Tips for Advisors
(From the 1996 AGS Handbook)
[ Back | Home Page ]
Welcome to a select breed! An Alpha Gamma Sigma advisor is a very fortunate person because of the continual involvement with intellectually inspired students. Involved and committed people are always more interesting and inspiring. Involvement and commitment are the most important elements, which determine a successful and active AGS chapter.
Although there are tips and suggestions to advisors scattered throughout the handbook, here you will find a special collection of “tips” that did not seem to belong in the other chapters (of the AGS Handbook).
WORKING WITH YOUR MEMBERS
1. Active chapters must have enthusiastic and dynamic advisors. The chapter needs and deserves
2. Guidelines are necessary for the successful operation of any club. The advisor has the
responsibility to make certain that officers are aware of the chapter’s major purposes,
basic rules in the bylaws and standing rules, and the obligation to adhere to the college regulations.
3. Advisors should direct, not control. Most student organizations enjoy participation by
their advisors and and are willing to listen to ideas. But in order for an idea to be carried out
successfully, it must be adopted as the members' own.
4. Members should be allowed to develop a sense of responsibility of their own. You
might suggest to the officers that they assign responsibility to other members for much
of what needs to be done. The advisor should remain in the background unless needed.
5. If you see a mistake coming, opinions should be offered in the form of suggestions.
Playing the “know-it-all” role is not conducive to a harmonious relationship between
yourself and the members.
6. It is important that no partiality towards any member be shown by you. All members
should be treated as equals. Maintain objectivity and play the role of a non-partisan
7. It is important that you be perceived as a friend to the members without jeopardizing
the above-mentioned objectivity.
8. You act as final authority or check on all organizational business, but only when
9. Be prepared for personality and working relationship clashes between officers or
members of your chapter. Attempt the usual “working it out” processes, but also be
prepared to deal with the problem directly so that the chapter survives the clash.
10. The advisor to any college organization which has a continual change of student
membership has, as one of the essential functions, to provide continuity to the
organization. You act as a kind of historian, supplying information regarding what
the chapter has done in the past.
11. Check and review the qualifications of each prospective and continuing member.
Screen the members of your chapter for possible nomination for the state academic
and service awards.
12. Accompany your chapter delegation to the Regional Conferences and to the State
conventions. Your delegates appreciate your presence and support. Also, you get to
meet with AGS advisors from other colleges, an invaluable experience.
IMPLEMENTING THE PROGRAM [Back to top]
1. Become well acquainted with the bylaws of both your local chapter and the state
organizations of AGS.
2. Become extremely familiar with the AGS membership requirements so as to be able
to explain them clearly to students and to personnel in the records office.
3. Become familiar with the chapter’s obligations to the state organization. Notice the
deadline dates. Remember that the U.S. Postal Service may take longer than you think to
deliver the mail. Two-day delivery is not guaranteed; it may take as long as a week.
4. Recruit a co-advisor. It is a good idea to ensure that at least one advisor will be
present at all meetings and that no one person has to do all the work.
5. Become acquainted especially with the AGS advisors of other colleges in your area to
compare notes and exchange ideas. Ask one of them to become your mentor advisor.
6. The recipients of the chapter's scholarship awards should be determined by the
scholarship committee. Some chapters have a committee composed of only AGS
members. Other committees are faculty and staff only, and some may be a
combination. Criteria for the awards should be established, and then applications for
scholarships should be filed by the members directly with the advisor. Some
chapters keep the applications anonymous with the advisor presenting the statistical
information for each applicant to the committee. Whether open or anonymous the
advisor acts as an impartial source of information for the committee when needed.
Let the committee make the decisions: ranking the candidates by number, the
number of awards, and the amount of each award. Avoid influencing their
decision-making. Excitement can be generated by keeping the winner’s name secret,
even from the committee, until time for presentation at the chapter’s honor reception.
7. You always should approve any article or poster used by your chapter for publicity
by initialing and securing the original prior to display.
8. Keep your Alpha Gamma Sigma Handbook up to date.
9. Before your officers and committee chairpersons leave campus at the end of each term,
be sure to get back from them copies of the state handbook and the chapter’s
handbook and folders containing guidelines for each position.
10. Be sure to have on hand sufficient number of silver pins, gold pins, gold seals,
permanent member certificates, and honor roll certificates.
11. If you are the only advisor for your chapter, make certain that there is someone to
take your place should you go on sabbatical, retire, or simply want to resign as
advisor. There are a number of formerly active chapters listed in the AGS Directory
which now exist only on paper because the advisor resigned and failed to find
another instructor, counselor, or librarian to assume this role.
12. Come to as many Advisory Board meetings as you can. The fall meeting is held
early in the semester before the Regional Conferences. The spring meeting is held
at the State Convention.
13. Offer to serve as a mentor for new advisors in your area.
KEEPING PEOPLE INFORMED [Back to top]
1. Be accessible to all members for reference, advice, and/or direction.
2. Set your internal deadline dates far enough in advance so that there is time for all to
be notified and informed.
WORKING WITHIN THE COLLEGE SYSTEM
1. Make certain that your college president and administrator know about all the great
things (scholarships awarded, service projects, etc.) that AGS does each semester.
2. Make certain that your college catalog contains a description of Alpha Gamma Sigma.
3. Know how long it takes to get a check cut form the ASU or Business Office, who
does it, and what paperwork must be completed. For some colleges it takes three
weeks for a check to be prepared. For others, as little as one day may be required
(emergency situation). Develop a good working relationship with all the people
4. Some acquainted with your college’s media services and learn to make use of them.
5. Work with the records office to make certain that active and permanent membership
in Alpha Gamma are recorded on the student’s transcript.
All advisors must fully understand the obligations detailed above and read and be familiar with the
Bylaws of Alpha Gamma Sigma, Inc., the Alpha Gamma Sigma Handbook and the minutes of
State Advisory Board meeting and shall agree to adhere to all rules and regulations so adopted.
(March 1978) [Back to top]