Student Organization Advisor Frequently Asked Questions
Although our 220+ student organizations cover a wide spectrum of focus areas, we have found that the challenges met by the advisors of these organizations tend to have many things in common - motivating members, balancing responsibilities between the advisor and the students, navigating learning outcomes, and so on. So, as a way of simplifying the art of finding answers to these often difficult questions, we have posted them below in an FAQ format to help ease the process. After reading through these Q&A's, if you should have any additional questions, please contact the Campus Activities & Involvement Center directly at 910-962-3553, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit us in the Fisher Student Center Room 2029.
Q: Are student organizations required to have advisors?
A: No. UNCW does not require student organizations to have advisors in order to be active and registered on this campus. We have a couple reasons for this. For one, since UNCW values the freedom to affiliate so greatly, we don't want to prevent a group of interested students from starting a student organization simply because they cannot find an advisor who is interested and able to work with them. Second, we have found that other colleges and universities struggle with their requirement of having advisors because it often leads to having an advisor "in name only", meaning that all they do is sign paperwork when needed. We want to make sure that an advising relationship is established out of a mutual desire between the student members and the potential advisor - not out of necessity. One note that is certainly undeniable, however, is that having an active and engaged advisor with good intentions can be absolutely invaluable to our student organizations so CAIC will always be encouraging organizations to find someone who will work well in this capacity.
Q: What is an organization advisor responsible for?
A: Again, since UNCW does not require advisors, the university does not have any set requirements for student organization advisors in terms of what role they should serve in. Ultimately, responsibilities are to be determined through open conversations between the student members (or officers) and the potential advisor.
The role of an organization advisor is not concrete – it is a relationship that needs constant attention, consistent assessment and certainly a level of flexibility for all individuals involved.
Some organizations may have very specific needs from an advisor such as specific expertise in a given knowledge area (i.e. academic organizations), oversight on risk management (i.e. sport clubs), or guidance with individual and organizational leadership development. On the other hand, you will most likely find that each organization is very different in what they are looking for in an advisor - attending organization meetings, meeting with officers, helping with event planning or budget development - the list goes on.
CAIC suggest using the Finding Common Grounds tool as a resource in starting this conversation about role responsibilities and expectations.