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Originally published: 2012-10-16 11:39:06
Last modified: 2012-10-16 11:44:07

Tool to help students 'finish in four'

by Anna Oakes

Appalachian State University announced Tuesday that DegreeWorks, a web-based academic advising and degree audit tool, is now available to students at the university.

DegreeWorks is an academic planning tool with real-time counseling capabilities, intended to give students meaningful and consistent direction and to provide advisors and student records managers with up-to-date curriculum information.

With a theme of “Finish in Four,” the Division of Academic Affairs has implemented the degree audit tool for students in response to a request from the Student Government Association to help students navigate curriculum requirements and keep them on track to complete their college degree in four years, according to a news release from ASU.

“We believe DegreeWorks will empower students to assume more responsibility for taking the appropriate classes required in their intended major,” said Susan Davies, associate vice chancellor for enrollment management at ASU, in the release.

“This online tool makes degree requirements more transparent for the student, which will free up time in their advising appointments to focus on career aspiration rather than asking ‘What classes do I need to take,’” she said.

Students completing their degrees in four years will become more important for the university, as the University of North Carolina system is moving to a performance-based funding model and away from funding based on campus enrollment growth.

“The UNC system has been funding institutions primarily on enrollment growth,” ASU Provost Lori Gonzalez told local government leaders last spring. “You can only grow so much for so long.”

Six-year and four-year graduation rates are among the metrics by which campuses could be evaluated.

DegreeWorks allows students to explore “what if” scenarios, such as how a change in their major will impact the number of additional courses that will be required to graduate in four years.

Freshmen who entered ASU this fall learned about DegreeWorks during summer orientation, the release stated.

In the next year, additional options will be added to DegreeWorks. Students will have an opportunity to create a four-year plan using a curriculum planning tool, and academic departments will be able to use that information to better understand demand for certain classes when they are creating departmental class schedules.

More information about DegreeWorks is available at http://degreeworks.appstate.edu.