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Office of General Counsel Policies & Guidelines

Student Advisor Guideline : S-030

Policy/Guideline Area

Student Guidelines

Applicable Divisions

TCATs, Community Colleges, Universities


This guideline addresses the importance of advisors to student organizations, as provided in the Tennessee Board of Regents Policy No. 3:01:01:00. Developed by the Student Affairs Sub-Council, the guideline identifies minimal standards for an institution to further develop a comprehensive and well-rounded system of advising student organizations.


  1. Guidelines for Advisors
    1. An advisor should have a working knowledge of the institution and TBR Policy No. 3:01:01:00 on student organizations. As part of the advisor's duties, he or she should have a clear understanding of the role of the student life division in coordinating the student organization's programming and activities.
    2. In carrying out the role of advisor, he or she should have an interest in the student organization for which he or she is an advisor. The advisor should also have an interest in the growth and development of the organization within the structure of the institution and within the international and national structure of the organization. The advisor's interest should be as a result of previous or current membership in the specified organization, or as a result of a professional relationship with or interest in the specified organization's subject matter or pursuit or through a desire to take part in the growth and development of a specified organization.
    3. An advisor should be committed to serving the needs of an organization and its members by but not limited to:
      1. Attending all formal functions staged or held by the organization;
      2. Developing a rapport with the membership of the organization, especially the officers;
      3. Keeping abreast of current developments in the particular areas served by the organization;
      4. Developing a working relationship with national, state, and/or regional officers of the organization; and
      5. Working with institutional officials to inform the organization of TBR and institutional policies, procedures, and decisions that affect the functioning of the organization.
    4. An advisor should acquire a working knowledge of TBR policies and guidelines as they relate to fund-raising, fund-accounting, and fund disbursement as outlined in TBR and institutional business policies and guidelines. The advisor should then assist with the financial duties associated with the organization by counseling and assisting officers, by reviewing financial statements and accounts, and by assisting with institutional procedures designed to safeguard funds.
    5. An advisor should have a reasonable knowledge of current applicable standards in the area of student organizations in higher education and liability issues. An advisor should consult with chief student service, institutional, and designated legal officials concerning applicable standards.
    6. An advisor should attempt to assist in the planning of all social and formal functions, whether on or off- campus; the advisor shall routinely appear at planned social function. Advisors should, in aiding the organization in planning events, maintain consistency with all institutional and TBR policies, and guidelines such as but not limited to Policy No. 1:03:02:50 on Access and Use of Campus Property and Facilities.
    7. An advisor should encourage the development of initiative and leadership within the specified organization, should assist the officials of the institution in identifying potential officers and leaders within the organization, and should serve as a resource person for the organization in leadership areas.
  2. Guidelines for Institutions
    1. An institution shall provide support and assistance to advisors of student organizations through the development and implementation of certain activities and programs related to a successful, system-wide approach. These actions are to include but not be limited to the following:
      1. An institution may offer rewards and incentives to advisors and offer formal recognition for diligence and excellence in the area of advising which may include but not be limited to such items as cash awards, public announcements, media coverage, evaluation reports, reduction in workload, etc.
      2. An institution should develop a well-rounded program designed to train and assist advisors; key components of the training program shall include:
        1. A handbook that details current responsibilities, duties, resources, funding guidelines, key staff members, a contact list of institutional officials in case of emergencies, etc.;
        2. One or more in-service programs designed to provide training and learning opportunities for advisors; and
        3. Periodic bulletins or correspondence designed to keep advisors up-to-date regarding new developments, policies, or procedures that affect the organization as set forth by the institution and the TBR. 


February 11, 1991, TBR Presidents Meeting.

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Mickey Sheen