Maintaining record of interactions with students is essential for facilitating continuity in a student’s educational development. When you use Inspire to document the recommendations and interpretations you made to students during advising appointments, you protect both the student and the university. Documentation allows advising mistakes followed in good faith to be corrected. Documentation allows students to be held accountable to following correct instructions.

For academic advisors, documentation of recommendations and interpretation of policy is a basic expectation of professional and ethical practice. Moreover, accurate record-keeping is required by university policy. Notes maintained in Inspire are part of the student’s educational record and are viewable by individuals in specific roles and educational connections with the student.


Use of Inspire notes should be consistent with all federal and university policies, as well as the ethical standards of the advising field:

  • Respect for student confidentiality rights regarding personal information
  • Understanding of the institution’s interpretation of applicable laws such as the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
  • Accessing student information only when relevant to the educational process
  • Entering or changing information on students’ records only with appropriate institutional authorization to do so
  • Documenting contacts adequately to meet institutional disclosure guidelines and aid in subsequent educational interactions

When creating a new record in Inspire, users can see which other Inspire roles are permitted to view this note. Users can choose to email students a copy of Inspire notes they create. Students may request to see their Inspire notes under their FERPA rights.

Self-Check Questions When Accessing Student Records

When accessing student records, ask yourself:

  • Do I have a specific, job-related need to access this record?


Self-Check Questions When Entering Notes

When entering notes, assume others will read your notes. Ask yourself:

  • Is this something another Inspire user connected with this student would need to know?
  • Is this something the student would want other people to know?
  • Are the details in my notes based on fact? Or are they observation and personal perspective? Is the distinction clear and written in a non-judgmental tone?
  • Are my notes interpretable by someone else? Did I provide enough information for another to understand substance and context? Did I avoid using arcane acronyms?


Standard Topics to be Documented

Every substantial contact with a student or relating to a student should be documented, and should include appropriate details and the date of the interaction. Typically, this documentation includes the content of discussion with students, including interpretations of policy, issues raised, and recommendations made.

Sensitive Subject Matter

Caution should be exercised when documenting topics that contain sensitive subject matter. These include: disability, religious and/or political affiliation, sexual orientation, medical diagnoses, or information that could be potentially detrimental to the student if it were revealed to a third party. Care should be taken to avoid positing diagnoses or revealing specific diagnoses in the educational record.

Official documents related to these topics are not to be kept in Inspire notes, even if necessary for legitimate academic business. Records with medical or judicial content that are included in petitions to the University Faculty Senate, should be kept separately from the educational record, in a different location.

Policies on Disclosure of Student Records

Records in Inspire are visible to others in Inspire who have a legitimate educational need for that information and depending on the user’s Inspire roles and the permissions associated with the particular type of record.

Advising Notes Training Recording

The Office of Student Success offered a training session on advising notes best practices on January 21, 2022. Users are welcome to view the recorded session and access the training slides below.