Tuesday, October 9, 2012

5 Ways Faculty Advisers Can Help Student Club Leaders

Faculty advisers in university or college settings can offer valuable assistance with fundamental educational as well as operational challenges every student club inevitably faces.  At the same time, faculty advisers typically remain behind the scenes as students assume responsibility for their club's operations and in the process "learn by doing."  More specifically, effective faculty advisers help student club leaders to learn throughout their leadership experience as they

1. Share knowledge of and insight into institutional memory. Club leaders come and go as students graduate or move on to other pursuits during their studies. As a consistent presence over time, a faculty adviser offers a resource for how club leaders handled similar challenges in previous years. This individual thus can deftly help current officers avoid pitfalls faced by predecessors--saving everyone time, energy, and worry in the process.

2. Offer guidance on how to work with administration. Educational institutions typically establish rules and regulations to guide everything from how to reserve meeting space to how to request reimbursement for expenses. The faculty adviser can save club leaders time and unnecessary headaches by helping to steer them through uncharted waters in these and related areas critical to the success of the club.  

3. Helping to resolve disputes between officers and/or members. Building a cohesive executive team and working well with other club leaders looms as a major challenge faced by club officers, and to that end conflict among individuals can undermine such efforts. The faculty adviser can be an invaluable sounding board for leaders confronting these matters, in the process helping student leaders to work through issues on the path towards forging strong relationships, ensuring a cohesive team experience, and ultimately guaranteeing an enjoyable and productive learning experience for everyone involved. 

4. Provide guidance on leadership development. Given their history in the role and in some cases professional experience and training, faculty advisers can help club officers with core challenges related to recruiting and developing leaders to ensure the club prospers during the current academic year and long afterwards.

5. Share knowledge of the industry.
Individual faculty members, as club advisers, can offer student leaders the fruits of their education, training, and professional experience in such areas. This background can be invaluable to club officers charged with developing relevant programming, securing speakers, looking for internship and job opportunities to share with members, and the like.

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