The advisor can serve as a resource to introduce new program ideas with greater intellectual content, help the members apply principles and skills learned in the classroom, point out new perspectives and directions to the group, assist group members to develop insight into their problems, point out additional resources within and outside the university community, coach individuals in their duties as leaders or officers, assist in identifying and developing new leadership and insist on high standards of programming and individual performance worthy of a major university.
Throughout the advisory relationship with the organization, the advisor should be alert to the opportunities to create or capitalize upon experiences and situations that will tend to maximize the learning potential of the activity. To teach effectively, the advisor will not wait to be called upon, but will make a contribution when he or she feels it is called for by the circumstances.
In consultation on programs, the advisor should expect to consult regularly with the officers concerning their plans for group activities or programs. The advisor should know what projects or events are being planned and should freely offer ideas and suggestions.
Providing continuity is a very important responsibility. The turnover of officers and members in a student organization is continual and often the only link with the immediate past is through the advisor. The advisor can orient new officers and members to this history and help them to build on it. Continuity also implies a link with the future and the advisor can play an important role in helping to develop long-term plans for the future of the organization and communicating these plans to succeeding generations of members.
Counseling individuals is necessary because the advisor knows the members of the group as they interact in an informal setting. The advisor has a unique opportunity to identify the student who is having problems in his or her personal life that seem to be affecting his or her work or effectiveness in the group. The advisor should find some opportunity to speak with the student privately to see if a problem really exists and what might be done about it. Effective referrals to appropriate campus services are encouraged.
As a representative of the university administration to the organization, the advisor is constantly in the position of interpreting the institution's policies and regulations pertaining to student organizations. The advisor should, therefore, see that the group and its officers know what the policies are, why they exist, and the channels to be followed to obtain exceptions to or revisions of these policies. Any questions concerning interpretation of policies should be directed to the Campus Activities and Student Organizations Office.
Although the major responsibility is not regulatory or disciplinary, the advisor, as a member of the university community, has a responsibility to both the institution and the organization to keep their best interests in mind. In a well run organization, this supervisory role may be minimal or non-existent, but the advisor may need to remind the group of appropriate university regulations or, on occasion, actually step in to prevent the organization from violating public or institutional policies. Whenever possible, the advisor should work with and through the responsible officers of the organization to maintain standards and confront individual misbehavior.
Occasionally an emergency situation will occur within the group or involve an individual member and the advisor will be called upon by the university administration or by members of the group to lend assistance. If the emergency can be anticipated by the nature of the activity, the advisor will want to have in mind the steps to take in each type of situation.
While each organization should elect its own treasurer or financial officer, the advisor will probably need to spend some time in supervising the financial records and the treasurer's work. The advisor may find it necessary to teach the treasurer the elements of simple bookkeeping or the intricacies of the organization's record system. The advisor should be aware of the nature, extent and pattern of the group's expenditures and income, the accounts receivable, and the current balance of club accounts. The advisor should expect the club to make prompt payment on all bills.
Ordinarily the advisor need not attend all group social functions if they are held frequently, but it would be well to attend as many as convenient. For activities involving a late night social venue held on campus, the advisor should be present or should make arrangements for appropriate supervision of the activity. By participating, the advisor can help to set the social tone of the occasion, be available to prevent or deal with problems, and demonstrate a continuing interest in the organization's activities. Some time, because of the nature of the event or the history of the event, the University will require closer supervision than for routine activities or programs.
The advisor should attend regular and special meetings of the organization whenever possible in order to be informed and be available for consultation or to introduce ideas and suggestions. Transitional leadership training for executive officers can be a valuable component of the advisor's role at special meetings, retreats or training workshops.
Texas State requires that all executive officers (typically president, vice president, parliamentarian, secretary and treasurer) maintain a 2.25 Texas State GPA. The Campus Activities and Student Organizations Office suggests that all officers and committee chairpersons be in good standing with the University in order to continue their participation in a leadership position. The advisor should have a general idea of the scholastic achievement of the members of his or her group and should know the specific standing of those members who carry time-consuming responsibilities.