This is part 1 of a 2-part guide. In order to find a Chapter Advisor, you need to start by getting to know some faculty members, and it’s possible that you end up engaging with a few of them before you find a good fit as for a Chapter Advisor. While we would love every chapter to have an advisor as soon as possible, finding a good partner is the priority!
Keep in mind that Christian faculty often have a heart for the campus and could be looking for ways to minister on campus. Many of them are busy, but just because they don’t initiate with you, doesn’t mean they aren’t interested. Your reaching out to them could be an unexpected blessing to them.
* This guide is written specifically for getting to know faculty members, but on some campuses, it might be a campus administrator or staff member that makes the most sense for becoming your Chapter Advisor. Similar principles apply.
- Involve your students! There’s a chance they know which professors are Christians already, so this is a great way to get a list of names. Invite them to pray for the process. If none of you are connected to Christian faculty, the first step may be to host an event for faculty and see who shows up.
- Learn about the faculty member before you meet with them. Usually, professors will have a C.V. or bio on the university website, and you can also do a general web search. Look them up on Twitter—if they’re active, you’ll learn a world about them and their priorities. Note where they are at in their faculty journey (e.g., full Professor, tenured Associate Professor, Junior Faculty on tenure track, non-tenure track). Where they are as a faculty member could impact both their availability and how open they are about their faith.
Setting up the Initial Appointment
- Introduce yourself by phone or email and propose an appointment day and time. For most faculty, don’t be surprised if they are only available for 15-20 minutes. Offer to meet at their office, to make it easier for them.
- Once you have a meeting time set, prepare a welcome gift. Some ideas for things to include are:
- Peruse the IV Faculty website and generally familiarize yourself with the resources available to faculty, so that you can reference them in your appointment, if it’s helpful.
- Dress business casual, as you want to present yourself as a campus peer or colleague.
- If they aren’t responsive by email or phone, don’t take it personally, faculty are busy! It’s ok to stop by to introduce yourself to set up a time to talk a little longer. If you stop by, come with the gift. Keep your hand on the door as an indication that you don’t plan to stay long.
The Initial Appointment
Keep in mind that you are developing a relationship, and each relationship will develop differently. It could take more than one conversation to get through all of this, or you might find that early on, you already want to invite this person to become a Chapter Advisor.
- Start by sharing a bit about yourself (who you are, what InterVarsity is, the role of InterVarsity on campus).
- Ask about their familiarity with InterVarsity or other campus ministries.
- If they are familiar, ask more about their experience.
- If they aren’t familiar, share the vision of InterVarsity and what that has looked like on your specific campus.
- Get to know more about them and make connections you have with what they share. It may not make sense to ask all these questions at once, depending on how much time there is and how open they are to sharing, so use discretion.
- Tell me about your academic journey. How did you become interested in your discipline? How long have you been at this campus? What is your area of research and what do you love about it?
- What is most rewarding about your work? What challenges do you regularly face?
- Tell me about your faith journey. How have you seen God at work in you throughout your academic career?
- What has your experience as a Christian been like in your department and on campus?
- Where do you see God at work on campus? Where would you like to see his work?
- Ask questions to gauge their ministry involvement interest.
- How can I be praying for you? They might ask you to keep this confidential.
- Would you be interested in connecting with other Christian faculty? Also see if they know any other Christian faculty.
- Would you be interested in partnering with me to serve the IV chapter? Depending on what you’ve perceived from the conversation already, make a couple suggestions as to what this could look like. Seeing them in action will give you more data to see if they could be a potential Chapter Advisor.
- End the time by thanking them for their time and communicating your next action steps.
- Send a follow up email within a week to thank them for their time again. Send them any follow up items that came up in your conversation (e.g., links to resources on the IV Faculty website, information about a campus student event or a faculty ministry event you’ve invited them to attend, etc.).
- If it seems like they’d enjoy continuing to connect, plan to stop by later in the semester/quarter with another gift (e.g., a coffee shop gift card or chocolate bar, a flyer for your regional Faculty Conference, and another IV resource or book).
- IVP Books
- IV Guides