It is very important that the advisor and the organization communicate their expectations to each other. The advisor should be very clear about the things he/she will do, and the things he/she will not do. Of course, the expectations will vary according to the needs of the organization and the advisor. It is recommended that when you first become an advisor you have a meeting with the officers of the organization to discuss expectations and goals for both parties. It is also helpful to have these meetings once a year or when there is turnover in the officer positions. Use the following list of expectations to facilitate this meeting.
Checklist of Expectations
You are not expected to do all of these things nor are you expected to carry the weight of the organization on your back. So be very clear and upfront with the officers about what you are able and willing to do. The membership of most organizations changes each semester and year, and that is typical. Let the organization thrive or decline on its merits; do not interfere unless requested to do so by the members. With that said, the focus on some of your duties will change each semester and you need to expect those changes.
Directions: This checklist is designed to help advisors and student officers arrive at a clear and mutually agreed upon role for the advisor. The advisor and each executive officer should respond to the following items and meet to compare answers and “iron out” any differences. For items, which are determined not to be the advisor’s responsibility, it would be valuable to clarify which officer will assume that responsibility.
For each of the following statements, respond on a scale of 1-4 how important this function is:
1-Essential for the advisor to do
2-Nice, but not essential
3-Not an advisor’s role
4-Does not apply to our organization
____ Attend general meetings and executive committee meetings.
____ Remind officers/members of deadlines and calendar events.
____ Be available to meet with the President/Chair before each meeting.
____ Speak up during discussion if you have relevant information, but otherwise let the students run meetings.
____ Behave as an active member of the organization–showing interest in activities, dedication to organization, volunteer for appropriate tasks, etc. (except for voting and holding office).
____ Provide alternative thoughts or contributions to help students see both sides of an issue.
____ Attend organization activities, on and off campus. Be cautious of the social events that you attend, especially if you are a younger advisor. You do not want to put yourself in an awkward situation where underage drinking might be happening.
____ Request to see the treasurer’s books at the end of each semester, and assist when needed with financial matters (including but not limited to taxes, which Student Involvement can assist with).
____ Check major correspondence before it is sent.
____ Provide continuity by acting as a custodian of organization paraphernalia, records, etc., during the summer and during officer transitions.
____ Keep the official files and copies of official correspondence in your office, if needed.
____ Inform the organization of infractions of its bylaws, codes, and standing rules.
____ Keep the organization aware of its stated objectives when planning events.
____ Mediate interpersonal conflicts that arise, or refer students to Student Involvement, Room 355 Union, 414-229-5780.
____ Inform the organization of leadership opportunities in which members can participate.
____ State advisor responsibilities to the organization at the beginning of each year. Let the group work out problems, including making mistakes and “doing it the hard way.”
____ Encourage an evaluation of each activity by those students responsible for planning it and all organizational members.
____ Encourage teamwork and cooperation among the officers of the organization.
____ Be familiar with University facilities, services, and procedures that affect organization activities.
____ Positively represent and recognize the organization in your university capacity, if applicable.
____ Recommend programs, speakers, etc.
[Adapted from: Dunkel, N. W. & Schuh, J.H. (1998). Advising Student Groups and Organizations. San Francisco: Josse y-Bass Publishers.]