For Advisors

This information may help you prepare for a rapid move to online/remote advising. Keep in mind that advising during times of significant disruption is, well, disruptive! Aim to provide students with the academic planning guidance and support they need during the disruption.

Every school or college advising unit will, in consultation with their administration and its Business Continuity Plans, devise their own specific protocols for handling advising at a distance. We anticipate that advisors will need a plan for advising students remotely for the next two weeks at a minimum and potentially longer. To assist you with this challenge, OVPI offers the following guidelines, tips, and tools. 

Both the SAGE homepage and all auto-generated SAGE emails have been updated with a header notifying students that all advising appointments will be conducted remotely until further notice, and to check UGA email for more information.

Practice Kindness and Patience 

Remember that students will be anxious and stressed over a number of things while classes are suspended. They will have lots of questions about when and how classes will resume, in what format, and how this may affect their graduation date. This will be especially true of students whose study away program, internship, etc. has been cancelled. If possible, proactively reach out to those students and help them make plans to stay on track for graduation. 

Anxiety and other factors may cause students to forget to make advising appointments or attend their virtual appointment. Don’t forget that one approach may not work for all students or advisors during times of significant disruption or changing circumstances. Ask students to communicate any issues or barriers they encounter (e.g. illness, lack of internet connectivity, technical issues, needing to care for family members, etc.), and be prepared to consider accommodations equitably. Again, as possible, please be proactive in reaching out to students with information and compassionate toward students who forget to schedule or attend their appointment. 

If a student contacts you and does not have internet access, please email advising@uga.edu

OVPI Resource Pages  

Plan Ahead

When advising remotely, make sure you have adequate internet access to provide quality advising to your students. If you would prefer to go beyond email, consider using Zoom or Skype. If you plan to use one of these, make sure you know how to access the tool and invite your advisees to the remote meeting. Zoom has quick how-to tutorials to support you.

A Guide to Zoom for Advisors (PDF)

Communication Plans

Please plan to email all your students with instructions on remote advising. In that email, include:

  • Who will need to be advised remotely
  • How to schedule an appointment if they have not yet done so
  • How to contact you for quick questions outside of their scheduled appointment
  • How you will be conducting remote advising appointments (email, Zoom, Skype)
  • In order to comply with FERPA student privacy regulations, your student must email you through UGA email and write: “I approve to have an advising appointment remotely with (advisor’s name) via the following method (Skype, Zoom, email, etc.)."

  • At the beginning of a Zoom or Skype appointment, ask your student to hold up their UGA student ID card to the camera to confirm their identity.

  • What they should expect from you prior to, during, and after the appointment (including information on when their advising hold will be cleared)
  • What you want them to prepare in advance of the appointment
  • A reminder that response times may be delayed during this time

Below is a link to a downloadable sample outgoing message to communicate with students. Feel free to adapt this message to best suit your unique needs. 

Example student email template

Hosting Remote Drop-In Advising Hours

Here's a step-by-step guide to hosting remote drop-in adivising hours in Zoom. 

Guide to Remote Drop-In Advising Hours 

Documenting Remote Advising Appointments  

Please carefully document information from remote advising appointments in SAGE and/or DegreeWorks Planner. In particular, please note that the appointment was conducted remotely, and any hiccups you encountered that impacted the quality of the advising experience or availability of advising information (i.e., if DegreeWorks is down during your appointment time).

Responding to Student Questions

We anticipate you will receive many questions from students to which UGA does not currently have an answer (e.g., Will classes resume at all this semester? Will all summer courses be moved online? Etc.). When responding to these questions, please communicate that at this time, advisors do not have information that hasn’t already been sent to the entire UGA community, and any decision impacting the student experience will be communicated first from UGA directly via an Archnews announcement sent to their UGA email account.

If you receive a question that you personally cannot answer, but believe OVPI may be able to assist, please forward that directly to advising@uga.edu.