Practice space helps advising, academic support staff prepare for go-live

Who doesn't appreciate a zero-risk place to practice a new skill, maybe even make a few mistakes? More than 1,300 staff and faculty with student advising or similar academic support roles received access this week to a Workday Student practice site -- essentially a Dec. 30 copy of the real one -- that lets them do just that. It will be available through August as a tile on their Sign On dashboard and remains independent of the actual Workday platform. Anything that happens in the practice site stays there.

The intent is that when Workday Student's third rollout goes live on Monday, March 4, this group will have kicked the tires on the practice site, become more familiar with the platform and gained confidence in their ability to assist students with fall course registration later in the month.

Need access to the practice site?

If you think you're one of the 1,300+ but didn't see an email invitation from WorkCyte on Feb. 5, email

"We think the dominos begin with them," said Diann Burright, co-lead on the academic advising workstream committee and director of undergraduate student services in the Ivy College of Business. "The timing of this rollout is just weeks before course registration begins. Advisors understand they really are the first line of support come registration time, whether they work with graduate or undergraduate students. So, it's key that those folks are somewhat comfortable with the essential registration processes."

She said advisors were asking for such a site, "a place where they could poke around themselves, so they feel more confident about what they're telling their students."

Workstream co-lead and assistant registrar Matt Dikeman said faculty and staff can return to the practice site even after the go-live March date.

"We thought they might like to practice other things, for example, some of the tasks and processes they'll need to know for new student orientation in June," he said.

Watch, then practice

Burright noted that faculty and staff have access to many self-directed training videos and how to articles on the WorkCyte training website for an introduction to processes and functions.

"We're encouraging them to combine those [training materials] with the practice site, where they can mirror what they saw and do their own clicks to see how it works without any worry about messing up their data."

Who gets to use the practice site?

No, Iowa State doesn't have 1,300 academic advisors. The group with access to the practice site includes about 365 undergraduate academic advisors and another 162 staff members in positions such as academic support, career services or study abroad who assist Iowa State's roughly 24,000 undergraduates. On the graduate education side, it includes 850 faculty who serve on graduate committees as well as directors of graduate education or certificate studies (346) and those in student support roles (79). Several hundred people have multiple roles, and sifting out that duplication provides the smaller number.

Other employees who work with student data and would like access to the practice site may send a request to Be sure to include your campus role in your request.

Automated in Workday: Course prerequisite check, course waitlist

While advisors and others in a student academic support role need to relearn processes in Workday and adapt to some new vocabulary, two registration processes have been automated in Workday, lightening their load a bit.

The first, confirming that course prerequisites have been met will be an automated process at the time of registration, before enrollment is confirmed. In the legacy system, it was a manual process completed closer to the first week of class -- and often inconsistently across departments and colleges. When students want to request an exception for a prerequisite in Workday, they'll initiate an override request, and authorized approvers -- assigned by departments and colleges -- will review the request.

The second automated process creates, for the first time, a waitlist for many courses (indicated in the course description). In the past, students interested in a class simply had to keep checking back to see if any seats opened. In Workday, students can add their name to a waitlist for a course section that has filled. If a seat opens in that section, the first student on the list receives a notification in their Workday inbox and has 24 hours to register or defer to the next person on the list. The waitlist process will close at the end of the first week of class.


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