Student Organization Advisor Resources


ADVISE: (ad viz') v. -vised, -vising, -vises.  1. To offer advice to; counsel. 2.  To recommend; suggest. 3.  To inform; notify. 4.  To take counsel; consult. (American Heritage Dictionary) 

Every registered student organization on campus must have an advisor who is a member of the faculty or professional staff of the University, or is a member of the University community who is approved by SILC. Community organizations that register with the University of Kansas must secure a faculty or staff member who will act as a liaison between the University and their organization. 

Advising is an individual experience - you get back what you put into it! Below are some of the benefits you may receive from being an advisor for a student group: 

  • helping students learn and develop new skills 
  • watching a group come together, sharing common interests, working on common goals, understanding differences 
  • developing personal relationships with students 
  • furthering your personal interests or goals by choosing to work with a group that reflects your interests 
  • sharing your knowledge with others
Advising Tips 
The interaction between advisor and members provides a unique opportunity to assist individuals with questions or concerns. The advisor, who is able to maintain an open two-way communication with individual students, as well as the whole group, is able to listen, recommend, and inform, while encouraging students to perform at their highest level.

Encouraging/Maintaining Individual Performance: To encourage the individual for positive performance or behaviors:
    - Reward performance through appreciation or recognition
    - Motivate and stimulate performance through acknowledgment and praise
    - Reinforce performance with feedback and personal attention

Discouraging/Redirecting Individual Behaviors: To discourage behaviors and redirect an individual's personal energy:
    - Describe specific behaviors the individual has the power to change 
    - Involve the individual in developing a plan of action for redirecting and changing behavior 
    - Allow time for the behaviors to change 
    - Praise signs of positive change, commend the effects change has for the person and group

Guiding Individuals to Resources: When a student or group member asks for assistance with a difficulty beyond your ability to help, the University community has a number of resources to call upon: 
The Academic Achievement & Access Center (AAAC) offers many services and programs to assist students in their academic success and to enhance their collegiate experience at KU. Choose from individual consultations, group workshops, general or course-specific academic assistance, by appointment or on a walk-in basis. Feel free to talk with us and ask for information about academic and personal issues.
Watkins Health Center provides resources for and assistance to students with physical, psychological and social health difficulties
Legal Services for Students provides confidential information and assistance to students experiencing legal difficulties.
The Office of Public Safety is also a clearinghouse for students with difficulties, especially those involving personal and public safety.
The Emily Taylor Center for Women& Gender Equity provides services for gender-related issues to all students, and information on women's concerns.
Ombuds Office provides confidential, impartial consultation on problems within the university community, and may facilitate helpful action or direct persons to appropriate resources for further assistance.
Counseling and Psychological Services can help students with issues related to adjusting to college and other psychological, interpersonal, and family problems. Individual and group sessions are available.
Office of Institutional Opportunity & Access 
 is responsible for investigating complaints of discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence, for all students, faculty and staff.
Group Guidance & Continuity 
The advisor has a responsibility to both the University and student organization to keep the best interests of both in mind. The role may vary depending on the needs and leadership of the organization. Guidance also consists of coaching individuals in their duties as officers or group leaders. Additionally, the turnover of officers and members is frequent, and, at times, the only link with the group's past is the advisor. Some activities an advisor may undertake to assure the group's continuity include: orienting members to the history and purpose of the group; assisting in training new officers; sharing the group's traditions and growth, and informing the group about completed or on-going projects. The advisor may also play an important role in helping members develop long-term goals and communicating those goals to future members. 

Meetings and Activities
The advisor is encouraged to be informed about group activities by attending the regular and special meetings of the organization. Through continued open interaction where ideas are expressed freely, the advisor is available for consultation, to introduce ideas and make suggestions when appropriate, and serve as a resource person for the group.  Meeting regularly with group officers and/or chairpersons about the activities, projects and events being planned is another way to maintain awareness of the group.  The advisor is also encouraged to attend as many social events as possible.  By participating, the advisor helps set the tone and demonstrates a genuine interest in the group. 

Student Organization Events 
To make an event request on behalf of a registered student organization, please use the Student Organization Event (SOE) Form that is on Rock Chalk Central HERE. For more details about Student Organization Events, please refer to the SILC website here: Student Organization Events. Student Organization events must abide by the policy and procedures outlined on the Event Management and Protocol website.

Communications with Student Groups
The advisor is encouraged to help build an atmosphere in which students feel they can voice opinions, initiate action, and communicate openly with peers and university staff and faculty. One of the best ways to open communications with your group is to meet regularly with group officers and leaders concerning the activities, projects and events being planned, and attend the group's meetings and events. Through continued open interactions, where ideas, opinions and problems are expressed freely, the advisor serves as a resource person offering new perspectives, educational and experiential expertise, and guidance for the group. 

Officer Transition 
Training new officers is one of the most important ways continuity of the group is assured. The transition of leadership for your organization can be smooth or chaotic, and may determine the effectiveness of the organization for years to come.  A smooth transition will help the organization avoid starting over or "starting from scratch" each year. Transition is the responsibility of the outgoing leadership as well as the incoming officers.   The passage of knowledge, experience, accomplishments and goals for the organization will help the outgoing officers gain a sense of completion of their jobs and bring closure to their experiences, while at the same time, give incoming officers valuable information, advice and confidence for the future. In many instances, transition is not completed properly by outgoing officers and the burden of training falls to the advisor.

New officers are most effective and transition is smoothest when they are given access to all organizational files and fully informed about rules concerning the group's work environment, along with any departmental guidelines that apply to student groups. Some examples of documents that incoming officers may need in order to function effectively are constitution and bylaws, job descriptions of officers and committee chairs, descriptions of committee structures and activities, status reports on current and continuing projects, meeting minutes and agendas, resource and contacts lists, organization member list, financial records, budget sheets, calendar of regular events and administrative deadlines, and information important to the functioning of your group.

Please use this link to watch a step-by-step training on how to use Rock Chalk Central to hold elections and helpful tips on facilitating successful transitions between outgoing and incoming officers. 
Policy Guidance & Legal Information 

As a representative of the University to the group, the advisor is needed to interpret KU policies and regulations relevant to student groups. The advisor is encouraged to be familiar with the student group's policies (constitutions, by-laws, etc.) and be aware of area of possible conflict with University regulations. By knowing the group's policies and the University's regulations, the advisor is able to share information about procedures and make recommendations, inform students about possible results or implications of a proposed activity, and insure that group activities are conducted in accordance with University and State regulations

Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities The Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities outlines the rights of students and many of the standards of conduct expected within the University of Kansas community.

Student Organization Registration - All organizations functioning on the Lawrence Campus of the University of Kansas are required to register with the University.

Sports Clubs Policy: KU Recreation Services - To create a fair and balanced structure in a safe environment.

Event Accessibility and Accommodation Policy To articulate the requirements for making University of Kansas sponsored events and externally sponsored events occurring on campus meaningfully accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Student Non-Academic Conduct Procedures 
The University of Kansas’ non-academic student conduct process is not intended to be adversarial in nature and is substantially less formal than a court of law. The majority of cases can, and should be, handled informally. The purpose of the student conduct procedures is to resolve conflict situations that involve violations of the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities or other University policy and educate and prepare students for responsible citizenship.

Crime Reporting
To assign responsibility for crime reporting and establish the appropriate reporting mechanisms to be used for notification of known or suspected criminal actions when such suspected actions occur on property owned or operated by the University or in conjunction with a University-sponsored event or activity.

Sexual Harassment - To articulate the University's prohibition of sexual harassment.

Nondiscrimination, Equal Opportunity, and Affirmative Action - To articulate the University's prohibition of sexual harassment.

Alcohol & Drug Policy - To explain the University's alcohol and drug policy for employees and students.

Hazing is defined at KU under the Code of Rights and Responsibilities as: 
Engaging in hazing of another person for the purpose of initiation or admission into, affiliation with, or continuation of membership in any organization operating under the sanction of the University.  Hazing includes, but is not limited to, any action, activity or situation which recklessly, negligently or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health, welfare or safety of a person, creates excessive fatigue, sleep deprivation, mental or physical discomfort, exposes a person to extreme embarrassment or ridicule, involves personal servitude, destroys or removes public or private property, or implicitly or explicitly interferes with the academic requirements or responsibilities of a student.  It is presumed that hazing is a forced activity regardless of the apparent willingness of an individual to participate in the activity. Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing is not neutral; both are violations of this rule.

Legal Liability of Advisors
- The following is a statement from the University General Counsel concerning the liability of faculty and staff advisors of registered organizations at the University of Kansas:
An advisor could be held legally responsible should injury be sustained by a group member or third party during an activity of that organization, if acts of the advisor do not meet the standard of care exercised by a reasonable prudent advisor under the same or similar circumstances.  When an advisor is a member of the faculty or staff of the University and is acting within the scope of his or her employment, then negligent or wrongful acts, or omissions, of the advisor would be covered by the Kansas Tort Claims Act, K.S.A. 75-6101 et seq.  The Tort Claims Act provides for both legal representation and indemnification of the employee should liability be imposed.  To the best of our knowledge, no advisor at the University of Kansas has been involved in a suit with a student or a campus organization. December 2019. 

Financial Guidance
Each organization is asked to elect or appoint a treasurer to manage the group's funds. The advisor is encouraged to spend time working with this individual to assure accurate record-keeping and timely payment of accounts. SILC staff and the Student Senate treasurer are available to assist any treasurer or advisor with matters related to financial practices, policies, and record keeping.

Student Organization Financial Accounting Systems (SOFAs) are available to student groups who have a source of money outside the University, such as from dues, contributions, or fundraising activities. A student organization account allows the group to deposit funds and pay bills without having to pay banking service charges or keep track of a checkbook or passbook. Funds in a student organization account rollover from one fiscal year to the next. For information on how to open and manage an account, please refer to the SOFAS Handbook, located on Procurement Services' website.

For more information on sources of funding for student organizations, please refer to the Student Organization Funding Sources webpage which outlines Student Senate Funding, Pepsi Funding, and other fundraising information. 
Past Training Recordings
Each semester, we host monthly student organization advisor trainings. Check out these recordings if you were unable to join us:
Welcome Back - Roles and Responsibilities | September 2, 2020

Officer Motivation | October 7, 2020

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Student Organizations | February 3rd, 2021

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