Student Organization Advisers

Student organizations are encouraged to have an adviser who is an employee of the University and preferably one who holds a personal interest or professional expertise that relates to the organization he or she is advising.  This requirement serves to promote student/staff/faculty interactions and allows faculty and staff to stay connected to students’ extracurricular lives. The organization should consult regularly with the adviser regarding its activities.

Simply having your adviser(s) sign the annual agreement saying that he or she will serve as your adviser is not harnessing the contributions that he or she might offer your organization. It is important for student organizations to select advisers who will help the organization meet its goals and provide guidance along the way. Each year, student organizations should determine what role they might want their advisers to assume for the upcoming period and to have a conversation with their advisers about these expectations. Similarly, each adviser may have their own expectations for the organization or for the role they are willing to play. It is a two-way street and both advisers and student organizations should ensure that they are well matched for one another and if not, to find a more appropriate fit. Your organization may select new advisers at any time. Please notify the Student Activities Coordinator of such changes.

The following are questions that your organization may want to consider for selecting a faculty adviser and that they may want to consider before serving as an adviser:

  1. How much involvement is expected or needed?

  2. How often does the organization meet and do you expect your adviser to be present for these meetings?

  3. How many major activities does your organization execute each year?

  4. How experienced are the officers of the organization?

  5. What are some ways that your organization could use the advice of an adviser? Is there someone at the University who has particular interest or experience in this area?

  6. What skills would your proposed adviser bring the organization? How do these skills match those of your organization?

  7. Are there areas in which you need specific assistance from your adviser and/or are there areas that are hands-off for your adviser?

  8. If you want your adviser to let you know when they believe you are making a mistake as an organization, how do you want them to express this concern?

Expectations Advisers Should Have of Student Leaders

Student organizations should be sensitive and limit expectations placed on advisers; however, at the same time, it is perfectly acceptable (and encouraged) that you involve your adviser in your activities. An adviser may be a hands-on director or simply an overseer, but the best balance lies somewhere between. Here are some possible expectations your advisers might have about working with your organization:

  1. Give notices of meetings – You should always give notice of meetings to your advisers and try to include and invite their participation on a mutually agreed upon level of involvement.

  2. Develop relationship with officers – This will help communication flow easily and establish a base from which to work together.

  3. Send invitations to events – Events are a great way to keep advisers informed. Try to give enough advance notice to allow advisers to plan to attend.

  4. Consult on problems – advisers should be notified of problems. Their experience and knowledge could be invaluable in helping you to solve the issues productively and quickly.

  5. Provide copies of minutes – advisers should regularly receive any document produced by your organization (e.g. minutes, agendas, etc.)

Expectations Student Organization Leadership Should Have of Advisers

Advisers should be familiar with the Student Organization Handbook and Engage to track organizational activities. In general, advisers are expected to:

  1. Re-confirm their advisory capacity annually, during student organization re-registration at the start of each fall semester, using Engage

  2. Provide support to student leaders on University policy and procedures

  3. Review the organization's funding proposals, allocation and account balances prior to approving any requests for resources/payments

  4. Monitor spending throughout the year

  5. Report concerns about hazing, harassment, discrimination, sexual misconduct or any other University violation or concerning behavior. Reports can be made at: http://www.sewanee.edu/student-life/dean-of-students-office/report-an-incident/