Thank you for serving as a student organization adviser! The impact you have on students is immense and Student Activities & Involvement thanks you. 

Every recognized organization on campus is required to have a JMU Faculty/Staff adviser per Adviser Policy 1301. This person must be either a full-or part-time employee of the university and cannot be a graduate student.

If you’re interested, you can reach out to the organization and start the conversation! 

Another way is to build up a relationship with the students you already come into contact with through teaching or other daily work. Show interest in their organization and co-curricular activities! Many student organization advisers were asked by the students directly through previously built relationships.  

If an adviser steps down or an organization removes an adviser following the procedures in the organization’s constitution, there are two options:

  1. The organization can find another faculty or staff member interested in taking on the responsibilities that follows the procedures in the organization’s constitution regarding advisers.
  2. If there is difficulty finding a new adviser, you can email the office and we will try to help you find a new one. Student Activities & Involvement has a list of faculty and staff members who are willing to be advisers for organizations.

Once a new adviser is found, Student Activities & Involvement asks that the new adviser fills out the online Adviser Confirmation Form so we have their information on file. The new adviser should also be added to the organization’s BeInvolved page as the Faculty/Staff adviser by a listed exec member on their roster.

Student Activities & Involvement recognizes that all of our student organizations have unique needs and relationships with their advisers. We do not require much of our advisers as we respect the vast majority of staff volunteer their time to assist the organizations.

  • The primary responsibility of all advisers is to be a contact students have for interpreting university policies and providing guidance to operate successfully.
  • When in doubt, ask! Student Activities staff are always available to take questions or clarify information. If we don’t know, we’ll find someone who does.
  • An adviser’s role will vary and can sway between mentor, educator, expert, and conflict mediator. Engage to the best of your ability!
  • Organization leadership often switches every year. Advisers can provide some stability to the constant transition and provide historical knowledge year-to-year.

Some Tips: 

  • Schedule regular meetings with the executive board to check-in, offer assistance, and to learn about the organization.  
  • Ask to be cc’d on communication to the organization (emails, etc.) and to have access to any digital space where they may share information (Google Drive, Box, etc.). This is not to be a micromanager of the organization, but to have better knowledge of the communication and activities of the organization.  
  • Attend meetings and activities a few times each semester. This can be extremely helpful in building relationships with general members! 
  • Send emails to all members 1-2 times a year introducing yourself, explaining your role, and communicating how you can help the organization (and individual members). The organization’s secretary should have the list of members and their Dukes email handy! 
    • If your organization has a formal recruitment or new-member process, we suggest contacting the potential new members as the beginning of the process each semester with this same information.  

BeInvolved is the JMU student organization platform to help us manage our clubs and to help clubs manage themselves! On BeInvolved, student organizations can manage their roster, post documents, host internal elections, and message their members. This is also their university provided public website, where we send current and potential students to research organizations they might want to join, so it is important to keep their pages updated!  

Make sure you get our updates! Be listed on your student organizations roster on BeInvolved as the faculty/staff adviser for continued communication and information. 

As a student organization adviser, you are categorized as a Campus Safety Adviser and “have an obligation to promptly report allegations of Clery Act defined crimes which occurred on campus, on public property within or immediately adjacent to the campus and in or on non-campus buildings or property which the University owns or otherwise controls” (JMU Clery Act Website)You will be contacted occasionally by Campus Security regarding disclosing relevant information and an annual training. Please see the JMU Clery Act Website for more information and to understand your rights and roles better.  

  • As a university professional staff member, you are a responsible employee, meaning you are required to report incidents of sexual misconduct when you see it, hear of it, or it is disclosed to you by a student. This should be kept in mind and revealed to students when they may come to you for advice. More about JMU Title IX can be found on their website, including methods of reporting 

    Students, in general, are not responsible employees or mandated reporters, so they are not legally required to disclose information that was revealed to them by a friend or organization member. We talk more about this on the SAI Title IX Website 

Important policies and procedures all student organizations should be adhering to are listed in our new Student Organization Handbook! We highly recommend reviewing this on your own and with your executive board. 

Adviser Edition coming soon! 

Join Student Activities & Involvement for regular meetings with SAI staff and fellow advisers! We’ll share any updates or tips from our office, but will devote a majority of the time to questions, round table discussions, and building community with other advisers. Meeting date, time, and locations will be sent out to listed advisers! 

Adviser Check-In from September 15, 2020 (YouTube)

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