Advisor Role

Advisor Role

Guidelines for Effective Advising

  1. General Functions

    1. Assist the group in negotiating all group members’ roles.

    2. A group advisor must express sincere enthusiasm and interest in the group and its activities. Advisors must be open to criticisms by the group. Work with them to reevaluate your role. Be willing to be wrong.

    3. At times it is wise to allow the group to be on its own. You can demonstrate your trust in them by stepping back for a short time; however, do not pull back too far because they may feel you have lost interest. If you never step back, they may feel you are a “parent.”

    4. Act as a positive critic to the group. Give them feedback on how they are doing.

    5. Serve as a resource for alternative ideas or solutions.

    6. Be aware of any and all procedures and regulations affecting the group. Assist them in adhering to them.

    7. Encourage the group to keep records and evaluations in files.

    8. Try to encourage the assignment of tasks to all members. If a member merely comes to meetings and listens, he/she will readily lose interest.

    9. Use the tools you have to assist the group - discussion methods, goal setting, role negotiating, small sub-groups, group representatives, role playing, etc.

  2. Group Building

    1. It is important for group members to know each other well enough to be able to share thoughts freely and join in the group.

    2. Get to know members and help them identify the contributions they can make to the group.

    3. Work with group leaders to develop and implement procedures for building group feeling and purpose.

  3. Group Goal Setting

    1. Early in the year raise questions about the group goals. What is their purpose?

    2. What do they want to accomplish? Try the consensus method for group goal formation.

    3. Keep a record of goals and encourage the group to periodically evaluate its progress in relation to those goals.


  1. Group Meetings

    1. Meet with the officers at least one day prior to the meeting to develop an agenda.

    2. This allows time to gather any materials and information needed. In planning an agenda for a meeting, help the officer consider what has to be done and what should be done in light of their goals.

    3. Discuss ideas with the officers on possible methods of running the meeting.

    4. Following the meeting, discuss with the officers any problems encountered during the meeting and offer suggestions for improvement.

    5. In a supportive manner, try to hold the officers accountable for follow-up on any assignments made at the meeting.


  1. Suggestions for Advisors

  • Determine whether or not the organization is achieving the goals set forth by the executive board at the beginning of each semester.

  • Represent the group to the administration and help create a better understanding of the system and its operations.

  • Attend as many meetings as possible.

  • Advise and evaluate the officers on the performance of their duties.

  • Help the group institute and maintain a well organized recruitment plan

  • Help new members feel welcome—encourage the group to integrate new people by providing orientation and training programs.

  • Advise the organization’s financial and legal matters.

  • Provide continuity for the group. Guide the action of the organization to prevent harmful decisions or acts.

  • Be aware of university standards and regulations as they apply to the organization.

  • Work closely with the people in the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership.

  • Professional advisors can help, especially if you keep them informed about your organization’s activities, plans and problems.

  • Know as many students as you possibly can and know them well.

  • Treat each student with the dignity and respect that you want for yourself.

  • Deal with the important and relevant aspects of your position. Avoid getting burned out in dealing with petty differences.

  • Be honest with yourself and others. It does no good to tell students what you think they want to hear.

  • Never underestimate the power of your influence on a student. Your conduct and conversations are what you are—a model for others.