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Effective Student / Faculty Representative Relationships

Responsibilities of the SAF Student Chapter to the Faculty Representative
  • The faculty representative needs to be recognized as an integral part of the student chapter. The faculty representative should be welcomed at all meetings and social events, and thanked for coming at the close of each event.


  • Chapter executive committee meetings should be scheduled at a time when the faculty representative can attend. Remember to:
    • Relay the date, time, and place for each meeting.
    • Have a faculty representative report on the agenda of the meeting.
    • Provide a copy of the minutes to the faculty representative.
    • Check with the faculty representative before scheduling a special meeting.
    • Have the student chapter chair meet regularly with the faculty representative to discuss organizational matters.


  • The student chapter should ask the faculty representative for his/her opinion and advice when problems develop within the chapter. The faculty representative is a great resource and has experience within the university and the Society of American Foresters.
Responsibilities of the Faculty Representative to the Student Chapter
  • Be familiar with the SAF and chapter's constitution, bylaws, and objectives.
  • Determine if the chapter is achieving the goals set forth at the beginning of each academic year.
  • Maintain open, direct communication with the officers. Have individual meetings with the chapter chair to share feedback and ideas.
  • Be present at events or activities sponsored by the student chapter.
  • Be aware of the university or college's policies and procedures.
  • Assist with the orientation of newly elected student officers.
  • Assist with the transition between old and new officers.
  • Encourage the student chapter to integrate new people by providing orientation and training programs.
  • Serve as a mediator during organizational crisis.
  • Provide honest feedback to chapter members.
Responsibilities of the SAF National Office to the Faculty Representative
  • Communicate and provide support to the faculty representative on a regular basis through phone calls, mailings, faxes and e-mail.
  • Provide membership recruitment material, information on new student benefits, convention material, membership status information, and criteria on the Student Chapter Award and Student Publication Award.
If you're a new student chapter or a student chapter looking for a new faculty representative, there are at least two things your chapter should do. Develop a clear statement of the chapter's goals and a clear statement of expectations of the faculty representative, both in terms of role and time commitment. It would also be helpful to outline what the faculty representative could fairly expect of the chapter. With this information in hand, the chapter will be ready to approach potential faculty representatives and discuss with them their interest and ability for advising your chapter.

Poll your chapter members for the names of professors or staff members who they have found helpful and interested in student life. The SAF National Office can also assist with locating a potential faculty representative. Approach potential faculty representatives confidently and positively. Remember to be clear about the purpose and activities of your organization, your expectations of the faculty representative and all benefits the he or she will enjoy.

Once your faculty representative begins to serve, keep him or her well informed, clarify expectations and roles when needed and draw on his or her expertise. Occasionally, gratitude and acknowledgments are a good idea—if you have chapter t-shirts, for example, make sure your faculty representative has one too! Enjoy what can be an extremely rewarding and mutually beneficial relationship.

Source

An Organization and Its Advisor, Student Activities and Leadership Office, University of Michigan

The SAF Leadership Manual, "Student Chapter Relations", Society of American Foresters