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Academic Advising News

Academic Advising News is published as a service of the Academic Advising Portal, an academic advising and information website maintained by Penn State's Division of Undergraduate Studies.

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Academic Advising News: February 2016

February 1, 2016

Starfish for Student Success at is a new web resource to help the Penn State community learn more about the Starfish Enterprise Success Platform that will integrate with LionPATH to provide academic advising tools in time for New Student Orientation 2016.

Sponsored by the Division of Undergraduate Studies, the Academic Advising Noon Seminar series serves as a forum for the discussion of academic advising issues. These events are open to all interested Penn State faculty and staff. The February session offers limited seating and is also available via Adobe Connect:

College Student Mental Health: Equipping Advisers to Refer and Care for Students
Noon to 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12
C-9 Atherton Hall, University Park
Hosted by Schreyer Honors College

Prerequisites for calculus-sequence math courses will be enforced at the time of registration for students scheduling fall 2016 courses. Students must either have earned credit for the prerequisite course or have a qualifying ALEKS score in order to schedule MATH 004, 021, 022, 026, 040, 041, 110, 140, or 141. Students who are currently enrolled in the prerequisite course may conditionally enroll in the next level, but will be disenrolled if they fail or drop the prerequisite course.

New students admitted for summer and fall 2016 will access ALEKS via LionPATH and must complete an ALEKS assessment before receiving a date to attend New Student Orientation. Students can continue to use ALEKS to review their math skills and complete up to two additional assessments until the end of the drop/add period of fall 2016. At that point, ALEKS math assessment is no longer available and students will need to abide by their ALEKS placement in scheduling calculus-sequence math courses.

Members of the LionPATH project team will be holding several regional events throughout the Commonwealth this spring to provide project updates, show a demo of the new system, and give the Penn State community an opportunity to ask questions about the project. These events are open to all staff and faculty.

This issue of LionPATH Email Updates announces the formation of a specific advising team within the LionPATH project and gives tips and tutorials to help the advising community prepare for the mid-February release of the Advisor Center. Also in this issue are links to two blog posts of particular importance: New Enrollment Process Replaces SCHED to REG and Looking Toward Academic Advising Go-Live

To see current and archived LionPATH advising updates and/or to join the advising listserv, visit LionPATH Email Updates.

Academic Advising News: January 2016

January 1, 2016

Any faculty, staff, student, or community member may nominate a Penn State undergraduate student from any campus for the annual Rock Ethics Institute Stand Up Award. This award honors students who have demonstrated courage, fortitude, and ethical leadership by taking a stand for a person, cause, or belief. This year’s nomination deadline is January 29, and the nomination form is available at 2016 Stand Up Award Nominator. Students selected for the award will be honored at a ceremony in spring 2016 and will also each receive a $1,000 award.

Although enrollment in Penn State’s Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) initiative is optional at this time, all Penn State faculty and staff will be required to fully enroll and use the added security measure by the end of spring semester 2016. Answers to many questions about 2FA are available at WebAccess Rollout.

Visitors to Penn State University Libraries’ website may start to notice a few changes by the end of 2015. The Libraries will receive a new home page in advance of the spring 2016 semester, marking the halfway point and the first public phase of a two-year, iterative process to migrate its web content to a new responsive design and Drupal content management platform.

Academic Advising News: December 2015

December 1, 2015

Following collaboration between the University Faculty Senate and the Division of Undergraduate Studies, Policies and Rules for Undergraduate Students and the Undergraduate Advising Handbook now have notations alerting readers to policy changes that are pending implementation. A red asterisk in the handbook index indicates a pending change. The corresponding handbook section includes the Faculty Senate policy number and a link to the current policy, which leads to the legislative report showing the policy revision. For example, in the handbook index entry for Class Attendance, readers will see a red asterisk in the margin and the following statement in the related handbook section:

Current policy reflected below. Changes to Faculty Senate Policy 42-27 (Class Attendance) pending implementation.

By instituting this alert system, the handbook can continue to reflect current academic information and at the same time help the advising community prepare for upcoming changes to policies. As procedural changes are implemented, the handbook will be updated accordingly.

Marc Lowenstein’s guest remarks during Penn State’s Sept. 2015 academic advising conference focused on “Predicting and Envisioning the Future of Academic Advising” and encouraged the advising community to contribute directly to the teaching and learning mission of higher education. In a recent article published in The Mentor: An Academic Advising Journal, Dr. Ilya Winham of the University of Georgia offers an enlightening report and commentary on Lowenstein’s keynote address.  

In remarks to University administrators on Oct. 21, Executive Vice President and Provost Nicholas P. Jones introduced the Starfish Enterprise Success Platform, a Hobson, Inc., suite of academic advising tools selected by Penn State to integrate with LionPATH and replace current ISIS and eLion advising features that deliver advising notes, early progress reports and online scheduling of advising appointments.

A mid-February LionPATH release will introduce several key advising features, including Class Search (will allow users to search for classes within a specific term), Schedule Builder (an interactive way for students and advisers to compare possible scheduling combinations), and the Advisor Center (will include academic, biographical, and demographic student-level information; a Catalog Search; and Faculty Search). Though not all advising functions will be available with this roll out, future releases will provide more. To see current and archived LionPATH advising updates and/or to join the advising listserv, visit LionPATH Email Updates.

Academic Advising News: November 2015

November 1, 2015

The LionPATH advising team successfully advocated for resources to fill gaps between current advising tools, early progress reporting needs, and delivered functionality in LionPATH. After a Request for Proposal process, the Starfish Enterprise Success Platform (which includes Early Alert, Connect, and Advising solutions) has been selected to meet the University’s advising and early progress reporting needs and will replace eLion and college-hosted advising systems while complementing the delivered LionPATH Advisor Center. An implementation team is being assembled under the leadership of David Smith, associate dean for advising and executive director of the Division of Undergraduate Studies. 

The opportunities and resources students have to help enhance their undergraduate experiences will be discussed during the next episode of WPSU Penn State’s “Higher Education in Focus” with Penn State President Eric Barron. The show will air at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5 on WPSU-TV and WPSU-FM.

On Monday, Nov. 16, noon–1:00 p.m., in the Mann Assembly Room of the Paterno Library at University Park, the advising community is invited to learn about the English for Professional Purposes Intercultural Center (EPPIC) and how it promotes advanced English communication skills for international students, faculty, and researchers across the University. Meredith Doran, Ph.D., administrative director of EPPIC, will discuss the center's offerings and how advisers may refer students.

Through Friday, Nov. 6, students may nominate advisers for the 2016 Penn State Excellence in Academic Advising Award. Sponsored by the University Advising Council and the Office for Undergraduate Education, the award recognizes advising excellence. One award is given annually to a faculty member who advises and one to a staff academic adviser. All current full-time University employees with advising responsibilities and two years of experience are eligible. Students who wish to nominate an adviser may complete a short, online form at

Academic Advising News: October 2015

October 1, 2015

Every semester the Division of Undergraduate Studies invites the Penn State community to hour-long presentations featuring academic advising topics. These sessions provide opportunities for professional development, networking and advising discussions. No registration is necessary, and all faculty and staff members are welcome to attend.

The first year of college can be trying for many students; new responsibilities and expectations in a new environment can be overwhelming. “During this time, students may experience five transitional stages,” according to Kendra Sites, academic support center director at Penn State Mont Alto, “and helping them to understand that what they are experiencing is normal, is key to helping them transition and adjust to college life.”

As the 2015 Penn State class comes together to explore the rise of fracking in the United States, students are invited to meet Wall Street Journal senior energy reporter Russell Gold, author of this year’s Penn State Reads book, “The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World.”

Academic Advising News: September 2015

September 1, 2015

“Looking to the Future: The Importance of the Academic Adviser in Higher Education” is the theme of the 14th annual professional development conference on academic advising, scheduled to take place Friday, Sept. 11, at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel on the University Park campus. To view the schedule of events, visit; to register, go to

Prior to logging into the LionPATH system, new users will need to enroll in the Penn State Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) service with Duo Security. If you already use a legacy form of second-factor authentication (such as the RSA or Vasco tokens), you will continue to use these devices to authenticate to services such as ISIS, IBIS, and services enforcing the use of the legacy devices. However, these tokens will NOT work with LionPATH.

The sixth annual Business Majors Night will take place 6:30–8:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 1, in 110 Business Building, University Park. Students interested in studying business are welcome to hear short presentations from representatives in the many colleges that offer majors with a focus on business. Additional resources about majors and minors that relate to specific interest areas such as business are available in MajorQuest and MinorQuest

Academic Advising News: August 2015

August 1, 2015

LionPATH summer news includes a look at the steps involved in building LionPATH from the ground up, a list of advising tools that will be added via a vendor-delivered product, the new Schedule Builder tool that will search for classes and plan a student’s semester, and the August 15 go-live plan for Undergraduate Admissions. Read more about these updates below and/or subscribe to future news at LionPATH Email Updates.

Sign up today for an Adobe Connect presentation offered Thursday, August 6, 10:00 a.m. to noon. Presented by the Directorate of International Students and Scholars Advising (DISSA), the workshop will address immigration-related issues and regulations that can affect the international student’s stay at Penn State, including pre-arrival information, visa delays/late arrivals, document check-in, eForm requests, summer enrollment, reduced course loads, distance education, employment, etc. Register to attend by emailing Janice Brown at

Registration is open for the Annual Professional Development Conference on Academic Advising: “Looking to the Future: The Importance of the Academic Adviser in Higher Education.” This year’s workshops, presentations, and posters will examine diverse measures that support, uplift, challenge, develop, and analyze the adviser’s work, dreams, and growth. Keynote speaker Marc Lowenstein, Ph.D., will discuss the future of advising, including forces outside the field that could affect advising in the years to come. 

Academic Advising News: July 2015

July 1, 2015

The most recent issue of The Journal of General Education: A Curricular Commons of the Humanities and Science contains seven articles highlighting the relationships between General Education and academic advising. Guest editor Eric R. White, Ed.D., contributed “The Foundational Role of Academic Advising in General Education” as the introduction to this issue. The Journal of General Education is published by the Penn State University Press and is the professional forum for discussing issues in general education today. 

To help students more effectively use MajorQuest, the program's Interest Key link now leads to an expanded description of each interest area. The descriptions now include examples of past learning and experiences that can affirm a student's interests and better relate them to areaa of study.

The LionPATH training team has been developing materials needed to train the Penn State community on the new student system LionPATH. The training will be offered in self-paced learning, as well as face-to-face and web-based training. This blended approach will allow end-users to learn in a manner that best suits their schedules and learning styles.

Penn State Reads invites first-year students to participate in an essay contest to further engage with the themes of the 2015 Penn State Reads selection, "The Boom," by Russell Gold. Responses to one of the prompts will be judged based on connection to the Penn State values, a demonstrated ability to think critically about the prompt, responsiveness to the prompt, literary style, and grammar. The top two submissions will be displayed on the Penn State Reads website. Winners will receive a prize of a $100 Amazon gift card, as well as the opportunity to meet Gold when he is on campus October 12-14, 2015.

Academic Advising News: June 2015

June 1, 2015

On Friday, Sept. 11, the fourteenth annual professional development conference on academic advising will take place at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, State College. This year's theme is "Looking to the Future: The Importance of the Academic Adviser in Higher Education."

The program will feature a keynote address by guest speaker Marc Lowenstein, Ph.D., who suggests thinking about the future may begin by predicting, with a focus on how forces outside advising will affect our work and on possible changes in the tools we will use.

The Division of Undergraduate Studies launched a new website recently to help students learn to explore majors and minors, connect goals and interests to areas of study, and better understand the value and purpose of a college education.

At, undergraduate students can take advantage of tools, resources, and advising assistance to find majors that fit them well and make informed decisions about other academic opportunities, such as minors, certificates, and concurrent majors. The site additionally highlights ways for students to fully engage in a total college experience that can include research, study abroad, internships, leadership roles, and service-learning programs.

Volunteer readers from the Penn State community are invited to take part in choosing the 2016–17 Penn State Reads common text. The Penn State Reads steering committee collected book nominations earlier this year and narrowed the submissions to a short list of eight books, including:

— “The Good Food Revolution,” by Will Allen
— “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking,” by Susan Cain
— “The Circle,” by Dave Eggers
— “The Invisible Man,” by Ralph Ellison
— “Far From the Tree,” by Andrew Solomon
— “Paul Robeson: A Life of Activism and Art,” by Lindsey Swindall
— “Warmth of Other Suns,” by Isabel Wilkerson
— “Covering,” by Kenji Yoshino

Academic Advising News: May 2015

May 1, 2015

On Wednesday, May 13, 1:00–5:00 p.m., in 010 Sparks Building, University Park, the advising community is invited to view a demonstration of Starfish Retention Solutions, a comprehensive software system that the LionPATH advising team is considering as a robust University-wide advising toolkit. On May 4, will send an email reminder to members of the advising community with details and a request to RSVP for either a seat in 010 Sparks or participation via Adobe Connect.

Proposals are now being accepted for presentations, workshops and posters for Penn State’s 14th annual Professional Development Conference on Academic Advising, scheduled to take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sept. 11, at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, University Park. Proposals are due not later than May 15, and the submission form is available at

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Margaret A. Sebastianelli, senior undergraduate studies programs coordinator and director of student services in the College of Health and Human Development, and Beth Seymour, pre-major adviser and education abroad coordinator at Penn State Altoona, have been selected as the recipients for the 2015 Penn State Excellence in Advising Award.

Students interested in learning Arabic may be eligible for federally funded scholarships available through the STARTTALK Arabic AcademyJune 11–July 8, at University Park. Additional scholarships and opportunities to learn other less commonly taught languages, such as Chinese, Korean, Turkish (listed under LANG in the Schedule of Courses), and Russian will be offered this summer through the Language Institute at Penn State. Please contact the institute director, Elena Galinova (, with any further inquiries.