Advisor Responsibilities

What is an advisor? 

An RSO Advisor is a faculty or staff member who is requested or assigned to provide support and guidance to officers and members of a student organization. The advisor not only serves as a representative of the group in an official capacity, but also as an advocate for the group. The advisor role models leadership behavior, influences the group, stimulates members, and brings new ideas.

The faculty/staff advisor assists with the group’s programming content, organization, and foundation. This advisor can be any full-time UCA faculty or staff.

Why serve as an advisor? 

Advising a student organization can be a very rewarding experience for faculty and staff. Working with students outside structured classroom experiences or staff roles allows faculty and staff an opportunity to share information and resources and to teach hands-on skills such as leadership styles, organizational ethics, and program planning.

Time Commitment 

The amount of time required to serve as a student organization advisor varies based on the needs of the group. Minimally, an advisor should expect to spend two to three hours per month on student organization issues during the academic year. A very active advisor for a large student organization could expect to spend as many as two to four hours per week engaged in related activities. These activities can include:

  • Attending meetings and various events sponsored by the RSO
  • Meeting with the RSO president/leader to discuss event programming, organizational development, and reflection
  • Reviewing necessary forms and events on CubConnect
  • Staying connected with Student Life by attending one RSO Training per year

Advising Functions 

Faculty and staff advisors assist organizations with five broad areas:

  1. Recognition: Complete the requirement that all RSO’s must have an advisor
  2. Maintenance: Serve to maintain the existence of the student organization and to help provide continuity with the history, activity, and tradition of past years.
  3. Growth: Provide advice about activities that improve the operation and effectiveness of the group and help it progress towards its goals
  4. Education: Stimulate group members’ learning and skills development, contributing to their intellectual development and the enrichment of campus life
  5. Networking: Help group members develop new contacts for programming and mentoring

As you reflect upon your roles and functions as an advisor, remember that it’s the students’ organization! You are an advisor, not a member. You should be teaching and guiding, not performing the group’s tasks. Be willing to admit your mistakes to the leaders and the groups – authenticity is key. Though it may be tempting to intervene every time students are veering from their goals and tasks, allowing them to make and learn from mistakes can help to prevent similar situations in the future. Trust your instincts, knowledge, and experiences!