Advisor Expectations

While the experience of the advisor can be an extremely rewarding one, as evidenced by the reflections of previous advisors, the role is accompanied by several important responsibilities. Advisors are expected to:

  • Adhere to the policies and standards of conduct outlined in the Kenyon staff or faculty handbook, as applicable.
  • Discourage illegal, damaging or embarrassing behavior that would damage College facilities and/or the physical, financial, emotional reputation of the College and that could subject both the advisor and the College to civil liability.   
  • Serve as Campus Security Authorities under the Student Right to Know and Campus Security Act of 1990, or more widely known as the Clery Act. Advisors are also mandatory reporters under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX). Briefly stated, advisor obligations under these are:
    • To report crime you observe or crime that is observed by others and reported to you that is alleged to have occurred on campus, in public areas bordering the campus, or in designated off-campus buildings owned or controlled by the College.
    • To notify the College of alleged crime that is reported to you in good faith, meaning that there is a reasonable basis for believing that the information is neither rumor nor hearsay.
    • To pass along to Campus Safety or designated College officials any crime reported to you without first attempting to determine whether a crime has indeed occurred or whether such crime fits a category expressed in the Clery Act.
    • If the alleged crime involves sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking or may otherwise violate Kenyon’s Civil Rights Policy contact the Title IX coordinator.
  • Annually complete advisor training sessions when offered. Failure to meet this obligation can have negative impacts on the student organizations and may result in probation of organization.

In addition, advisors agree to:

  • Guide organization to uphold local, state, and federal laws and policies.
  • Guide organization to uphold all Kenyon College policies including, but not limited to, the Student Handbook and Student Organization Handbook.

Responsibility to Students

The advisor should help the students find balance between academic and co-curricular activities.
Student leaders often have the tendency to burn the candle at both ends and may overextend themselves. The advisor has a unique opportunity to remind students of their academic obligations and personal needs.

The advisor should encourage each individual student to participate in and plan group events.
Some students fade into the background if not effectively encouraged. Being a member of a student group can provide students with valuable intrapersonal and/or leadership skills, but these will not develop if the student is not involved. 

The advisor should encourage students to accept responsibility for specific roles within the group.
The advisor should help students realize the importance of these roles. From officer positions to committee members, each student should feel invested in and accountable for their specific role.

The advisor may need to refer students to counseling.
Invariably, during interactions with the group’s members, the advisor will encounter students with personal challenges. The counseling role might require individual consultation on a personal level or referral to campus counseling services.

Responsibility to the Organization

The advisor should assist the group in developing realistic goals, strategic planning and training for the academic year.
This will contribute to the education and personal development of the students involved. The advisor must take an active role, rendering advice and counsel as circumstances dictate.

The advisor should be aware of all plans and activities of the group and inform the group of institutional policies that may affect the plans.
The advisor should see that the group and its officer know where policies are listed, what the policies are, why they exist, and the channels to be followed for changes, revisions, or exceptions to policies. Advisors should also participate in the planning/review of each activity.

The advisor should be available to organization officers/members and regularly meet with the organization.
Being visible is one key aspect of being an advisor. When members feel like they can talk to their advisor about issues within the organization or other things that are bothering them, an organization will be better off. 

The advisor should discourage dominance of the group by any one individual and should encourage less involved students to take initiative.
Eager leaders often provide strong leadership more often than necessary. This can lead to resentment by some or pressure others into silencing themselves. The advisor can help provide a balance by pointing out such concerns in a one-on-one setting with the students or the organization’s leadership.

The advisor should provide continuity within the group and should be familiar with the group’s history and constitution.
Membership turnover in student organizations is high and often the only link with the immediate past is the advisor. The advisor can steer group members clear of mistakes and help them avoid the proverbial reinventing of the wheel. Serving as the group’s memory and continuity link, the advisor can help new officers build on history and develop long-term plans for the future of the organization.

The advisor should assist the group in elevation.
This includes evaluating individual programs as well as doing a complete evaluation at the end of the academic year. The advisor must be willing to give constructive criticism when necessary and offer words of praise for work well done.

The advisor should communicate personal plans (i.e. sabbaticals).

Responsibility to Kenyon

The advisor should attend any Office of Student Engagement sponsored training activities.
Although some advisors have been an advisor before, it's important that advisors attend training sessions hosted by the Office of Student Engagement. It is important that you stay up to date as campus policy and federal training regulations continually change. 

The advisor should work with the group but not direct its activities.
Although the advisor’s role is not regulatory or disciplinary, the advisor has a responsibility to both the institution and the organization to keep their interests in mind. At times, the advisor may need to remind the organization of institutional policies so that violations do not occur. The advisor may also work with the organization’s officers to establish and maintain internal group standards and regulations for conduct. 

Occasionally, an advisor can help an organization during an emergency.
Although this type of intervention is rarely necessary, the advisor’s good judgment can be the saving grace in the event of mishaps, internal conflict or personal crisis. Assisting the group's president as a spokesperson or serving as a main contact for the College can help in these cases. 

Duty of Care

A major concern of many advisors is their personal risk in the case of an accident or injury to a student during a student event. These cases are most commonly based on allegations of negligence. Negligence requires that a duty of care be breached, either by an act of omission or commission. Generally, you are expected to act as a “reasonably prudent person” — a fictitious individual with your attributes in a similar situation. You may also be required to provide “proper supervision, proper instruction, and equipment in a proper state of repair.” There are more specific standards, for instance, where danger exists, there would be a duty to warn. If advisors have specific questions about their potential liability, they should contact Student Engagement.