actively involved in guiding and advising your organization.
- To assist leaders in making the leadership change yearly in order to provide continuity for your organization.
- To meet regularly with the organization’s officers to ensure that any questions or problems can be handled.
- To report yearly to the Office of Student Engagement & Leadership a list of the officers, meeting times and places, phone numbers, and address of advisor for your organization. (Recertification)
- To follow the University Alcohol and Anti-Hazing guidelines and ensure that your members have access to and understand the guidelines.
- To insure that your organization is aware of and follows the University's regulations as stated in the various University publications (Handbook, Code of Conduct, Union, Policies, Catalogue, etc.)
- All new advisors must be approved by the Office of Student Engagement & Leadership. Additionally, all new advisors of honorary or college related organizations must be approved by the Dean of the College.
Selecting an Advisor
When selecting an advisor, consider the following factors in your decision:
- find a faculty or staff person who will have the time to devote to your organization and will take the role seriously;
- make certain that she or he has a clear understanding of the organization’s purpose;
- find someone who has knowledge or skills related to the mission/purpose of the organization;
- choose someone who shares some of the same interests as the organization, and who has previously interacted with the leadership of the organization;
- allow the person a reasonable length of time to consider her or his decision. Discuss with the potential advisor what is required of her or him, her or his duties and the time commitment involved. Be open and honest with the potential advisor about the types of activities in which the organization may participate.
General Responsibilities of the Advisor
By sharing knowledge about the University and personal experiences, the advisor can assist the organization in its activities. In addition, valuable, mutually rewarding, co-curricular relationships between students and advisors are fostered. The relationship between an advisor and an organization will vary from year to year and individual to individual. However, the student/advisor relationship can be crucial to the success of the organization. It is important that the advisor and the organization communicate their expectations to each other. The advisor should be very clear about the things she or he will do and the things she or he will not do. The expectations will vary according to the needs of the organization and the advisor.
Suggestions for Effective Advising
The maturity and/or skill level of the organization and its members should dictate your style of advising. If members have basic skill levels, you may need to be more actively involved with the organization. As the leaders’ skill level matures, you can then decrease the amount of direction you need to provide the organization. Below are some suggestions for effective advising.
- 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.
- Provide feedback to the group and the leaders regarding their performance.
- Participate with the organization and get to know the members. Be available and accessible to them. They will feel more comfortable with you and be more open to your input if they know you.
- Following organization meetings, discuss any problems encountered during the meeting with the officers.
- Be careful of becoming too involved with the organization. Remember that you are not a member. Your role is to advise, assist, and facilitate.
An advisor should:
- Recognize and support participation in student organizations for its contribution to the educational and personal development of students;
- Work with student organizations but not dictate the group’s programs or activities;
- Be direct in offering suggestions, considerations or ideas, and discussing possible consequences;
- Be well informed about the plans and activities of the organization;
- Attend some meetings and consult frequently with the organization’s officers;
- Know the goals and directions of the organization;
- Help the organization evaluate its progress;
- Be aware of the constitution and bylaws of the organization and help with interpretation, if applicable;
- Provide a source of continuity within the organization and be familiar with the organization’s history;
- Be familiar with University policies and procedures and help the organization comply with them;
- Be aware of the general financial condition of the organization and encourage good record-keeping;
- Help train and develop the leadership skills of new officers;
- Be prepared to deal with major problems or emergencies within the organization; and
- Monitor group functioning and encourage members to fully participate while maintaining a balance between academic and co-curricular activities.
The Organization’s Responsibilities to the Advisor
Keep in mind that the advisor is voluntarily associated with the organization. It is the organization’s responsibility to inform the advisor about the activities of the organization.
An organization should:
- Notify the advisor of all meetings and events;
- Consult the advisor in the planning of all activities;
- Consult her or him before any changes in the structure or policies of the organization and before major projects are undertaken;
- Understand that although the advisor has no vote that she or he should have speaking privileges;
- Remember that the responsibility for the success or failure of the organization project rests ultimately with the group, not the advisor;
- Communicate with the advisor about any problems or concerns;
- Acknowledge that the advisor’s time and energy are donated and express appreciation;
- Be clear and open about your expectations for the advisor’s role; and
- Evaluate the advisor and give appropriate feedback at the end of each semester.
Advisors who choose to step down from the advisor role must write a letter to the Dean of Students or email firstname.lastname@example.org stating he/she will no longer be advisor. The new advisor must also write a letter to the Dean of Students or email email@example.com stating he/she will be the new advisor plus email and phone number.
All information concerning student organization discipline can be found in the UL Lafayette Student Handbook.
- ACPA Advisor Manual - from College Student Educators International. A fantastic manual with great information for advisors of all organizations. Pay special attention to page 8 that details liability and risk reduction.
- Article on how Advisors can Impact our students
- Advisor/Student Leader Roles - (from Clemson) a checklist for the advisor and leader to fill out to define roles. A great way to help work together.
- Master Calendar -Check here for all student organization events.