Thank you for your interest in student organizations at UWRF! Over 100 student organizations make UWRF a place where students can find a sense of community and advisers are a critical piece of the success of our student organizations. Explore below to find resources to assist in advising your student organization. Have additional questions, email us at email@example.com.
In order to be an adviser, you must be employed at UWRF. All faculty and staff are eligible to advise a student organization. Full-time versus part-time employment status does not affect you ability to serve in this role.
An adviser's time commitment can vary. Faculty and staff interested in being an adviser should have a conversation with the leadership of the student organization they are interested in advising to discuss their expectations versus those of the student organization. Once a consensus is met around time expectations you can make a decision on whether to advise the student organization.
In most cases, advisers are not expected to regularly attend events and are never expected to be at every event. That being said, your attendance at large events such as Involvement Fairs and the Leadership Gala is appreciated.
The responsibilities of an adviser can vary from one student organization to another and should be discussed with the leadership within the student organization you are interested in or are currently advising. Most advisers are expected to attend large events, help with budgeting and be available to answer questions from the Office of Student Involvement or organizational leadership.
UWRF does not pay student organization advisers.
Remember that you are advising a student-run organization. Encourage your students to accomplish the goals that they have set out to do but do not accomplish them for them. Allowing them to struggle and discover how to effectively run a student organization will help them out in the long run.
Yes, all advisers should be an administrator on MyOrgs. If you do not have administrative privileges, please contact the Office of Student Involvement.
If you have more questions about being an adviser or the associated responsibilities, contact us firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff would be happy to schedule a meeting with you to discuss the benefits and opportunities of being an adviser and answer any questions you may have.
Benefits of Being an Adviser
Advising a student organization gives you an opportunity to interact with students outside of the classroom setting about something you are both mutually interested in. An adviser-advisee relationship is one that impacts students' lives and allows you to create meaningful relationships with students and can lead to friendships and lifelong mentoring.
Advising will give you the opportunity to make a difference in the community, keep current on campus events and make UWRF a home away from home for students. Advisers have a unique role, walking a line between leading an organization themselves and giving students the tools to lead the organization. Seeing students develop new skills and grow as individuals and as a group is another benefit of advising.
The ABCs of Advising
The ABCs of Advising can help you further understand your role as an adviser. This tool helps you develop an understanding of your role prior to discussing expectations with the leaders of the student organization you are interested in advising.
Dos and Don'ts
Being an adviser can be an extremely rewarding experience, but when your student organization is struggling it can be challenging. Below are some dos and don'ts to remember while filling your role as a student organization adviser.
- Serve as a resource
- Interpret and clarify university policies
- Suggest program ideas
- Serve as a role model
- Provide history for the organization
- Allow the group to succeed
- Allow the group to fail
- Teach leadership skills
- Keep your sense of humor
- Enjoy being part of the student organization
- Get to know members individually
- Discuss concerns with officers privately and praise them publicly
- Help students find a balance between activities and academics
- Encourage feedback and evaluations
- Be visible
- Help resolve conflict
- Meet with officers and help them establish goals
- Micromanage the organization
- Run organization meetings
- Use veto power over organization decisions
- Be the sole recruiter for new members
- Say "I told you so"
- Break promises
- Be the leader of the student organization
- Be unavailable
- Be afraid to let the organization fail
- Impose your own bias
- Close communication
- Assume the organization handles everything okay and doesn't need you
The Role of an Adviser
Each adviser fills a different role within their student organization. Some advisers play a very active role by attending meetings, working with student officers and assisting in program planning and development. Others maintain a more distant relationship with the student organization. No matter your style, keeping some regular contact with your student organization is critical. While advisers accept the responsibility of staying informed about the activities of the organization, they are not responsible for the actions or policies of the student organization. Students are solely responsible for the actions and activities of any student organization. It is always important to understand the adviser role within each student organization.
Below are some of the roles advisers can fill. Please note that some of the content of this section has been adapted from the 2015 University of Central Missouri Advisor Manual.
Many students will come to see their adviser as a mentor and the success of these relationships can last many years and be rewarding for both the student and adviser. If the student is seeking an education and career in your field, you may be asked to assist in their professional development. To be effective in this role, you'll need knowledge of their academic program and profession, a genuine interest in the personal and professional development of new professionals and a willingness to connect students to a network of professionals.
Team building is important because it enhances the relationships of the students. Positive relationships help the organization succeed as well as work through conflicts and difficult times.
Inevitably, students are going to join a student organization with different agendas, goals and ideas about how things should function. When working with students who have come into conflict, if needed, meet with them and have them discuss their issues with each other. In many cases, remind them that they both want what is best for the organization. Ask them how they think they can work together, point out the organization's mission and ask how their conduct is helping the organization thrive.
Sometimes, one student may be causing problems with other students. In many cases, this student may not realize that their actions are causing a problem. Speaking with the student individually could be helpful. Chances are that no one has met with the student previously and discussed how their attitudes and actions are impacting other people and how they can be changed to make everyone feel better. In many cases, the student will appreciate honest feedback.
Your role as an educator will often come through modeling behavior geared toward success, guiding the students in reflection of their actions and being there to answer questions. One of the most difficult actions to take as an advisor is to do nothing but sometimes this can be the most important action of all. Allow the students to make their own decisions, even if they do not align with your ideas. Sometimes, students will succeed. Other times, they may fail. The key is to be a reflective agent and give students a safe place to reflect and learn from their experiences.
As an adviser, you may have to motivate students to excel, carry out their plans and achieve their goals. Some students are easily discouraged and at the first sign of difficulty they may want to quit. You'll need to be their "cheerleader" to keep them excited about all of the potential successes they will experience. You can motivate students through the recognition of their efforts, appealing to their desire to create change and connecting their experiences here at UWRF to the experiences they will have upon graduation.
Student organizations operate under policies, procedures and rules. At times, students may not be aware of these policies and will unintentionally violate them. The more you know about these policies, the better advice you can give to students on their plans.
Student Organizations have an opportunity to participate in a Student Involvement Instagram takeover. The organization is able to utilize the student involvement Instagram page (@uwrfgetinvolved) and post about a story about their organization and what it entails. The student organization’s story will be saved to a memory titled "Org Takeovers." They'll work closely with a social media intern within the Office of Student Involvement during this time. If you have any questions please email email@example.com.
Group Development Resources
As an adviser you are often asked to serve as a resource as groups form and develop. The models and inventories below can be used as personal references or can be given to your student organization as a way to enhance self awareness and group development.
All organizations are faced with the challenge of bringing together a team of diverse individuals. Tuckman's Model can be used to help develop a productive and high-functioning team. The model explains the various stages teams face as they become a high-functioning team. All teams will make their way through each of the four stages: forming, storming, norming and performing, although some stages may be more pronounced for some teams than others.
All organizations will face conflict at some point during the group development process. The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument helps members understand their own and other member's conflict styles. This self awareness and understanding can prove beneficial when conflict arises within your student organization.
While most student organizations are high-functioning and operated fully by students, the Yardsticks for Organizational Success provides a tool to measure such successes. This tool will allow you to passively measure success and intervene when potential problems arise before they grow and interfere the progress of your student organization.
Each student organization has different needs and expectations of their adviser. When transitioning officers within your student organization, it is critical that the new leadership team and you as their adviser have reached consensus regarding needs and expectations. Use the following checklists as a way to begin a discussion with student organization leaders about the responsibilities and expectations of each party.
This checklist can help you as an adviser further process what type of role you would like to fill within your student organization. Filling out the checklist prior to discussing roles and responsibilities with new leadership within your student organization can lead to a richer discussion.
This worksheet is to intended to assist in identifying expectations of Advisors and student leaders. The worksheet should be filled out by the Advisor and each officer within a student organization. Once all parties have filled out the worksheet they should meet to share and compare answers and discuss differences.
Most successful student organizations implement some form of officer transition program. The Officer Transition Checklist should be used in additional to overlapping officer terms by at least one month so that new officers have the opportunity to work closely with outgoing officers. Any questions regarding officer transitions can be directed to the Office of Student Involvement.