The department of leadership, student engagement and first year experience thanks you for volunteering your time and energy to help better student organizations and lend a hand to their overall success. We’ve prepared some tips to position you for success in your role as an adviser ...
|What Advisers Should Do||What Advisers Shouldn’t Do|
The Role of an Adviser
The role of adviser is never a uniform package. Different groups require different types of advisers. Learning how to best advise a group will be revealed through your willingness to understand the uniqueness of the organization and its students to see where help and advisement is needed.
Here are some tips for you to consider to help you define how you will serve as an adviser for a specific group:
- Clarify with the organization what your role will be. Students will have their own ideas and they may be different from yours.
- Discuss your role as soon as possible after the election of officers. As the leadership in the organization changes, so will your role as adviser.
- Discuss what it is you can provide the organization in terms of support and campus resources.
- Devise a plan to keep lines of communication open and easily accessible between you and the executive board.
- Remember that the organization is for the students and the decisions should be made by the students. There may be times when you will need to step in and take a more directive role, but for the most part, it is the students’ responsibility to run the organization and make (and be held accountable for) their decisions.
- Although the students make the majority of the decisions that affect the organization, it is your responsibility to be aware of the decisions that have been made. Being aware is the only way in which you will be able to respond to questions, ensure that financial and legal issues are properly addressed and better understand the climate and attitude of the organization and its members. Stay informed by meeting regularly with the organizational president, reading the minutes, attending the meetings, etc.
- An adviser agreement form must be completed and signed by you every year in order for the organization to maintain their recognized status.
- The handbook for student organizations contains complete descriptions of all college regulations, forms and procedures, that student organizations need to be aware of. If you don't have a handbook, call the LSE office to get one.
- All student organizations must complete their administrative requirements annually to maintain their recognition. The requirements are as follows:
• Submit an executive report, membership list and adviser agreement by Oct. 1 each year.
• Greek and independent social groups are also required to complete two service projects and two educational programs each semester.
• Any changes in requirements are always announced at the Org Access meetings held at the beginning of each semester.
- The adviser is notified of all correspondence from college administration to student organization officers. Please read your organizational mail and keep in touch with your organization officers in case they don’t see what you do!
- Keep in touch with the organization you are advising. Be sure to have your group give you a list of members, particularly officers. Also, make sure you are on the organization’s mailing list. Sometimes the adviser is the only continuous member of a group.
- Any time an organization plans an off-campus event, an Off-Campus Event Form must be completed. This form does require an adviser’s signature. If there is anything indicated on the form that you are uncomfortable with, be sure to discuss it with your organization.
- As an adviser, you are automatically a member of the Organizational Access Listserv.
- All recognized student organizations are eligible for funding opportunities through the Student Government Association. Yearly allocations from the Student Activity Fee Fund are conducted in the spring (watch for publicity in Feb.) and program grants are allocated based on available funds throughout the year.
- An adviser should work to establish continuity within the organization so that the group can mature instead of “reinventing the wheel.” Assist them with the transition between old and new officers.
- Advising is a vague and flexible role. Most important in developing that role are the levels of your commitment and the organization’s commitment to making things work.
Generally speaking, advising a student org is not risky. However, there are two situations in which an adviser may be liable for for student conduct:
- He/she has undertaken to supervise conduct to prevent specific harms, and fails to exercise that supervision, and either the student relied on the supervision, or the lack of expected supervision increased the risks; or
- he/she knows of a circumstance which would make an injury foreseeable, or inherently dangerous activities take place with no supervision or control.
We are always available should you have any questions or challenges you’d like to discuss. Below are the most common adviser needs and who to contact to get answers or voice concerns.
- Organizational issues, concerns or general assistance: Cristi Burrill at 920-403-3954
- Organization’s budget, grants, Banner account or student activity fee allocation: John Seckel at 920-403-4014
- Organization’s checking account: finance department at 920-403-3117
- Organizational policies and procedures: consult the organization handbook or contact Cristi Burrill at 920-403-3954
- Judicial issues: Corday Goddard at 920-403-1351