Advising student organizations

Role of a faculty advisor
Student organizations exist to provide leadership and engagement opportunities for students, but a requirement for their existence is a faculty advisor or sponsor.  While all decisions are made by students, they are guided by and supported with the experience of the faculty advisor.

Policies and procedures
Even the simplest of activities on a campus requires knowledge of policies and procedures, from reserving a meeting space, to requesting funds, or setting up a speaker or snacks.  The faculty advisor serves as a liaison between the student organizations and the campus to help the group follow all expected procedures as events are planned and implemented.  These policies and procedures are unique to each campus, and therefore the faculty advisor is invaluable as a resource to the student groups.  The more smoothly the group interfaces with the campus, the more support they will likely receive for their activities.

Sample contract
Becoming a faculty advisor to a student organization is a formal process that involves filling out a contract of sorts, and signatures to acknowledge the rights and responsibilities of the group and the role of faculty advisor.  Before agreeing to serve in the capacity of a faculty advisor, it will be prudent to review the contract used at your campus.  Knowing ahead of time what level of commitment is required will help you make an informed decision aboard whether to serve in this capacity.

Student organization resources
Many professional organizations have student chapters at campuses. There are numerous societies, alliances, clubs, councils, academic and social sororities and fraternities, special interest groups, faith groups, recreation groups, advocacy groups, arts groups, community groups, charitable organizations, academic discipline societies, and others that may have campus affiliates.  Each campus offers support for these student organizations in a variety of ways.  As a faculty advisor, take the time to learn what resources are available to student organizations at your campus.  Carefully consider which organizations match your interests and passions before committing to this important service role.

Faculty Advisor Role / Purpose

Role of the Faculty Advisor
AIGA student groups, professional association for design
This site lists faculty advisor duties and activities, suggestions for maintaining a dynamic student board, tracking student members, and taking action as liaison to local boards.

FSILG Faculty Advisor Program
Student Life Services, MIT
This site outlines the purpose of the faculty advisor program at MIT which fosters interactions among Fraternity, Sororities, and Independent Living Groups (FSILG) and faculty members. 

About Faculty Advisors
Center for Student Activities and Involvement, University of Florida
This site outlines the rationale for having a faculty advisor, and who is eligible to be one.

Advisor Manuals / Guides

Student Chapter Faculty Advisor Manual
Institute of Transportation Engineers (October, 2009)
This manual offers an example of issues faculty advisors need to address such as roles and responsibilities, forming a new chapter, chapter promotion, fundraising, and chapter activities.

Faculty Advisor Guide
American Association of Interior Designers
This guide outlines the do’s and don’ts of being a faculty advisor.

Creating a New Student Organization
Harvard Law School
Students with ideas for a new organization are directed to the steps for doing so on this site. 

Student Organization Resources

Student Organization Resource Center
Student Life Programs, California State University Fullerton
This comprehensive site offers workshops, a directory of student organizations, forms and flyers, and information on procedures for reserving rooms, fundraising, and other club activities.

Connect with Student Organizations
Campus Life and Leadership, Student Organization Homepage, UC Berkeley
This comprehensive site offers quick links for locating student organizations, event planning resources, announcements of upcoming events, center for student leadership, and many other resources.

Sample Contract

Faculty Advisors of Student Groups
American River College, Los Rios Community College District
This sample contract outlines responsibilities of faculty advisors, with places for signatures and agreements to be turned in to the campus.

Example Student Organizations

Example Student Organizations
College of Media, University of Illinois
This site lists a number of student organizations within the college, including student chapters of professional organizations, student ambassadors, and a student advisory council.

Subject Listing of Student Organizations
Office of the Dean of Students, Vanderbilt University
This extensive listing includes groups affiliated with academic majors, administration, arts, cultural / international, honoraries, fraternities, media, sororities, and an “other” category.  It is a way to imagine a full complement of possible organizations.

Student Organizations
Student Activities, Baylor University
This site offers quick links to an events calendar, policies and procedures, risk management training, how to start a new organization, and announcements.

Example Leadership Website

HEART Student Leadership Team & Faculty Advisors
American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
This example site offers bios and photos of student leaders and the faculty advisor of the AMSA, and ideas about ways to set up such sites.

top of page