Every recognized student organization at Texas A&M has a faculty or staff advisor. Although necessary, these advisors serve as invaluable resources, aiding student leaders in a number of ways to help make each organization the best it can be.
Roles and Duties of Advisors
Advisors are some of the best kept secrets on campus. Check out some of the amazing things that advisors bring to each organization:
- An advisor has a wealth of knowledge regarding policies, procedures and student rules related to student organizations.
- Advisors work collaboratively with students by sharing responsibility for the organization and its events.
- Advisors help student leaders use their best judgment in selecting and planning programs.
- Advisors provide an outlet for students to talk about classes, their role in the organization and everyday issues that students face.
- Advisors are here to support and guide the organization, empowering students to make fair, intelligent, and reasonable decisions based on institutional guiding boundaries.
To be sure, being an advisor isn’t all fun and games. There is a serious side to being an advisor. Some duties of an advisor include:
- Having access to the guiding documents and policies for the student organization, including an updated copy of the organization’s constitution and operations manual.
- Reporting and following up on any discipline issues for the organization and/or its members.
- Being aware of, and having an understanding of, rules pertaining to organizations at TAMU, as well as rules governing TAMU students.
- Being aware of liability issues (i.e. hazing, alcohol, etc.) and advising the organization to make reasonable and prudent decisions regarding these issues when planning activities.
- Attending meetings of the organization whenever possible.
- Being available to the officers of the organization on a regular basis for advice and consultation.
The key to having a successful advisor relationship is working collaboratively to encourage organizational success and rewarding experiences for all. It is important to be open to suggestions and criticisms that an advisor may provide, as his/her knowledge and experience will help in exploring solutions and implementing the best decisions for your organization. And don’t forget to discuss your expectations for each other, and set up regular meetings about the organization’s activities and events.
Tips for Recruiting an Advisor
Before making a selection, keep in mind the following: (a) find someone who will have the time to devote to your organization, and (b) find someone who will take the role willingly and seriously.
When approaching a potential advisor, make certain that he/she has a clear understanding of your organization’s purpose as well as what would be required of him/her, his or her duties, and the time commitment involved.
Allow the person a reasonable length of time to consider his/her decision. Don’t forget that most advisors volunteer their time to support student organizations, so this can be a big commitment.
If possible, choose someone who shares some of the same interests as your organization and someone who you can contact easily. It is best to meet with your advisor regularly to keep them updated on the activities and decisions of the organization. Advisors can be a great resource for your group, so take advantage of their experience and insight.
Enough about finding an advisor. What if you’re a faculty or staff member looking to become an advisor? This section here is for you; it has important information regarding what you need to know and do in order to become an advisor for a student organization. We even have a blog for advisors to collaborate and receive up-to-date information about advising.
Becoming an Advisor
An advisor must be a full or part-time faculty or staff employee at Texas A&M or a local system agency in order to serve in the advisor role. Once selected and approved, each advisor will need to complete the annual advisor training (which includes the completion of the Acknowledgement of Advisor Expectations) and then begin integrating into the organization.
One of the most frequently asked questions about advising student groups concerns the legal liability of the advisor. In general, the advisor is responsible for giving advice to student organizations and helping them determine what needs to be done, especially in the event that an activity is potentially dangerous or unethical. An advisor who utilizes appropriate techniques to ensure the safety of the participants is less likely to be found liable if something goes wrong.
The Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors
For those serving as the campus advisor for one of our Greek chapters, the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors (AFA) provides individuals concerned with the fraternity/sorority movement an avenue for professional growth and development.
AFA enhances its members’ ability to create fraternity and sorority experiences that positively affect students, host institutions, and communities. Active membership in the Association provides invaluable opportunities for professional growth, interaction and networking with campus fraternity/sorority advisors, senior-level administrators and inter/national fraternity and sorority executives and volunteers on a local and regional level. Current members can now benefit from promoting AFA to others who have an interest in the fraternal movement.
To learn more,visit AFA’s website.
Advising is a rewarding commitment, and we encourage you to stay up-to-date with current trends and issues facing student organizations, policy updates, and effective advising strategies. That said, we will regularly post current news and updates on the Advisor’s Blog to help you succeed in your advising role. You can also opt-in to the newsletter so the blog posts and other valuable resources can be delivered directly to your inbox!Visit the Advisor’s BlogOpt-in to the Newsletter
More Resources for Advisors
For those looking to enhance their advising skills, there are a number of additional resources available:
- The Department of Multicultural Services provides a variety of educational opportunities to assist you and your students in learning from one another through your similarities and differences.
- Student Counseling Service provides training sessions to help advisors, student leaders, and student groups understand how they can assist someone that may be at risk of suicide.
- To learn more about how you can support students that identify with the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender community, click here.