Academic Advising COVID-19

Last updated April 20, 2020, 8:00 AM                                                                     

Due to the campus restrictions put in place in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we encourage all Academic Advising initiatives to go online. We appreciate your support as we work to keep our students, staff, and faculty safe.


1.  How can I help my students get internet services?

Several companies including Charter, Spectrum, and Comcast have announced plans to offer free internet service for 60 days to households with students as classes are moving online amid concerns about COVID-19.  Please contact the companies at the phone numbers below directly to arrange services.

Charter and Spectrum – 1-844-488-8395

Comcast - 855-846-8376 for English speakers or 855-765-6995 for Spanish speakers

Students, faculty, and staff with wireless phone service may consider adding a personal hotspot to their plan in order to create their own WiFi network from a smartphone.  Most providers (e.g. Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon) offer personal hotspot service to be added to wireless plans for approximately $10 per month.

Students located in Iowa are welcome to complete their online coursework at ISU Extension and Outreach offices, which are located in every Iowa county, and have high-speed internet for rural connectivity. Students beyond Iowa’s borders may wish to contact their state’s Extension program for similar access.

2.  What is virtual academic advising? 

Virtual advising involves conducting advising sessions using email, telephone, or video chat technology. This style of advising gives both students and advisors the opportunity for a face-to-face conversation. 

3.  What types of platforms are available for video chat conferencing?

Video chats are typically conducted via a computer, tablet or smartphone device, and may involve one-to-one interaction or one-to-many interaction. Examples include WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger, Viber, Talkey, ooVoo, WebEx, WeChat, Google Hangouts, UberConference, and Zoom.  Both WebEx and Zoom are FERPA COMPLIANT.

4.  How can I access Zoom or WebEx?

Please see:

5.  What kind of equipment do I need for Zoom?

During your meeting you will need access to a computer with video chat capabilities (internal or external camera) and a microphone. You can use your smartphone or tablet for virtual advising if necessary; however, access to a computer is preferable as you may want to share, receive, or view documents and resources that are easier to view and save them on a computer.

6.  How can I prepare for a virtual advising meeting?

A.    Review your advisee’s notes

B.    Formulate a preliminary agenda using advisee’s request for a meeting or your proposed meeting outcomes.

C.    Be prepared to encounter an advisee who is acting under abnormal stress. One of the best things you can do for students is to model healthy behaviors.

D.    You might help students to de-stress by sharing your own stress coping mechanisms and by encouraging students to avoid unhealthy stress coping strategies involving the use of alcohol/drugs.

E.   If a student requires professional counseling, please refer them to Thielen Student Health Center:

  • Appointments: 515-294-5801
  • After Hours Advice: 800-524-6877

7.  How does FERPA impact my virtual advising meetings?

You should conduct your virtual meetings in a closed room (i.e. do not allow partners, friends, etc. to be in the background). Encourage students participating in a virtual meeting to be in a closed room. Pets are okay. You must ensure that your advising practice, meetings, and interactions in no way divulge information about individual students.

8.  How can I encourage my advisees to sign up for advising meetings?

You can continue to use your normal means of setting up your advising appointments.  Regardless of whether you require students to schedule in advance or use a drop-in format, most technology will accommodate your preference. You are encouraged to make use of EAB campaigns to encourage students to schedule appointments.

9.  How can I reduce my own stress level?

CAVEAT:  This is informal advice. If you need comprehensive advice, please contact your health care provider.

A.    Make sure that you continue to eat healthy foods.
B.    While it may not be advisable to go to the gym, you should feel free to take a walk.
C.    Stay focused on the present. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Focus on what you can do now.
D.    Try mindfulness strategies. There are a number of websites with free guided practices.
E.    Even while practicing physical distancing, maintain your social contacts by phone, email, etc.

10. Do you have any other updates on information we can pass on to our students?

Yes, please see this document.


1.  For updates regarding registration related issues:

2.  Study Abroad Policy Changes: 
When students were initially recalled from study abroad programs in Korea, Italy, and Taiwan, the Provost’s Office convened the Academic Continuity Working Group to identify strategies to ease the transition for these students and reduce the effect of the recalls on students’ academic trajectories. With recall of all students studying abroad, we wanted to let you know of this group, who stand ready to assist you in whatever way possible as you work with returning students. 

If you are assisting a student who intended to graduate in May or August, and was using a study abroad experience to fulfill the International Perspectives requirement, please be prepared to initiate the Degree Audit Waiver Process. In the notes section please note that the student is a senior returning from a study abroad course. If you need further help, please contact Shawn Boyne (

3.  Expanded P-NP Options

Our new policy is here:

4.  FAQS  about P/NP Implementation 

5.  UAAC Power-Point on Advising Considerations for P/NP

6.  Advisor P/NP process