Starting this summer, Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) students will have a new tool to help them chart their progress toward graduation. DegreeWorks – an advising, transfer articulation and degree audit program – has been integrated into SPSU’s existing Banner system and will be available to students in mid-May or early June.
“Students, for the first time, will have the opportunity to see their degree programs from the perspective of both an advisor and the registrar’s office,” said Steve Hamrick, registrar and assistant to the vice president for Academic Affairs.
“Students will have the ability to find out what courses they need to graduate and where they are in terms of finishing their degrees. Degree requirements are put into the system based on department and major. Once a student develops a graduation plan with their advisor, DegreeWorks applies that plan to the graduation requirements and shows where each planned course will fit, complete with a progress bar for degree completion,” Hamrick explained.
In addition to providing degree requirements, DegreeWorks also functions as an academic planning tool. Hamrick believes that students will benefit from the GPA calculators. “There are several, one of which will show your current classes and allow you to speculate about what grade you might earn. It will project a GPA based on whatever you decide to input,” he said. There will also be a “what if” tab that allows students to select another major to see how courses already completed would fit into that degree program.
The program will also bring efficiency and convenience to time-consuming tasks such as getting exceptions and substitutions approved.
“Currently, students have to fill out a paper form, get it signed by visiting multiple offices and then return it to the registrar’s office for processing,” he added. “With DegreeWorks, students will be able to submit a petition online at any time. No more running around campus seeking signatures, and when the petition moves through various points of processing, students will be able to see where it is and what is happening with it.”
DegreeWorks has been on the horizon for some time now. SPSU staff members have been adding degree requirements to the system since December 2010 as each department approves them. These requirements will continue to be refined and changed over the next few months. As students and faculty use the program, any flaws detected will be repaired. Currently, Hamrick estimates that the system is already 95 percent accurate.