Every student organization must have a full-time USC faculty or staff advisor to become a Recognized Student Organization. The primary role of the advisor is to serve as a resource person for the organization. Advisors will counsel and advise organizations by asking the “tough” questions, assist students in their thinking process, and challenge the organization to go beyond the status quo. Advisors also provide continuity for an organization as they can pass along valuable information regarding the history of the organization and their past accomplishments. An active advisor can improve the effectiveness of an organization while also assisting in the positive development of the students.
Advisors have four broad functions:
- To help with the leadership development of students: The advisor will assist students in leadership development of skills such as time management, problem-solving, delegation, conflict resolution, and communication.
- To add to the continuity of the group as members graduate: The advisor will share the history of the organization and explain why past decisions were made to new officers.
- To serve as a liaison between the university and the organization: The advisor will explain university policies and connect students to the appropriate offices for assistance.
- To assist in the area of program content and purpose: The advisor will assist in the development of projects, events and activities. The exact role of the advisor should be determined by the advisor and the student organization. This role may vary from organization to organization, based on the organization’s needs and goals. The advisor should never be considered just a signature in order to receive recognition. The new student leadership of the organization and the advisor should have a conversation early on to determine the role and expectations of the advisor and the advisor’s expectations of the students.
The specific expectations of an advisor depends on the student organization’s needs and the advisors leadership style and level of commitment. Advisors should meet regularly with organization leaders to determine what the expectations of their commitment will be.