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When searching for an advisor, we suggest you write out your expectations along with the expected time commitment to share with prospective advisors. It is suggested you find an advisor who shares an interest in the group’s purpose as this person should be active with your organization and not simply a name on a list. One way to do this is to ask organization members for names of faculty or staff members who have been helpful or who they think may be a good match for the group.
After identifying a possible advisor match, approach that individual to determine interest and expectations they have for working with your organization. This relationship should be collaborative in nature with the advisor serving as facilitator, educating on the broadest scope of opportunity and the students determining which opportunities to pursue. Continual communication is important in developing a strong relationship. As the year progresses, be sure to keep the advisor informed about meetings, activities and issues that are pertinent to the organization and continue to use the advisor as a resource.
Successful student organization advisors typically are involved by:
- being a resource
- attending organizational events
- helping to explain University policies and how policies may affect the organization
- attending meetings
- providing continuity in the organization as officers transition from year to year
- suggesting program ideas
- helping to solve problems and deal with crises
- advising officers on meeting agendas
- being a role model & mentor
- serving as a sounding board
- providing professional connections for the group
- giving honest feedback to group members
Only Sponsored Student Organizations (SSOs) are required to have a Faculty Advisor, as articulated in the Sponsorship Agreement between the student organization and sponsoring unit. In addition to the information above, Faculty Advisors to SSOs should review and understand the Role & Responsibilities of Faculty advisors.
Voluntary Student Organizations (VSOs) are not required to have a Faculty Advisor. Therefore, those who choose to advise these organizations have no formal responsibility or oversight of the organization. The role and responsibilities of the advisor to a VSO in minimal and since there are few rules for what role the advisor will take, it is up to you to sit down with your advisor and come to an agreement about what role they will play.
Non-Affiliated Student Organization are not University recognized student organizations and as such we strongly recommend against serving as an active advisor. If you have questions, please contact us in the Student Events & Activities Center.