Faculty/Staff Advisor Program

The Office of Student Involvement & Leadership invites you to consider being a faculty/staff advisor for the myriad student organizations on our campus.

Research on student organizations and their advisors has shown that faculty advisors were indispensable in ensuring that learning occurred within the group. Faculty involvement with students (including as organization advisors) was found to be a determining factor in college students’ satisfaction, persistence, and intellectual and personal development (Floerchinger, 1992).

The research is clear that the more we engage students with faculty – inside and outside the classroom – the higher our chance for student success, retention and satisfaction.  Involvement with student organizations is no exception.

In addition, research has shown that the faculty also have received benefits from their involvement with the group.  Dunkel and Schuh (1998) noted several common rewards that motivate student organization advisors including:

  1. Observing the development of college students during their matriculation;
  2. Recognition from the institution, organization, or students;
  3. Serving as a job reference for students; and
  4. Serving as a mentor for students.

As you consider becoming a student organization faculty advisor, note that there are various ways you may choose to get involved.  Faculty or staff members may

  • Have a special interest in a particular activity or organization and may contact the leaders of that organization and volunteer to serve as the advisor.
  • Be asked by students or administrators to advise the organization based upon their academic or professional expertise 
  • Be asked by students because they have served as a mentor or past professor to one of the officers.

All of these pathways have been successful in the past. There is no best reason to become a faculty advisor for a particular group. But it can be very rewarding.

Most faculty, if they have never served as a faculty advisor for an organization, do not know what to expect and can be apprehensive to agree when asked by a student officer.  This is normal.

The Office of Student Involvement & Leadership has created resources to support our faculty advisors, which include:

  • Faculty/Staff Advisor Relationship Statement:  A non-binding agreement that clarifies expectations for the role of the faculty with the group.
  • Faculty/Staff Advisor Professional Staff Support: A professional staff member, Elizabeth (Beth) Conrad, in the Office of Student Involvement & Leadership who is available to consult with advisors as needed.
  • Faculty/Staff Advisor In-Service: A session offered each semester for new or seasoned advisors.
  • Student Organization Handbook: A document outlining procedures for reserving space, hosting events, risk management, and more!
  • Faculty/Staff Advisor LISTSERV List: A method for Student Involvement & Leadership to distribute student group-related info to keep Advisors in the loop while also offering a forum for advice/support. To subscribe, contact Elizabeth (Beth) Conrad at econrad@albany.edu.
  • Faculty/Staff Advisor Recognition: In its second year, an event that recognizes the contributions to student organizations made by Faculty/Staff Advisors. View photos from the November 2013 or October 2012 events!
  • Faculty/Staff Advisor Handbook:New for fall 2013! Learn more about various policies regarding student organizations.
  • List of Groups Seeking Advisors

In summary, the expectation of a faculty advisor is that they will be an educator.  They will mentor and support the student officers, provide guidance as necessary, prodding if needed and be familiar with where to guide a student to get the answer they need.  It need not be time consuming but it will likely be rewarding.

I hope that you consider being a faculty advisor and if you have any further questions or feedback, I ask that you contact Elizabeth (Beth) Conrad, Associate Director of Student Involvement & Leadership, who will serve as the resource for faculty advisors.  You can find all of our student organizations at www.myinvolvement.org - take a look at all of these groups and consider supporting our campus community as a faculty advisor.

Sincerely,

Michael Jaromin, Director of Student Involvement & Leadership and Campus Recreation

Sources:

Floerchinger, D. (1992). Enhancing the role of student organization advisors in building a positive campus community. Campus Activities Programming, 26(6), 39–46.

Dunkel, N. W., & Schuh, J. H. (1998). Advising student groups and organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.