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Advisor Roles and Responsibilities

The role of an advisor varies, but it is always an important one. The scope and frequency of an organization’s activities, the effectiveness of its officers, the time commitments of the advisor, and several other factors determine the level of involvement the advisor will have with the organization. An advisor should be committed to the group’s success and may need to sometimes go above and beyond the call of duty. An advisor should never be resigned to only serve as a signatory on forms.

Behind every successful student organization is a faculty/staff advisor with an engaged and guiding hand.  This section is devoted to providing you, the advisor, a resource to build both your advising experience and give you the tools to help support your student organization. Considering their expertise and experience, advisors can often supply significant insights to group matters such as goal setting, programming, conflict resolution, and group growth/development. It is often the advisor who can aid in maintaining an organization by providing continuity and by serving as an information source. In short, a good advisor can help nurture an organization’s success.

Below is a list of some of the typical advisor duties: (negotiable)

  • Attend all general meetings.
  • Attend all executive committee meetings.
  • Call meetings of the executive committee when believed to be necessary.
  • Explain University policies and procedures when relevant to the discussion.
  • Explain University policies and procedures to the entire group once a year.
  • Depend on the officers to observe University policies and procedures throughout their terms.
  • Meet with the president before each meeting.
  • Help the president prepare an agenda before each meeting.
  • Speak up during discussion when the group may make a poor decision.
  • Be quiet during the general meetings unless called upon.
  • Take an active part in formulating the goals of the group while making sure they are institutionally aligned. 
  • Initiate ideas for discussion when it is believed they will be helpful to the group.
  • Be one of the group; except for voting and holding office.
  • Attend all group activities, meetings, events, etc.
  • Request to see the treasurer’s books at the end of each semester.
  • Check the secretary’s minutes before they are written in final form.
  • Check all official correspondence before it is sent.
  • Get a copy of all official correspondence.
  • Be a custodian of all group materials, records, supplies, etc. during the summer and between officer transitions.
  • Keep the official files of the organization.
  • Inform the group of infractions of their bylaws, codes, and other standing rules.
  • Make the group aware of its stated objectives and learning outcomes when planning events.
  • Veto a decision when it violates a stated objective, bylaw, or University policy.
  • Mediate interpersonal conflicts that may arise.
  • Be responsible for planning or suggesting leadership skills workshops.
  • Let the group work out its problems; allow for mistakes and “doing it the hard way.”
  • Insist on an evaluation of each activity by those students responsible for planning it.
  • Take the initiative in developing teamwork and cooperation among the officers.
  • Let the group thrive or decline on its own; do not interfere unless requested.
  • Represent the group in any conflicts with members of the University staff.
  • Be familiar with University resources and procedures that affect group activities.
  • Address procedural “mistakes” during meetings if they occur.
  • Take an active part in the orderly transition of responsibilities between old and new officers.
  • Cancel any activities when you believe they have been inadequately planned, will violate University rules, or are unsafe.

Non-negotiable Responsibilities to the Student Organization

  • The advisor should assist the group in developing realistic goals for the academic year.
  • The advisor should be aware of all plans and activities of the group and inform the group of institutional policies that may affect theses plans.
  • The advisor should discourage dominance of the group by any one individual and should encourage quieter students to take initiative.
  • The advisor should provide continuity within the group and should be familiar with the group’s history and constitution.
  • The advisor should offer ideas for projects and events without taking over. 
  • The advisor should assist the group in evaluation.
  • The advisor should inform their student organizations of ALL University policies, rules, and regulations.
  • The advisor should attend all events planned/hosted by the organization, unless arrangement/agreement is made with University Student Activities & Engagement. Note: If an advisor is not in attendance the event will be shut down.

Non-negotiable Responsibilities to Individual Members

  • The advisor should try to help the students find a balance between their academics and their co-curricular activities.
  • The advisor should encourage each individual to participate in and plan group events.
  • The advisor should encourage students to accept responsibility for specific roles within the group.
  • The advisor should encourage students to hold themselves accountable for their own actions and to be fully aware and knowledgeable of the WSSU Student Code of Conduct. Non-negotiable Responsibilities to the University
  • The advisor should work with the group, but not direct its activities.
  • The advisor must report all actual, alleged, or potential incidents of hazing to the Director of University Student Activities & Engagement
  • The hazing policy is as such:
To engage or subject another individual, whether intentional or unintentional, in activity likely to cause physical injury, mental distress, or personal indignities of a highly offensive nature, that is in connection with recruitment, initiation, or continued membership in a society, fraternity or sorority, club, athletic team, or other similar groups.

The advisor and organization should be aware that failure to comply with this agreement may subject the organization to sanctions up to and including expulsion from campus. This agreement should be submitted at the beginning of every academic year and filed with the Coordinator of Student Activities.

Advisor Training

Advisor trainings are held twice every academic semester and those dates are always posted in RAMSync and emailed to advisors over the summer. If at any time you would like to have a one-on-one training session, please contact Katrina McCoy (336) 750-3082 or

If you would you like to become a Student Organization Advisor, please contact Ms. Katrina McCoy at or call (336) 750-3082 for further information.