Using Advising Notes on SUOnline
The Advising Notes application allows you to maintain an easy-to-use online record of advising notes for each of your advisees. You can store, retrieve and share advising notes. It may also be used by other faculty and staff with authorized "advisor" access to add advising-related comments. You can access the Advising Notes screen on the same drop down menu on which you access an advisee's program evaluation, transcript and profile. View a screen shot of the drop down menu on the My Advisees page on SUonline and the Advising Notes Screen.
How to make entries
The screen has three kinds of entries and two running logs of past notes. The first entry box is for the advisee's educational goal. It provides a handy reference point for focusing advising conversations. The log immediately following the entry box lists the goal entries showing the development of the advisee's goals while at Seattle University. The new entry is automatically labeled with the name of the writer and date of the entry. Topics can be separated within the same entry by leaving a blank line between one topic and the next. Once the entry has been "submitted" by clicking the box at the end of the page, it cannot be changed. A second entry can be added, of course, that explains an earlier entry. Click here to view the goals entry and log. For supporting information on discussing goals with students, see educational goal setting.
The second entry is a series of check points: "Discussed educational/career planning," "Reviewed Academic Progress," "Made Referral" and "Other Actions or Agreements." The advisor checks the type(s) of topics covered in an advising session to ease searching the notes later for specific recommendations. This kind of entry can be made only once per day, but additional checks can be added to the same line if an advisor sees a student more than once on the same day. Click here to view the Check Points box.
The third entry box is for the actual notes. It operates similarly to the goals section. While the check points identify the type of topic, it is important to add brief clarifying information through the notes section, i. e. "referred to the Learning Center for math tutoring" or "initiated a PEP for substituting …." In writing advising notes, it is best to be clear and succinct, recognizing that future advisors will rely on your notes to inform their work. It is also wise to remember that the students will read everything that is written, possibly when you are not there to provide explanations of your intentions. Click here to view the notes entry and log.
Guidelines for entering advising comments
Keep entries as brief and succinct as possible while providing enough information to aid future advising interactions. The Advising Center at Missouri State University has developed a very useful list of guidelines for advising notes. You can review these guidelines here.
Noting personal issues If a student raises a personal issue which is relevant to an advising matter under discussion, it may be appropriate to refer to such issues simply as "personal problems" in an entry rather than providing specific, detailed information. If it assists you in your advising role to keep more specific notes about a student's personal issues, you may keep private notes for your own use. As long as they are not shared with anyone else, or kept in the student's advising file, private advising notes are not considered part of the student's record, and neither the student nor others have a right to access them.
If you need to correct a comment after it has been entered,you may enter an additional comment referring to the previous comment and the correction.
Proofread lengthier entries Because an Advising Notes entry cannot be edited after it has been submitted, you may want to proofread longer entries.
When writing advising comments in Advising Notes it is important to keep in mind that
- the comments you enter are available for viewing by the advisee about whom they have been written.
- the comments you enter can be viewed by other faculty and staff with authorized "advisor" access including professional advisors, faculty, administrative staff, and advising support staff.
- the comments you enter in Advising Notes on SUOnline fall within the University's definition of a student's "education record" and are subject to the Student Records Guidelines (76-9) created to protect the privacy of the education records of students. You can review the guidelines here.
The professional and ethical responsibilities for viewing, entering, changing, and sharing academic information about a student are described in the National Academic Advising Association's Statement of Core Values of Academic Advising:
Advisors respect the rights of students to have information about themselves kept confidential. Advisors share information with others about students and their programs only when both advisor and student believe that information is relevant and will result in increased information or assistance, assessment, and provision of appropriate services to the student.
Advisors gain access to and use computerized information about students only when that information is relevant to the advising they are doing with that particular student. Advisors enter or change information on students' records only when legitimately authorized to do so.
Advisors need to document advising contacts adequately to aid subsequent advising interactions.
How to print a copy
To print the notes, click on the "submit" button at the bottom of the page. A printable version of the screen will show in a browser window which can then be printed by clicking on the print icon. This function will work most readily when using a current version of Explorer that has the "shrink-to-fit" option included in the print preview function.
Where to get help
Department chairs, associate deans and professional advisors have all seen demonstrations of SU Online Advising Notes and can answer questions you may have about their use.