Every student organization will differ and may require a different approach by the advisor. The following information can serve as a beginning point.
- In the beginning of the advising relationship, agree on clear expectations about the role of the advisor and the role of the student organization. Discuss philosophies and reach a consensus.
- Read the constitution of the group, get to know the members, attend events, and generally make yourself seen so that they know who you are.
- Assist in the establishment of responsibilities for each officer and member.
- Develop a strong relationship with the president or chairperson and other officers. This is key because these students will be your main contact with the group.
- Discuss concerns with an officer’s performance in a one-on-one setting. Whenever someone does something extremely well, be sure to let others know.
- Maintain a sense of humor-it’s college, not rocket science. Unless, of course, you are the advisor to the Rocket Science Club.
- Be honest and open with all communication. The students need to feel that you are just in your dealings with them.
- Realize that you have the power of persuasion, but use this judiciously. The students sometimes need to learn how to fail.
- Help them to see alternatives and provide an outside perspective.
- Remember: praise in public, criticize in private.
- Find a balance between being the strict naysayer and the laissez-faire friend. The students must feel that you are supportive of them and yet that you will hold them accountable for their actions.
- Miss meetings
- Leave meetings early
- Be inattentive
- Take but never give back
- Only get to know the executive board
- Never have the time
- Try to be close friends with the group
- Make all the decisions for the organization
- Let the organization become your organization
- Forget names
- Fail to come through on promises
- Say you know, when you don’t
- Be afraid of the group failing
- Forget the amazing contribution that you make in students’ lives