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:
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.
1Facilitator Model of Relationship
Oregon State University recognizes that sponsored student organizations are inherently linked to the University because of their role in enhancing education, representing OSU and/or presenting events that are considered an integral part of the institution. In order to best support the learning of student leaders in our community, we have adopted a philosophical approach of partnership and collaboration with individual students and student organizations as “facilitators” in the involvement experience. As “facilitators,” advisors work with administrators, faculty and staff to support student organization members and leaders in making intelligent, fair and reasonable choices within the boundaries established by state, federal and local laws, university rules/policy, and the mission of the sponsoring unit. At Oregon State University, the Faculty Advisor serves as the primary “facilitator” to Sponsored Student Organizations.
Role of the Faculty Advisor
The OSU Student Organization Recognition Policy (SOR) defines a Faculty Advisor as “faculty, staff or personnel responsible for maintaining relationship with a sponsored student organization that allows for education and development as well as administration of data collection and University policies, procedures and guidelines.”
A Sponsoring Unit must provide a faculty advisor who shall be the primary liaison between the Sponsoring Unit/University and the Sponsored Student Organization (SSO). Under the tenets of the Facilitator University Model, the faculty advisor is much more than just a signature at the bottom of a piece of paper. Rather, the faculty advisor works collaboratively with students, sharing responsibility for the development, practices and outcomes of Sponsored Student Organization and its events.
Responsibilities of Faculty Advisor
As constituents of a Facilitator University, the faculty advisor works collaboratively and proactively with students, sharing responsibility for the organization and its events. Faculty advisors support, guide and partner with student organization leaders to ensure, fair, intelligent and reasonable decisions and actions. Specifically, it is expected that the faculty advisor:
The Unit Head, faculty advisor and student organization leaders should discuss any additional roles or responsibilities of the advisor in supporting the student organization. The key point is to work in partnership (advisors & student leaders to encourage organization success and rewarding experiences.
1For more information about the Facilitator University model, please refer to The Rights and Responsibilities of the Modern University: Who Assumes the Risks of College Life? by Robert D. Bickel and Peter F. Lake, published by the Carolina Academic Press in 1999.
As the advisor to a Voluntary Student Organization, your role is instrumental in helping the student organization and its members grow, develop and learn real life leadership skills for the future. Your support will not only help the student organization succeed but more importantly, create an exciting learning opportunity through involvement that both you and the organization can enjoy and appreciate. In your role, please keep in mind the following: