The information on this page was last updated on Monday, April 5, 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. To make an appointment with an Academic Services team member, visit ist.psu.edu/appointments.
Additional information related to the University's response can be found at virusinfo.psu.edu.
Academic Services Quick Links
- Academic Advising - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Careers and Internships - email@example.com
- Graduate Programs - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Inclusion and Diversity Engagement - email@example.com
- Learning Resources - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Peer Tutoring - email@example.com
- Prospective Students - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Student Engagement - ISTengage@psu.edu
University Support Resources
Optional Alternative Grading
Penn State's Faculty Senate voted to reinstate an optional alternative grading system for undergraduate students for the spring 2021 semester. Students should use caution and consult with their academic adviser to consider the potential long-term applications of selecting an alternative grade.
Optional alternative grading (OAG) is available for graduate students with special circumstances for the Spring 2021 semester and IUG and undergraduate students in graduate courses via an exception process. To learn more visit the Graduate School website.
Penn State will host in-person commencement ceremonies in May to mark the class of 2021’s completion of their academic experience and to recognize their many accomplishments. Virtual and livestream options also will be available for students, friends and family members who are unable to attend or prefer to participate online. Visit Penn State News for more details.
The summer semester will again use Penn State’s COVID-19 instructional modes, but will maximize the number of in-person courses based on space utilization, including continued use of non-traditional spaces for instruction – such as event spaces and outdoor tents – and the public health guidance at the time. In addition to in-person courses there will be some remote options, both synchronous and asynchronous.
The fall semester will more closely resemble Penn State’s in-person instructional experience, while continuing to offer a full range of web classes. Classes will be scheduled using the University’s non-COVID modes of instruction.
Beginning February 15 and through the spring 2021 semester, the Westgate Building will be open to the public at the following times. IST students, staff, and faculty can access the building after hours by swiping their Penn State ID card. Please note that holidays or other events could impact these hours.
- Mondays - 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
- Tuesdays - 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
- Wednesdays - 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
- Thursdays - 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
- Fridays - 6:30 a.m.-7 p.m.
- Saturdays - 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Sundays - 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Classroom and Study Spaces
The College of IST maintains classrooms in E165, E202, E203, E208, and E213 Westgate Building, which have been arranged to allow for social distancing. Please do not rearrange any furniture or remove any barricade tape, and be sure to follow all posted signage for available seats.
Westgate Building conference rooms E101 and E102 can be used as remote learning locations for students across the University. Classroom E165 is reserved for IST students between classes and/or for a remote learning location and will be card accessible. These rooms are not reservable throughout the semester.
The University provided two face coverings to each student, faculty, and staff member. Face coverings must be worn when on campus. Hand sanitizer stations are available across campus, classrooms and labs are cleaned and disinfected regularly, and health and safety information is 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.
Visit the University's Keep Learning site for resources, information, and support you need for your courses.
Courses are currently 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, this may be done by 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 are encouraged to check Canvas for the planned delivery mode for each of their scheduled courses and additional guidance from their course instructors.
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. While faculty are asked to be flexible and understanding with challenges, it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to understand the expectations of each of their classes.
Review the University’s online guide and visit keeplearning.psu.edu for tips on how you can build positive study habits. We know you are likely dealing with new responsibilities and distractions. 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 taking a mix of in-person and virtual courses, 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 them 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.
Virtual peer tutoring is available throughout the 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 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 is open virtually Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ET.
Penn State announced that it is planning to continue flexible instructional modes for the spring 2021 semester, provided that the public health landscape allows for some in-person instruction. Students should meet with their advisers to plan their courses and make sure their on track for entrance to major, graduation, and other important milestones.
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 virtual Advising appointment.
Emailing your assigned adviser is always an option for quick questions or guidance. Students without an assigned adviser can email email@example.com with their questions.
Ten-minute virtual sessions are available for quick questions that do not require a scheduled appointment. The drop-in schedule can be found on the Undergraduate Academic Advising page.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
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. ET.
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 email@example.com and a career coach will contact you to schedule an appointment. A link will be shared with you through your Penn State email prior to the meeting.
Students are encouraged to begin pursuing internships as early as possible and to watch their emails for new virtual opportunities. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org 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 fall 2021. Review these options and connect with a career coach for more information.
For a complete list of upcoming career-related events, visit the events calendar.
The Office of Inclusion and Diversity Engagement is open virtually Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ET and after hours on a limited basis for special meetings.
Schedule a virtual appointment by emailing a request to email@example.com. OIDE appointments will take place via phone or Zoom, with a link shared through your Penn State email prior to the meeting.
Faculty and Staff Appointments
Contact Kate Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
IST student organizations are connecting students during the fall semester through workshops, presentations, and other events. Many organizations continue to welcome new members. For a list of the college's student organizations and other engagement opportunities, visit ist.psu.edu/engage.
Fall events are being held virtually throughout the fall with limited exceptions. Watch the IST events calendar for the most up-to-date information.
Questions and Additional Information
- COVID-19 Updates for Graduate Students
- For general inquiries contact email@example.com.
- Current students should contact Jenna Sieber at firstname.lastname@example.org or your adviser for assistance.
Request an Appointment
The Office of Graduate Programs is not holding regular office hours until further notice. If you have questions about course registration, comprehensive exams, final exam scheduling, degree requirements, or other matters, contact Jenna Sieber at email@example.com to request a virtual or phone appointment.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unexpected financial hardship for many students. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to connect with an IST representative who can assist you in finding potential funding sources.
Review 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.