UW-Madison expects advisors to take an active role in the organization. The advisor will ultimately determine their style and approach to serving as an advisor. The role of the Chapter Advisor is to guide, advise, and support the chapter and its officers and monitor their progress.
The Chapter Advisor must to be willing and able to devote significant time to the chapter, be proficient in their inter/national organization and UW-Madison’s policies and their interpretation. Additionally, it is our hope that chapter advisors are skilled in organizational and leadership development. It is through committed alumni/ae support that chapters achieve their greatest success.
Expectations of a Chapter Advisor and advisory team include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Work with the chapter officers to integrate the organization’s mission and values with chapter goals, and develop a positive relationship with their inter/national organization through attendance at leadership conferences and utilizing available resources.
- Supervise the chapter’s affairs as they relate to the organization, the campus, and the community.
- Maintain visibility in the chapter by regularly visiting the chapter, or interacting with members via email or video communication, and attending chapter programs and meetings when possible.
- Meet regularly (at least monthly) with the chapter leadership and be available to meet with members upon request.
- Ensure an effective and timely officer transition occurs.
- Serve as a resource for planning events and programs, resolve issues confronting the chapter, and be involved in the education of new members.
- Educate the chapter about inter/national policies, state and local laws, UW-Madison, and governing council policies.
- Assist the chapter in developing an overall academic achievement program and facilitate the creation of an environment that supports academic success.
- Meet with the new members each semester to review their academic progress and plans at the University.
- Ensure that individual behavior is addressed through a system that empowers members to hold each other accountable for their actions consistent with the values of the organization and UW-Madison.
- Be involved in any situation that involves allegations of sexual misconduct or other egregious behavior.
- Attend meetings of the chapter advisors when requested by CfLI or FSL.
- Work in partnership with University staff and inter/national headquarters to foster a positive fraternity/sorority experience for the membership.
- Assist the chapter officers in developing a membership recruitment and retention plan.
Advisors have a wealth of knowledge, both from their own experiences and from the training and resources provided through their inter/national headquarters. It is important to understand the organization’s history, mission and values, operations, policies, and best practices and impart this knowledge on the members of the chapter.
Our students are charged with a great deal of responsibility in leading an organization of this magnitude. It is important that advisors provide space for questions, feedback, and sharing perspectives to continue to allow our organizations to elevate themselves to new heights.
As advisors, it is not our role to do any of the work for our students or tell them how to do things. Rather, we serve as a map to help students navigate themselves through situations, problem solving, goal setting, and anything else the students may need.
Strong listening skills are imperative as an advisor. Utilizing these skills will enable you to truly hear what the members are experiencing, asking for, or needing which will allow you to be most effective in your role. Advisors should spend most of their time listening rather than speaking themselves.
Unfortunately, there are times when students don’t meet expectations or requirements. As advisors, it is important to understand accountability processes and balance supporting the chapter or individual responsible, while also helping them to understand their mistakes, rectify the situation, and create strong follow through on any outcomes or next steps.