COVID-19: Student Information and Resources

The information on this page was last updated on Friday, August 7, 2020, and is updated as new information is available. Please contact the appropriate area below for additional details.

College of IST faculty and staff continue to be available to support and guide students during the coronavirus pandemic. Review the information below to learn how to connect with IST academic advisers, career coaches, diversity and inclusion advocates, and other representatives.

If you have questions about your IST experience that aren't answered below, please complete the online question form. Additional information related to the University's plan for the fall semester can be found at virusinfo.psu.edu.

Dean's Town Halls for IST Students

Join Dean Andrew Sears and other College of IST leadership in a discussion about how we are preparing to welcome students back to campus this fall. Submit your questions to ist.psu.edu/student-townhall-questions.

Upcoming town halls will be held on:

  • Wednesday, August 19, from 4-5 p.m.

Learn more about the University's Back To State plan at virusinfo.psu.edu/back-to-state.

Learn More

Penn State is planning to resume on-campus work and learning in the fall semester. For more information, review the University's Back To State plan.

For more information regarding on-campus housing for the fall semester, visit housing.psu.edu.

Keep Learning

Visit the University's Keep Learning site for resources, information, and support you need for your fall courses.

Class Format

Courses for the fall semester will be offered as either in-person or remote. Faculty members teaching in-person courses can either teach the entire class on campus, or through a mixed mode, where classes may be modified to minimize the number of students in a classroom at a given time--for example, breaking students into smaller groups with one group attending in-person instruction one day and learning remotely the next, while the other group does the opposite.

Students currently enrolled in an in-person or mixed-mode section that are interested in changing to the remote section of that class (if a remote section is offered for that course) should contact their academic adviser.

Students are encouraged to check Canvas for the planned delivery mode for each of their scheduled courses. Faculty will be posting their instruction plans for each course to Canvas in the near future.

Attendance

The University has guidelines about attendance that faculty incorporate into their syllabi. It is up to each faculty member to handle attendance as they determine appropriate, and while faculty are asked to be flexible and understanding with challenges, it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to understand expectations of each of their classes.

Learning Support

Review the University’s online guide and visit keeplearning.psu.edu for tips on how you can build positive study habits in your new environment. We know you are likely dealing with new responsibilities and distractions away from campus. If you are feeling overwhelmed, confused, or just have questions, please reach out to a member of IST’s Academic Services team for support. We are here to help.

Faculty Support and Office Hours

With many students likely to take a mix of in-person and virtual courses this fall, IST faculty have been guided by two principles: understand that many students are facing additional anxiety and offer flexibility where appropriate. If you are facing extenuating circumstances that are interfering with your coursework, please discuss with your instructor. Faculty are expected to hold regular office hours, though it is at the faculty member’s discretion if they want to hold them virtually or in-person.

Peer Tutoring

Peer tutoring will be virtual during the fall semester during normally scheduled hours (Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7-10 p.m.), and tutors are planning additional workshops to best assist students. Teaching and Learning Assistants will continue to provide support and work with their assigned faculty member to determine if virtual or in-person support is most appropriate. Visit the college’s learning support site for more information.

The Office of Undergraduate Academic Advising will be open virtually Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. EST.

Advising Appointments

All advising appointments will take place via Zoom. You may schedule appointments with your assigned adviser via starfish.psu.edu. Please monitor your Penn State email for details regarding how to access your Advising Zoom appointment.

Emailing your assigned adviser is always an option for quick questions or guidance. Students without an assigned adviser can email advising@ist.psu.edu with questions.

Drop-in Advising

Virtual sessions via Zoom capped at 10 minutes in length for quick questions that do not require a scheduled appointment. August's drop-in schedule can be found on the Undergraduate Academic Advising page and listed on the events calendar.

Email

As per usual, emailing your assigned adviser is always an option for quick questions or guidance. Advisers will answer emails in the order they receive them. Please do not send multiple emails to multiple advisers as this will only delay our abilities to respond to students in a timely manner. Students without an assigned adviser can email advising@ist.psu.edu with questions.

Phone

The Undergraduate Advising Office can be reached at (814) 865-8947. Please leave a detailed message with your name and student ID number. Please note that advisers will give priority to scheduled appointments and incoming emails; speaking directly to an adviser will be unlikely. Scheduling an advising appointment is the most efficient way to access your adviser.

The Office of Career Solutions and Corporate Engagement will be open virtually Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Career Coaching Appointments

All career appointments will take place via Zoom. You may schedule appointments with a career counselor via starfish.psu.edu. If there are no appointments that will work with your schedule, please email careers@ist.psu.edu and one of the career coaches will contact you to schedule an appointment. A link will be shared with you through your Penn State email prior to the meeting.

Internship Questions

Students are encouraged to begin pursuing internships as early as possible and to watch their emails for new virtual opportunities. Contact careers@ist.psu.edu if you are looking for an internship or have found an internship and wish to receive credit for IST 495. Remember the internship must be approved by the Office of Career Solutions before you can be registered for the required course. Additional options have been made available for students graduating in or before spring 2021. Review these options and connect with a career coach for more information.

Pro Expo Career Fair

The Pro Expo Career Fair will be held virtually on Monday, September 14, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The college is preparing the virtual platform in concert with the University and coordinating materials to ready students to connect 1:1 with recruiters in virtual rooms.

The Office of Inclusion and Diversity Engagement will be open virtually Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. EST and after hours on a limited basis for special meetings.

Student Appointments

Schedule a virtual appointment by emailing a request to diversity@ist.psu.edu. OIDE appointments will take place via Zoom or phone depending. A link will be shared with you through your Penn State email prior to the meeting.

Faculty and Staff Appointments

Contact Kate Nelson at kot5176@psu.edu to set up a virtual appointment with Jason Gines or Madhavi Kari in the Office of Inclusion and Diversity Engagement. For Zoom, a link will be shared with you through your Penn State email prior to the meeting.

Student Organizations

IST student organizations continue to plan for a successful fall semester, including workshops, presentations, and other events, as well as welcoming new members. For a list of the college's student organizations and other engagement opportunities, visit ist.psu.edu/engage.

Events

At this time, we anticipate that most will become virtual events given space limitations and health and safety guidelines. Watch the IST events calendar for the most up-to-date information.

Questions and Additional Information

Request an Appointment

The Office of Graduate Programs will not be holding regular office hours during the fall semester. If you have questions about course registration, comprehensive exams, final exam scheduling, degree requirements, or other matters, contact Jenna Sieber at graduateprograms@ist.psu.edu to requestion a virtual or phone appointment.

With the July 14 reversal of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy that could have blocked the ability for many international students to remain in or enter the United States, there are still many open questions and concerns as it relates to Fall 2020. This is a fluid situation. Students should visit the Office of Global Programs for the most up-to-date information, or connect with their primary University contact for additional guidance.

New international students can defer enrollment in the College of IST from fall 2020 to spring 2021. However, the ability to defer financial support depends on the source of support and whether the funding will be available in the spring. Each student should connect with your faculty adviser to discuss your specific circumstances and options for enrollment. Students who were already scheduled to be Teaching Assistants should contact Dr. Mary Beth Rosson and Dr. Dave Fusco to determine if the associated funding would still be available if admission is deferred to spring 2021.

The Westgate Building will be open in the fall semester. Many non-classroom and student spaces will be open, but they will be adjusted or limited to provide appropriate social distancing. Some spaces, such as conference rooms, will be converted into workspaces where students can connect to virtual classrooms.

The University will provide two face coverings to each student, faculty, and staff member that must be worn when on campus. Hand sanitizer stations will be available across campus, classrooms and labs will be cleaned and disinfected regularly, and health and safety information will be posted prominently. Learn more about the steps the University is taking, as well as information on other campus facilities, on Penn State's coronavirus website.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unexpected financial hardship for many students. Contact scholarships@ist.psu.edu to connect with an IST representative who can assist you in finding potential funding sources.

For information on how to conduct your responsibilities, visit ist.psu.edu/coronavirus/learning.

Stay tuned to the University's Return to Research guidelines for the most up-to-date information on the phased increase in on-campus research-related activities.

Undergraduate and graduate student researchers that require access to on-campus labs to conduct their research should contact their faculty adviser.

If you are experiencing technical issues or challenges, please contact the IST Helpdesk at helpdesk@ist.psu.edu. You can also find additional information and support on the University's Remote Learning website.