Faculty Advisor Resources

Advisors are an important resource for student organizations at the University of Michigan. They provide advice and historical perspective to the organization’s student leaders. Advisors work in partnership with the Office of Student Affairs and the University Center for Campus Involvement to provide support essential to successful student organizations. These educational experiences help students learn valuable leadership skills and become engaged members of the community.

Students and advisors are highly encouraged to regularly review expectations to ensure a beneficial and productive relationship. Just as student organizations are unique, the advising relationship is unique and will change with each new leadership transition. Advisors may be asked to provide minimal support or take an active role in advising the organization. You may need to help students navigate the University systems or sign paperwork. If you feel that the organization is asking for a level of involvement to which you cannot commit, it may be a good idea to discuss finding an additional advisor to help share duties.

Most student organizations have a largely autonomous relationship with the University – students make decisions, accept the consequences (good or bad) and learn from them. You may be called upon to help resolve situations that arise in your group but you are not responsible for their actions, nor can you “make” them do what you desire. If the student organization does something you don’t agree with, you are encouraged to discuss what happened with representatives of the group. If you feel your concerns are justified, and the students believe that they have made a mistake, then it may be best to treat the incident as a teachable moment. If you and the students disagree on the nature of the incident, or if they feel they have done nothing wrong, and you cannot work to resolve the situation, then it may be best to bring in a third party to help mediate the situation. Contact Mariah Fiumara if you need assistance or are facing any difficult situation that you are not sure how to handle. We are here to help support you and the work of your students.

Frequently Asked Questions

I think my organization needs to learn some basic logistic skills. Is there a campus resource for this?

The Office of Student Affairs, is happy to meet with students. Workshops are offered to support Engineering students in planning events, developing sponsorship opportunities, and organization management. Another great resource is our Student Organization Canvas Page. This provides useful tools and information about how to function as a student organization at UM.

The students need help planning an event or program. I don’t have this background. Who can they talk to?

Students should be encouraged to talk with the OSA staff, who are best described as a “consultant” for student organizations in the College of Engineering. They can help recommend specific University resources or help student groups reach their goals with assistance in event planning, programming, marketing, team building, and other areas. Also, the Center for Campus Involvement (CCI) offers event planning and publicity workshops, as well as consulting services.

How do student organizations raise funds?

We recommend referencing our funding pages, as well as setting up an appointment with Mariah Fiumara to discuss other opportunities that may be available for the organization’s specific needs.

Can you recommend a comprehensive book about student organization advising?

Advising Student Groups and Organizations, by Norbert W. Dunkel and John H. Schuh, is a great resource. It covers nearly every angle of student group advising.