The University is implementing a new software package, Degree Works, to help students, advisors, faculty, and administrators with degree tracking, auditing, and planning.  I would like to provide an overview of the program and where we stand as we head toward a soft rollout in the Spring 2019 semester, with full use by Fall 2019.

Degree Works is a web-based audit tool that will provide a clear and convenient method for: viewing and tracking requirements for the degree and major program declared by a student; supporting more timely degree certification by reducing paperwork and manual degree certification checklists; aiding departments in forecasting course capacity demand based on an assessment of how many students will need courses in future semesters. The program compares degree requirements and coursework completed to produce an easy-to-read worksheet that helps students, advisors, and faculty view the degree requirements by categories (GER, Core, Major, Minor).  Users have direct access through hyperlinks to view course descriptions, prerequisites, co-requisites, and class schedule for courses by clicking on the requirements within their degree audit.

There are three components to the program that make it function seamlessly for users, but which require a good bit of work on the install/launch side. The base package covers 90% of the functionality. Since it is catalog-driven, Degree Works pulls degree completion requirements directly from the catalog under which a student entered the University. For native students pursuing a generic major, the base package will work well for degree tracking and auditing. We have tested this portion of the program extensively throughout the Fall semester, multiple training workshops have been conducted, and users seem pretty pleased with this portion of the program's functionality.

A second component of Degree Works adds functionality for all students, but is particularly useful for students following concentrations, advising tracks, customized majors, and those on catalog years prior to 2017-18.  Student Educational Planner (SEP) allows students and advisors to lay out a recommended sequence of classes that fulfill program requirements. SEP is the tool that enables departments to communicate things like preferred courses within Charger Foundations for specific majors, and to streamline degree completion for non-standard students.  SEP has been demoed to a few advisors within colleges but there is significant work to be done before it can be shared more broadly.  Since SEP is template-driven, meaning there has to be pathways template developed for every major, minor, concentration, and track, considerable time will be spent during the Spring 2019 semester developing and uploading templates for use by students and advisors. Once these templates are in place, training can then be conducted in the same manner as was done for the base package. SEP has the potential to be a very powerful tool once it is launched. 

The final component of Degree Works, Transfer Equivalency (TE), is designed to more efficiently and accurately guide transfer students. TE provides easy-to-use tools for articulating and mapping courses, as well as processing transcripts.  It also has a self-service tool for transfer students to self-articulate their own coursework, providing greater clarity to students so that they know exactly where they stand in meeting course and degree requirements.  Work is just now starting on the implementation of Transfer Equivalency, with functionality not expected until sometime late in the Spring semester.

The expectation is that we will all be able to use the base program in the Spring 2019 semester, with extensive training for the two additional programs ongoing through the Spring. By Fall 2019 we will officially launch and move away from current practices such as CAPP and paper advising sheets.

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