Advisor Verification Form - Please complete and submit after reading tutorial.
An Advisor Defined
An advisor is expected to advise the club or organization’s members and officers in relevant College policies and procedures, including those outlined in the Clubs and Organizations Manual, as well as any state laws that may affect the group. Providing ideas and insights, multiple perspectives, and information for students to make informed decisions are all parts of an advisor’s role as well. The Office of Student Activities and the College Life staff are available to work with and assist advisors in clarifying and carrying out their responsibilities with clubs and organizations throughout the year.
Who is an Advisor?
- Establishes rapport with the club or organization’s members and leaders - communication
- Assists with developing and achieving goals
- Makes sure the club or organization is informed and understands Gettysburg College’s policies and procedures governing student activities
- Reports any violations of policies to the Office of Student Activities
- Assists with identifying and developing new leaders
- Facilitates learning to assist students in their academic, personal, and professional development
- Provides a sense of community
- Mediates inter-group conflict when necessary
- Encourages students to take responsibility for their actions
- Does NOT make all the decisions for a club or organization, but does provide balance so students can make informed decisions
- Shares insights and ideas, as well as feedback when needed
- Assists with financial affairs and events of the club or organization when appropriate
- All registered clubs and organizations at Gettysburg College must have an advisor. This person must be considered full-time faculty (not on sabbatical), staff, or administration at the College.
- All advisors must complete the Advisor Tutorial at the beginning of the academic year. *If you are an advisor to multiple organizations, you need only to complete the Advisor Tutorial once – do not complete this for each club or organization you advise.
- The advisor must attend and remain throughout ALL events requiring the Department of Public Safety.
Expectations of an Advisor
- Get to know the group members and officers
- Help the group to develop, understand, and achieve goals and objectives in-line with the aims and objectives of Gettysburg College
- Assist in identifying and developing new leaders in the club or organization
Advising is a process in which an advisor is available to guide and assist the officers or members in the mission and goals of the group. The level of guidance or assistance a group needs can depend on the time of year or the developmental level of the officers leading the club or organization. Some clubs or organizations may be more or less autonomous, and meeting the group’s needs will be important in being an effective advisor. In evaluating your time commitments, negotiate with the group the amount of time they need from you before agreeing to be their advisor.
Attendance at every meeting may not be necessary, but it is the best way to get to know the members and stay informed of the activities of the group. If you are not able to attend a meeting, effort should be made to determine what occurred. Remember, you are not there to run the meetings, but you can offer objective points of view or alternative solutions to problems. Advising is much more about showing support and encouragement to the club or organization than it is about supervising.
The Advisor’s Roles
There are many approaches to advising and to be an effective advisor means developing an approach that is most comfortable for you and the students with whom you will be working. It is important to keep in mind the purpose of the club or organization, the activities they are involved in, and Gettysburg College’s mission. Throughout your time as an advisor, you will take on different roles depending on the situation. Some of those roles could include:
The students you are working with may or may not be in the same field as you, but may look to you for professional guidance. The student may be seeking an education or career in your field of work. To help the students, you will need a knowledge of the profession, genuine interest in the development of new professionals, the ability to relate to students and connect them with a network of professionals, and to convey the importance of not taking on too much too soon in a new career.
At times, students will seek you out for their personal development. In such a situation, a mentor should have a basic understanding of student needs and perspectives, the ability to challenge the students while providing support, and possess the ability to listen to students. As the relationship grows between advisor and student, you may encounter conversations revolving around relationship issues, conflicts with other students, or conversations about their own ideas or thoughts on different subjects.
Team building enhances the relationships of the students between one another and the advisor. Positive relationships help the club or organization succeed and work through difficult times, such as conflicts. In team building, you can work with the student leaders to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, work styles, goals, and any circumstances that may affect their work. A meeting to discuss this with the student leaders will help to create an environment of open communication and understanding. As the advisor, you may want to consider planning a retreat or workshop, where student leaders can assist in the planning. The Office of Student Activities and College Life staff can assist you with planning a retreat or designing a workshop for your club or organization.
One of the greatest influences on a student’s success is feeling as though they belong, or having a sense of community, on a college campus. It is important that students are satisfied both in and out of the classroom. Development of community can take place in the classroom, in the residence hall, or in a student club or organization. While faculty and residence hall staff establish community in the classroom and residence hall, student leaders are responsible for building community in their club or organization. Providing an inviting atmosphere where all members are involved in some fashion and feel as though they matter to the group will help in developing a strong sense of community.
As an advisor, the role of teacher may involve providing information on how to run a meeting or planning an event. You may even be invited to speak about topics related to the club or organization’s purpose. At times you will be looked upon as a role model for behavior and an answer to their questions or concerns. As you form a relationship with the club or organization’s members and leaders, you will find that one of the hardest things to do is nothing at all. Realizing that sometimes students succeed and sometimes they fail is important. Failure can be one of the most important ways of learning and, as an advisor, it is important that you are understanding and able to provide an environment where the students can reflect on their experiences.
As an advisor, one of your roles may involve motivating students to take on responsibilities and achieve their goals. At times students can become very discouraged and want to quit. As the motivator, you will need to keep them excited through expressing your enthusiasm and their potential for success. Many times individuals have different motivators that drive them to participate or complete tasks. Some ways to motivate your students include: t-shirts, Member of the ___, recognition of their efforts, plaques or trophies, dinners, or notes for a person’s achievement. Discussing what motivates the individuals you are working with will help you to help them develop and sustain their motivation.
Members are likely to develop their commitment to the organization when…
- They are clear about the mission, values, and goals and can see them in action
- They feel appreciated
- They have influence over developing their roles within the organization