All RSOs must have an advisor who is a contracted UCF employee (faculty or A&P). The role of an advisor is to provide guidance on organizational issues and university policies and procedures. The advisor also provides continuity from year to year since student leader turnover is often high. The advisor’s role is not to run the organization or make decisions on behalf of the organization. An advisor can be a great resource to the organization if the group keeps them informed and involved in the group’s processes.
Need an Advisor?
Before approaching a potential advisor, know that it is ideal to find someone who:
(a) will have the time to devote to the organization,
(b) will take the role willingly and seriously, and
(c) has knowledge or skills related to the mission/purpose of the organization.
When approaching the person for the first time, make certain that they has a clear understanding of the organization’s purpose, what would be required of them, and the time commitment involved. Be open and honest with the potential advisor about the types of activities in which the organization may participate.
Role of Advisors
While the role of an advisor varies based on organizational activities and purpose, advisors can make a tremendous impact on students and student organizations. There are many benefits that can result from an advisor/organization relationship, so organizations should not underestimate the importance of advisors.
The role of an advisor may include:
· Liaison between the organization and University administration
· Interpreter of University policy/procedure
· Information resource regarding organizational procedures and group functioning
· Provider of organizational history and continuity from year to year
· Counselor, mediator, consultant, mentor, and friend
· Helping officers exercise good judgment in decision making
· Attending officer and organizational meetings, and some activities
· “Sounding board” for new ideas
· Facilitator of leadership development and personal growth
· Helping the organization develop realistic goals
· Keep copies of organizational records
If an organization’s advisor is frequently unavailable or only serves as a required signature on a form, the organization should consider finding a new advisor who is able to commit the time to the organization and obtain an appropriate level of experience, resource information, and knowledge related to the mission, purpose, and activities of the organization.
The organization-advisor relationship cannot be a one-way street. The student organization and its leaders also have responsibilities. These responsibilities include maintaining an appropriate level of communication with the advisor and providing opportunities for advisor interaction with officers and members. As such, both the advisor and the officers should spend time early in their relationship establishing a clear understanding of the roles each will play.
At the beginning of each officer term, all officers and the advisor should complete an Advisor Roles worksheet and then discuss any differences of opinion they may have. Groups should set mutually-agreeable expectations for the advisor (with regards to the different categories of the worksheet, including meeting attendance and time commitment), and the advisor should set mutually-agreeable expectations of the officers and organization.
Advisor Role Worksheet
What follows is a series of roles or functions which might be appropriate for an advisor to assume. Check off your agreement level on each of the following potential advisor roles. Have your advisor do the same, then discuss any differences. Click here to download. (PDF file)