Thank you for your new or continued interest in serving OU students as a Registered Student Organization advisor. Below you will find information addressing the most common questions and concerns of advisors.
Student Organization Services aims to support students and advisors in as many ways as possible. If you have a question or ideas to improve our advisor resources, please do not hesitate to contact us at George Ahamadi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why serve as a registered student organization advisor?
Students greatly benefit from a well-rounded collegiate experience encompassing both academic pursuits and social involvement. As an advisor, you have the opportunity to help students learn and apply life skills such as networking, leadership development, critical thinking, organizational management, and communication techniques. You can serve in a mentor capacity, experience student life outside the classroom, and build relationships that students will remember and appreciate long after their college years. Serving as a registered student organization advisor is a commitment to the students and to the University of Oklahoma, but in return you will benefit from a greater knowledge of student development, a feeling of connectedness to University activities, and a sense of accomplishment that your efforts have directly and positively impacted the lives of students.
Requirements to be an advisor
All Registered Student Organization advisors must be full time (FTE 1.0) faculty or staff members at the University of Oklahoma (Student Code, Title 10, Section 4.2d). Organizations may have more than one advisor. The choice of advisors is at the discretion of each organization. However, in some cases departments may wish to make recommendations on the basis of teaching loads and academic advising responsibilities of the faculty members.
Roles and responsibilities of the advisor
Guidance and support - Serving as an organization's advisor shows a commitment to the success of the involved students. By association it conveys a special interest in the students' values and goals. The students count on the advisor not only to assist with administrative tasks and serve as a liaison with the University, but also to provide encouragement and guidance through a wide range of situations.
Continuity - The advisor provides stability for organizations so records are not lost during the constant turnover of officers as students graduate from the University. The advisor can assist students with information regarding events, processes, etc. that have worked in the past and may be applicable to future group endeavors.
Fiscal oversight - One of the most important responsibilities of a registered student organization's advisor is the role of financial oversight. The advisor should assist students with the opening and maintenance of financial accounts. While each registered student organization should elect a student financial officer/treasurer, the advisor can provide guidance and training regarding how to create a budget and keep good financial records.
Policy interpretation and advocacy - As an employee of The University of Oklahoma, a registered student organization's advisor can provide a unique perspective to students regarding University policies and procedures. The advisor can serve as an advocate for students who do not feel their needs are being met or who need assistance interpreting policies. The advisor can also provide critical feedback to Student Affairs regarding ways to improve the student experience.
Meetings and social activities - Advisors are encouraged to participate in meetings and activities with their respective registered student organizations. Many organizations create their own requirements for advisor involvement; if your organization has such requirements, be sure to communicate with the students regarding your availability and willingness to participate. It is important that students feel worthy of the advisor's time as this helps establish mentoring relationships that many students greatly desire in their extracurricular activities.
Responsibilities of organizations to the advisors
Inclusion - A Registered Student Organization should be sure to extend invitations to the advisor for group meetings and planned activities. The organization can outline expectations for advisor involvement and should be sure to clearly communicate such expectations to a potential advisor before he/she is committed to working with the group. The organization should also be respectful of the advisor's work and other commitments, and should plan activities with expected attendance accordingly.
Fiscal responsibility - Registered student organizations should include the advisor on all financial decisions. University financial accounts for registered student organziations must be listed in the advisor's name and must be approved through the advisor's chain of command. Registered student organizations should maintain an annual budget, reconcile their accounts monthly, and work closely with the advisor to ensure that all expenses are allowable and processed correctly. Registered student organization accounts are subject to audit by the University's Internal Auditing division.
Communication - Registered student organization leaders and members should maintain an open line of communication with the group's advisor. The advisor serves as a liaison on campus for the group's activities and cannot effectively do so if he/she does not know what the group is doing. Communication methods should be utilized that are effective for all involved.
Documented processes - Organizations should have clearly documented processes regarding advisor selection and removal procedures as well as advisor involvement expectations. Student leaders should establish practices that support the betterment of the organization and provide fair treatment of all members and advisors. If tensions arise between group members and the advisor, it is critical that the organization have a system in place for addressing such issues that allows moving forward in a productive and peaceful manner.