Oct 13, 2017
A new tool will allow Humboldt State students to create a detailed four-year plan, helping them avoid roadblocks, and graduate on time—or even early. The tool also helps the University plan ahead with classes and curricula, hopefully increasing HSU’s graduation rates.
Students will find it easier to plot a course through their education.Students navigate an admittedly complicated path to a degree. To graduate, students must have successfully completed 120 units, an average of 15 per semester to complete in 4 years.
At least 48 of these units must come from a selection of general education courses that focus on diversity, effective communication and critical thinking, the arts, humanities, science, and society.
Another 40 are upper division courses, as well as courses relating to the student’s major, as required by each academic department.
Students have used the Degree Audit Reports for Students for 14 years, which compares a student’s academic history—the classes they’ve passed, the requirements they’ve met, etc.— with their degree requirements.
But until this semester, the future planning of a student’s college career had to be done on graph paper, post-its, or whatever else they could come up with, according to Registrar Clint Rebik. He oversaw the introduction of the degree planner tool, which was rolled out for all fall 2017 freshmen and transfer students.
The tool allows students to drag and drop classes into a four-year profile, building an outline semester by semester. The plan identifies basic problems with a student’s plan as well. It flags a class that if a student hasn’t taken its prerequisite, and will note if a department doesn’t typically offer a certain class during the semester a student chooses it. This allows students to move classes around until they have a plan that works. And, hopefully, reduces the occasional unpleasant surprises seniors have when they realize they’re missing a few units or a class didn’t meet a certain requirement.
It also gives them a big picture look at their education, and a conversation starter with their advisor, who can help students decide if they’re taking too many upper division courses early on, or putting off too many lower division requirements until their senior year, for example. For ambitious students, advisors can work with them on study habits and other methods for success.
Students can make as many four year plans as they like and adjust them constantly through their education, comparing emphases within a major, looking at what would happen if they changed a major, adding summer abroad programs, and other features.
For the University and academic departments, the online planner can be a powerful planning tool as well. The University can compile all of the outlines students have marked as a “starred plan,” giving academic departments a projection of when certain courses may be impacted so they can increase the availability of classes and reduce bottlenecks.
Rebik says the program had a soft launch this semester, and will continue to roll out the tool for more current students and future incoming classes.
“Those students that have jumped into planning have given us incredibly positive feedback,” he says. One transfer from a Southern California community college did her entire plan in her first weekend at HSU, Rebik says, expressing that she was thrilled by the opportunity to see a clear path to graduation.
Customized trainings for staff and faculty on the new planning program are available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. More information is available at the Office of the Registrar’s website.