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How can we find and keep great faculty advisors for our Service Leadership Programs?

Jul 26, 2011

Question and Answer

photo credit: opensourceway under cc by-nd 2.0

Look around campus for someone who loves working with students—who demonstrates a heart for mentoring, developing, and serving students—and who shares the common values and ideals of Kiwanis! Let your adviser know that you value and respect the life experience and knowledge that he/she brings to the club. Then enjoy serving together!

 

Libby Davis
Faculty advisor
University of Indianapolis CKI Club

 


 

You or members of your Kiwanis club probably have several good contacts (adults and students) who know teachers in the school your SLP is in. Talk to them about the qualities you would like in the faculty advisor. Our SLPs are student-run organizations. The students are the leaders; the advisor takes a supportive role. Ask for suggestions, then approach the potential advisor prepared to sell them on your SLP. Once you have the advisor, don’t tell them what they should do; instead, offer help and support. Involve your SLP and their advisor in your Kiwanis club’s projects and vice versa. A good working relationship with your SLP and their advisor builds a strong and lasting bond.

 

Often it is the principal of the school that chooses the faculty advisor (at least for K-Kids, Builders Clubs and Key Clubs). If that’s the case, it would be a good idea to have some suggestions in mind when Kiwanians speak with the principal. If Kiwanians are given the responsibility of getting the faculty advisor, they need to be prepared to talk about what is expected and give examples of what other SLPs of the same kind have accomplished. If an experienced faculty advisor is willing, arrange for the experienced advisor to talk to the potential advisor. If the recommended advisor is reluctant, the students themselves could make the request. Teachers tend to have a very soft place in their hearts for kids that make it harder to refuse them.

 

A teacher who has been a part of an SLP is an excellent candidate for a faculty advisor. Another good choice would be a Kiwanian who is a teacher, as it is important that the advisor understand what Kiwanis is all about.

 

However, we get our faculty advisor, the Kiwanis club should understand that their role is to help and support the SLP and its advisor, not to tell them what to do. Our SLPs are student- (not teacher- or Kiwanis-) run programs. Given the opportunity to come up with their own service projects, the kids will make us all proud! The Kiwanis role is to do those things Kiwanians do best (train the officers, teach them parliamentary procedure so meetings run smoothly and stay on target). Faculty and Kiwanis advisors help them come up with solutions to problems that arise and in general support our student run club. If we do those things, the students will do the rest. While planning and carrying out their projects to help their community, they will develop confidence, self esteem, leadership skills and become a true asset to their community. They will make their school, their Kiwanis sponsors and their community proud of them, but mostly they’ll be proud of what they have done and who they have become. Their advisor will be proud to be their advisor.

 

Joanne Underwood
Administrator
New York District Builders Club

 



My thoughts on how to obtain and retain club advisors:

 

Obtain

  1. Seek out staff who have a desire to build future leaders

  2. Look for colleagues with a passion for community service

  3. I believe in the “Field of Dreams” concept… ask them they will serve

Retain:

  1. Cultivate support from your building administrator

  2. Sponsoring Kiwanis club MUST support events

  3. Involve parents of club members which will lighten advisors work load.

My sponsoring Kiwanis club is always an active participant at all meetings and projects. Our building principal is extremely supportive and utilizes K-Kid members in leadership roles.

 

Debbi Longland
Kiwanis and faculty advisor
Crescent Harbor Elementary K-Kids Club, Washington

 

 

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