University of Vermont

Expectations & Style

As an advisor you may be responsible for filling a variety of roles:

  • as an interpreter of policy;
  • a contact between the organization and other entities (i.e., university administration, entertainment industry, and other organizations);
  • an information resource regarding organizational procedures, group process and programming concerns;
  • a resource providing history and continuity between changing organizational leadership;
  • a teacher of programming skills;
  • a presenter of philosophical ideas and concepts of leadership;
  • a counselor, mediator, consultant, sounding board, and friend.

To help you with this conversation, you can use the Advisor Roles Worksheet

What is my role?

The advising style of an organizational advisor varies from person to person, and group to group. If you have done this for more then one year, you will realize that your advising style will most likely vary from one year to the next - even with the same organization. Depending on the experience and motivation of the students with whom you work, you may be asked to be ether a very active or very passive role. Likewise, your own advising style will determine how active a role you play. Some advisors prefer to be very involved in the groups they advise - attending all meetings, helping to make the group aware of current situations, and aiding in major financial or programmatic decisions.

On the other hand, there are advisors who see themselves as resource, or sounding boards of the group. This style of advising seems to be less active, but is not less important or affective. Between these two styles are various levels of involvement, all dependent upon your personal strengths and weaknesses, the group, and the situation.

What is most important is that the advisor, the leaders, and the members of the organization communicate to mutually define your role as the advisor.