Five Ways Faculty Advisers Can Help Student Club Leaders


By Mitchell Friedman, Associate Dean of Career Development and Student Affairs

Published 10.9.12

Every Presidio Graduate School club is encouraged to have a faculty adviser, as these professionals can offer valuable assistance with fundamental educational as well as operational challenges every group inevitably faces.  At the same time, faculty advisers typically remain behind the scenes as students assume responsibility for their club's operations and in the process "learn by doing."  More specifically, effective faculty advisers help student club leaders at Presidio Graduate School to learn throughout their leadership experience as they:

1. Share knowledge of and insight into institutional memory.

Club leaders come and go as students graduate or move on to other pursuits during their studies at Presidio Graduate School. As a consistent presence over time, your faculty adviser offers a resource for how club leaders handled similar challenges in previous years. This individual thus can deftly help current officers avoid pitfalls faced by your predecessors--saving everyone time, energy, and worry in the process.

2. Offer guidance on how to work with administration.

Educational institutions typically establish rules and regulations to guide everything from how to reserve meeting space to how to request reimbursement for expenses. Presidio Graduate School is no different in this regard. Your faculty adviser can save you time and unnecessary headaches by helping to steer you through uncharted waters in these and related areas critical to the success of your club.

3. Helping to resolve disputes between officers and/or members.

Building a cohesive executive team and working well with other club leaders looms as a major challenge faced by Presidio Graduate School club officers, and to that end, conflict among individuals can undermine such efforts. Your faculty advisor can be an invaluable sounding board for leaders confronting these matters, in the process helping you to work through issues on the path towards forging strong relationships, ensuring a cohesive team experience, and ultimately guaranteeing an enjoyable and productive learning experience for everyone involved.

4. Provide guidance on building an effective organization.

As professionals schooled in sustainable management (including leadership development), faculty advisers can help you with core challenges related to recruiting and developing leaders to ensure your club prospers during your tenure and long afterward.

5. Share knowledge of the industry.

The Presidio Graduate School faculty collectively possesses a wealth of industry experience in clean technology, alternative energy, sustainable food and agriculture, impact investing, smart cities, and countless other topics you’re likely to encounter on your way to earning an MBA, MPA, or Dual Degree (MBA/MPA) in sustainable management. Individual faculty members, as club advisers, thus can offer student leaders the fruits of their education, training, and professional experience in such areas. This background can be invaluable to club officers charged with developing relevant programming, securing speakers, looking for internship and job opportunities to share with members, and the like.

Interested in being a leader of a Presidio club to reap the benefits of this relationship with your faculty adviser? Contact one of the current club leaders (see the list under on the Student Clubs page) to express your interest, or set up a meeting with me to determine how your avid participation in clubs and other activities outside the classroom can fuel your career and professional development while at Presidio Graduate School.

This post is part of a series by Dr. Mitchell Friedman on career development. You can contact Dawn Mokuau with any questions.

Mitchell Friedman, Associate Dean of Career Development and Student Affairs

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