(Developed Summer 2008 by V. Morgan, M. Stewart, J. Luttrell, V. Trujillo, J. Stout, D. Leonard, B. Odahlen, S. Piani, K. Rank, N. Trevino, L. Huebner, M. Smith, S. Ritrievi)
(Revised April 2016)
Benefits of Notes
Advisors are encouraged to document advising interactions with their students.
Documentation 1) increases communication between departments, 2) improves advising relationships with students and 3) provides continuity and consistency in advising across campus.
Getting Access to Notes in PeopleSoft
Advisors gain access to the use of the “Notes” panel after receiving Mandatory Advising/PeopleSoft Notes training and requesting additional access to Mandatory Advising panels on the PeopleSoft Security Access form (available at the training). This form also requires appropriate signatures from the department administrator. For more information, please contact John Nilsson (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Advisor notes created and maintained in PeopleSoft are to be kept in accordance with existing FERPA Laws. For complete information on University of Utah FERPA guidelines, contact the Registrar’s Office.
Note Taking Guidelines
- Inform the student that advisors make academically pertinent notes which are viewable by other advisors. For example, “I will be writing some notes after our conversation to record the gist of what we talked about today, and any follow up that you or I will take. These notes will be stored in our student database and may be seen by another academic advisor. This is so that we can best help you with your advising questions.”
- Remember that students can request access to these notes, and that they can be subpoenaed by third parties under FERPA guidelines. Use a professional tone when recording advisor/student interactions.
- Keep notes brief and relevant, and use only the most commonly understood abbreviations
(i.e., DARS, Gen Ed, UC, requirement codes such as IR, DV, etc).
- Record facts and observations, and NOT inferences or assumptions. For example, we would not write, “student seems depressed” or “student seems anxious”, but rather, “student talked about personal issues which are currently stressors/challenges”.
- Record any advising interactions that will require future follow up on the part of the student or advisor.
- If there is room for question or misunderstanding regarding information provided to a student during an advising session, record details on advice given in case of future questions. For example, “Advised student that History 1700 from SLCC would clear AI requirement, but if student chooses to take History 2700, will also need 2710.”
- Advisors are expected to document referrals to other departments and campus agencies. If the referral is of a sensitive nature (for example, to the Center for Disability Services or the Counseling Center), the advisor can write, “Student referred to appropriate department/agency”.
- Document information given regarding University and Department Policies and Deadlines. For example, “Student had questions about withdrawing from her math class. Provided form, deadline, and documentation requirements.”
- Sensitive information should only be included in your notes when academically relevant. For example, specific student behavior issues (accusations of plagiarism, Dean of Student interventions), very personal information about a student, their health, family, etc. should be handled with discretion. The focus should be on the impact of the issue on the student’s performance rather than the precise nature of the issue.
- REMEMBER: You can keep notes in a separate, personal file if there is something you need to remember, but do not want it included on the student’s PeopleSoft record. If you keep personal notes, you must protect the confidentiality of those notes, keep them for only as long as relevant, and take care to destroy them in a confidential manner. If you share personal notes with any other University personnel, it becomes part of the student’s FERPA record.