Ideas for Remote Academic Advising - March 18, 2020

Greeting colleagues,

I am writing today once again in my role as Faculty Director for Advising and Learning Cohorts to offer ideas and suggestions for those of you who may engage in academic advising using remote methods in the upcoming weeks. A series of questions, with recommendations and resources, follows below.

My most important overall message: Please do not hesitate to contact me via email if you have any questions or concerns with which I might help; these need not be only about academic advising, as I am also a member of Senate Executive Committee and thus may be able to be useful to you in other ways as well. 

How can advising happen in a concrete way, one that is well documented moving forward, without routine access to paper files?

Tools such as STAN Degree Progress and STAN Planner are available to each student and each advisor; these can be very useful in these circumstances. 

How to make digital advising notes: 

  • This function is available in each student’s individual academic record, using the drop down menu (the one from which you can also choose such options as Academic Requirement or Unofficial Transcript). 
  • If you make notes in this way, please refer only to the student’s coursework and not to any personal aspects of any student’s life, as the student’s academic record is a record kept by a public institution and is, therefore, governed by privacy laws. 

Which advising activities might be effectively accomplished though timely, responsive email exchanges, so that I can best support students with complex needs in their lives to engage the advising process at the times that are best for them?

Email is potentially useful for advising exchanges involving students who have direct, concrete questions about which courses they plan to take in Summer 2020 or Fall 2020, or who have focused questions about a specific degree requirement or graduation requirement. In some cases, such as those in which an advisor and student already have a well–established relationship or when questions are urgent but students’ availability is limited, email may also work for more complex questions.

Which advising activities might require a synchronous mode of interaction between an advisor and a student, such a Zoom meeting or a phone call?

An online video meeting or phone call, some form of simultaneous interaction in real time, might be an important advising resource when working with a student in certain situations such as:

  • a student seeking direct support, for advising or other concerns, that are grounded in their immediate, rapidly changing needs while they are away from campus
  • a student considering changing a major or adding a major or minor; 
  • a student asking for advice about which classes completed at other institutions might count, and in which ways, at Stan State;
  • a student asking about the prerequisite structure of a major as it intersects with progress through the General Education program, cross–counting, and so on; and other meetings as necessary. 

Dr. Keith Nainby
Faculty Director for Advising and Learning Cohorts
Professor, Department of Communication Studies