Webinar series to help instructors and staff prepare to support students in fall

'Countdown to Fall: Student Support and Engagement Series' will begin Monday, July 27

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The University is launching a webinar series intended to help Penn State instructors and staff prepare to support students returning to campus and learning from home this fall. The Countdown to Fall: Student Support and Engagement Series will be delivered daily via Zoom, from noon to 1 p.m., over three weeks beginning Monday, July 27.

“Our intention for this webinar series is to provide a platform for instructors and staff across the University to share innovative ideas and strategic connections as they prepare to support students this fall, united by a strong sense of caring for our students and a commitment to providing a cohesive experience,” said Penn State Executive Vice President and Provost Nick Jones, whose office is sponsoring the series.

The 15-part series, which will feature Penn State instructors, staff and student presenters, will highlight emerging best practices for supporting students despite the limitations and stressors of a global pandemic, including the unique challenge of engaging and supporting students who will be learning via different modes of instruction and living/learning options. The series will provide an opportunity for participants to learn from their colleagues about the good work happening to support first-year and continuing students.

“The coronavirus pandemic is requiring everyone in higher education, including Penn State instructors and staff, to develop entirely new paradigms for teaching, learning and supporting students in and out of the classroom,” said Jones. “This webinar series is intended to inform this work and encourage instructors and staff to turn to one another for ideas and support as we collectively navigate this new terrain.”

Each week’s webinars will cover topics related to a different theme:

Week One: Preparing for Fall

  • Monday, July 27 — Building Your College or Campus First-Year Engagement Plan

  • Tuesday, July 28 — Lessons Learned from Summer

  • Wednesday, July 29 — Supporting Campus Community Diversity and Inclusivity

  • Thursday, July 30 — Preparing Students to Be Tech-Ready

  • Friday, July 31 — Innovative Virtual Connections

Week Two: Student Support

  • Monday, Aug. 3 — Academic Advising

  • Tuesday, Aug. 4 — Health and Wellness

  • Wednesday, Aug. 5 — Student Care and Advocacy

  • Thursday, Aug. 6 — Academic Support

  • Friday, Aug. 7 — Special Student Populations

Week Three: Student Engagement and Co-Curricular Learning

  • Monday, Aug. 10 — Welcome Week

  • Tuesday, Aug. 11 — Student Activities and Advocacy Units

  • Wednesday, Aug. 12 — Career Success and Leadership

  • Thursday, Aug. 13 — Supporting Students on and off Campus

  • Friday, Aug. 14 — Academic Engagement

All Penn State instructors, advisers and staff who directly engage students are encouraged to attend. The Zoom webinars, which will be held from noon to 1 p.m. each business day beginning Monday, July 27, through Friday, Aug. 14, can be accessed at

Attendees do not need to register in advance. Presentations will be recorded and available for future viewing. A schedule is available at The site will also include the links to the recorded sessions.  

Last Updated July 24, 2020