This is the seventh post in a series intended to help you draft or improve your student media staff’s publications manual. Posts in this series will run on Wednesdays throughout the summer. The posts’ titles will start with “Pub Manual 101″ and include the Pub Manual 101 logo.
I laughed when I typed the title of this post. I couldn’t help thinking “A better title would be ‘What Doesn’t a College Media Adviser Do?’.”
I’ve been a teacher, a preacher, a counselor, a nurturer, a disciplinarian, a skeptic, and a critic, typically all by about 9 a.m. Monday.
There’s seemingly no limit to the roles assigned to a collegiate media adviser. Much like our students are responsible for doing what needs to be done to create the best publications possible, it’s our job to support them in any way we can in accomplishing that goal.
The vastness of my adviser role is ironic, considering I’ve never received a description for that portion of my job.
I need help in establishing the expectations of my role, in the same way that it’s done for the student media staff in their job descriptions. So, some years ago I had the editorial board write an adopt a job description for me in my role as director of student publications.
My job description includes the call to attend weekly staff and editorial meetings, hold editors accountable for external deadlines, advise the editor-in-chief on staff management issues, monitor the staff’s academic progress, review and critique publications, manage the staff’s financials, negotiate and communicate with outside vendors, and defend Student Publications and its staff when necessary.
My Student Publications job description varies from year-to-year. Although many items remain constant, each editorial board has the ability to alter my job description to suit their needs.
The students always have been respectful of my roles and limitations, but have included some quirky mandates through the years such as keeping the newsroom refrigerator stocked with Dr Pepper and baking for the staff once a month. Honestly, I don’t mind fulfilling those little requests for a staff that’s taking care of business.
My job description (as approved by the editorial board) then is included in the Student Publications Manual. While the description certainly isn’t legally binding like my academic contract, it gives me a solid idea of what the staff needs and expects from me, which I appreciate. And, of course, I go beyond my job description when necessary.
If the adviser portion of your job description is not already in your publication manual, I encourage you to put it there. This helps your students understand your role and what they can/should expect from you. If that portion of your job does not have a description, have your top editors draft one for you so that you understand their needs.
Let’s Talk Nerdy!
Does your advising role have a job description? If so, please share it below or describe some of the key portions.