Division of Undergraduate Studies to advise remotely this fall

August 21, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Division of Undergraduate Studies leaders said they will conduct all advising remotely this fall in order to safely and equitably meet students’ needs.

In July, the University Advising Council (UAC) adopted recommendations that advising services in the fall semester be delivered primarily virtually to ensure “equitable access to quality academic advising can be provided while maintaining the health and safety of our community.” This is not to preclude in-person advising, the recommendations state. The UAC also said there is anticipation for a high demand in advising services due to the complexity of the current situation.

Academic advisers recently recorded a video to explain some aspects of fall advising and key resources for students.

David Smith, executive director of DUS and associate dean for advising, said a high demand for advising mixed with social distancing requirements would make in-person advising at the Grange Building particularly difficulty. In a typical fall semester, Smith said, DUS expects 1,100 students to sit down with advisers in the first week.

The first week of advising for students enrolled in DUS will look different from past years. Instead of all advising in the first week coming through unscheduled walk-ins, the Drop/Add Quick Question Advising sessions will be hosted through Zoom from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 24-28. These sessions will be first come, first served.

In addition to Quick Question Advising, DUS students with more complex questions can schedule brief appointments with their assigned advisers through Starfish during the first week. DUS recently released a decision tree to help students determine what kind of advising session is best for them.

Kathy Garren, senior undergraduate advisor at DUS, said in addition to physical distancing requirements virtual meetings will give students more equal access to academic advising. She said over the summer she found it possible to build strong relationships with students while meeting face-to-face through Zoom.

“Students seemed comfortable and focused in these virtual sessions, excited to talk about their interests and goals at Penn State,” Garren said. “I hope that each student left their advising appointment feeling like they had made a connection with an academic adviser at Penn State who cares about them.”

Advising will look slightly different across the University depending on the advising unit. A full list of advising units at Penn State can be found here. The regular drop deadline is 11:59 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29. The regular add deadline is 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 30.

The Division of Undergraduate Studies is part of the Penn State Office of Undergraduate Education, the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at undergrad.psu.edu.

Last Updated August 25, 2020