Utilizing Counselors and Faculty Advisors

By Amanda Levenson

Happy November!


For those of you that were able to attend WE17 this year, I hope you had a great time listening to inspiring talks, networking, and exploring the lively city of Austin, Texas!

Now that the conference has passed, I’ll begin discussing important information for your collegiate chapter. This month, I want to inform you of the resources that your collegiate counselor and faculty advisors can provide to help you achieve your FY18 goals and support your professional development, outreach, and social events.
Generally speaking, your counselor and faculty advisor are supposed to ensure that your chapter is meeting Society requirements, well-represented within the Society and on-campus, and aware of opportunities like section awards and scholarships.

  • Who is your counselor?
    SWE Collegiate Counselors are engineering/related professionals who work to support the day-to-day administration and activities of the collegiate section, and help guide the chapter in the right direction (e.g., make sure events appropriately display the mission of SWE). Counselors help uphold SWE’s by-laws, and report collegiate activities to the regional/national levels of the organization.Counselors are SWE professionals who have been elected to serve as liaisons between the collegiate sections and both the Society and industry. Due to their engineering and leadership experiences, they are great resources for–among many other things–professional connections, and brainstorming ideas for K-12 outreach activities. Thinking of planning a networking event, leadership panel, or volunteer event? Reach out to your collegiate counselor and find out how you can work together to accomplish your FY18 goals!


  • Who is your faculty advisor?
    SWE faculty advisors support and advocate for the collegiate chapters and their activities on campus. It is their responsibility to help connect collegiate SWE chapters with the College of Engineering and make sure they are in compliance with university rules.For example, your faculty advisor should be able to guide your chapter’s efforts in the following areas:

    • Managing finances
    • Scheduling
    • Advertising
    • Interacting between sections
    • Planning elections
    • Becoming a registered student organization
    • Enabling students to attend the Society conference

    If you’re looking for ways to increase your chapter’s presence on campus, or optimize your team’s logistics, initiate a chat with your faculty advisor to see what new strategies you can implement!

Outside of these roles, your counselors and faculty advisors are incredible women in engineering who are excited to help you and your group succeed. I’ll conclude this month’s post with some pieces of advice I collected from several Region J Collegiate Counselors and Faculty Advisors for you to consider:

  • Recruit a broad age range and diverse disciplines.
  • Make sure there is good documentation of information.
  • Take advantage of the professional sections for networking/mentoring: “There are a lot of women looking to give back with their time and experience.” 
  • Contact other faculty advisors/counselors to get advice on best practices.
  • Have a solid plan for the year and stick to it: “It’s better to do a few things well than a lot of things badly.” 
  • Inform your chapter about where/how money is kept, and rules and regulations on spending it.
  • Be bold in your leadership; be proactive and be engaged.
  • Utilize your network: “There are resources and people inside and outside of the university invested in the success of women engineering students.” 


If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to reach out to the Society Counselor/Faculty Advisor Coordinator, Diane Peters, at counselor-facadv-coord@swe.org or check out this FY18 Faculty Advisor & Counselor Training.


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