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Hege Library & Learning Technologies

Hege Academic Commons

Guide to information, resources, and support services with links to commons partners.

Best Practices for Distance Advising

When advising by phone, please follow FERPA guidelines and verify the identity of the student before beginning. The best way to do this is by asking the student for their full name and G# before beginning the conversation. It is also important to ask if there is anyone else on the line or in the room. If there is someone else on the line, ask the student if it’s OK for them to hear the conversation about grades, classes, and other personal information.

When email advising, you must communicate with the student via their Guilford email address to comply with FERPA guidelines. This is the best way to ensure privacy. Sharing pictures and/or pdfs of notes via email is very helpful for all students but especially for our students who rely on visuals for understanding a variety of concepts. You can also work on a shared document in Google docs as long as you are using their email address. Google Chat is not recommended for discussing advising issues, but can be useful for setting up and confirming appointments.

When video/virtual advising, please contact the student ahead of time to confirm that you will both be in private locations during the call. Resource from University of Michigan with instructions.  

The best way to follow-up with documentation regarding the advising appointment is to send it to the student’s Guilford email address for their review. When recording student meeting notes, please add as much information as you can to Navigate. You can create an advising report or a notes summary and attach a pdf of the email and/or planning documents.

Please keep as many notes as possible in Navigate so colleagues can review and/or take over advising in case of staff/faculty illness.  

Advising Manual for Faculty and Staff

Please view our Advising Manual (Fall 2020) here for resources and guidance on academic advising, including advising worksheets to use with students and other important documents. 

FERPA information 

  • NACADA article on distance advising with FERPA guideline shared by Alfred. 

  • Brief overview of FERPA recommendations from NACADA article:

What are issues related to FERPA and distance advising?

Advising at a distance adds a level of complexity to adhering to FERPA. Unlike face-to-face advising, authentication of the person communicating with an advisor electronically is more difficult. While institutional policies differ, there are several common policy elements that include:

  • Clarification of the differences between public and private information; making sure that the advising staff is trained to know these differences.

  • Responding only to requests that use institutional email addresses for private information.

  • Before responding to a request seeking private information, advisors should use probing questions to solicit specific personal information for identification. If the probing questions are not answered correctly, then private information should not be shared.

For more information, go to the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web site that addresses FERPA issues.