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DegreeWorks Makes Advising at AAMU Easier

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Kandace Betts of the Registrar's Office (seated) shows aspects of DegreeWorks to (l-r) junior food science major Carla Cannon of Mobile, Ala., and sophomore marketing major Michael Plattenburg, also of Mobile.

 

Student affairs personnel at Alabama A&M University are working feverishly to make students aware of a new initiative that will make the overall advising experience more hands-on, as well as more effective throughout students’ matriculation.


To achieve a comprehensive, user-friendly and web-based academic advising and degree audit mechanism for AAMU students and their advisors, the Registrar’s office has launched DegreeWorks, a popular tool and product of Ellucian, based in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area.

 

AAMU students and advisors who access the system via their online account have immediate access to a given student’s records, along with the requirements and most recent updates and/or modifications to the curriculum.  Staff say the new program could allow the completion of an advising session in some situations in as little as three to five minutes.

 

Complete College America commissioned a policy brief two years ago that collected data from more than 300 public two-year and four-year institutions in 30 degree-works.jpg
states.  CCA found that nearly 70 percent of college students were not enrolled in a schedule that would lead to on-time graduation, even if they never switched majors, failed a class, or sat in a class they did not need.  The report also found that more than 50 percent of students who were considered “full-time” were taking less than the 15 hours needed for on-time graduation.

 

Additionally, CCA found that, nationwide, at most public universities, only 19 percent of full-time students earn a bachelor’s degree in four years. Even at selective, research-intensive state flagship universities, only 36 percent of full-time students complete their bachelor’s degree on time, or in four years.  Among the list of causes of slow student progress is the breakdown in communication between the advisor and student.

 

“The key message here is that time is money,” stresses Dr. Gary Crosby, AAMU interim vice president for student affairs.  “In simpler terms: the longer a student is in school, the more debt he/she will incur.”

This is why the addition of DegreeWorks is such an asset as a self-help advising tool to keep students on the road to graduation, states Kandace Betts of the Registrar’s office.  More forward-thinking departments and faculty members have already received training and are already on their way toward becoming more efficient advisors.

 

According to Registrar Brenda Williams, through DegreeWorks, a student will have immediate access to GPA, classification, holds, major/minor/concentration info, a list of classes needed and the grades needed to satisfy curriculum, and class availability. 

 

A marketing push for the new web-based tool and related training sessions will continue throughout spring semester 2016, says Venita Clisby King, AAMU director of admissions.

- Jerome Saintjones

 

Alabama A&M University
303 Patton Hall
Normal, AL 35762-1027
(256) 372-5654
(256) 372-5034 (Fax)
 
Jerome Saintjones, jerome.saintjones@aamu.edu, (256) 372-5607
Shirley Alexander, shirley.alexander@aamu.edu, (256) 372-5607
Interns/Bi-Weekly Students: (256) 372-5625