Mapping the future

Degree planning collaboration between UND and NDSU give students more direct path to graduate on time

Degree planner

UND has joined North Dakota State University in launching of a degree map, an online tool that students and advisers can use to create flexible road maps to timely graduation. Photo by Shawna Schill/UND Today.

As Karissa Crofoot logged on to the new UND degree map, a graphic appeared, telling her that one of her majors, pre-elementary education, is 91 percent complete.

“I have a lot of majors and minors, so I didn’t know how close I was,” said the junior from New Hope, Minn., who is majoring in elementary and middle level education. “I found out I’m closer to a special education minor than I thought. This will definitely help me graduate on time.”

The new degree map launches today, but students are already finding and using it.

“It’s very easy to use and fun to see where I’m at,” said Crofoot. “I told my roommates and education friends, and they were excited to use it and plan their schedules.”

Software for success

“Students have found the link,” said Patty Dorsher, assistant registrar. “One nursing student found it and planned her entire four year degree!”

“The students in our office seem to log in every day and play with it,” said Scott Correll, UND registrar. “The students like to see what they’re doing and how fast they can earn their degree.”

“Scott Correll identified the technology to help our students understand their standing and time to graduation,” said Tom DiLorenzo, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “He is constantly tearing down barriers that get in the way of our students progressing in a timely fashion.”

The degree map extracts graduation requirements from Campus Connection and allows students to plan their courses semester by semester. It reads prerequisites, lets students know if courses will be offered in the fall, spring or every other year, and gives them a printable plan for their four-year degree.

It also lets them compare degrees in case they want to look at other majors. It even details typical careers for each major, national and state salary ranges and skill sets.

Scott Correll

UND Registrar Scott Correll says the degree planner allows students to plan their courses semester by semester. It reads prerequisites, lets student see if and when future courses will be offered and gives them a printable plan for their four-degree. Photo by Shawna Schill.

Testing and verifying

Most of all, it should help students graduate on time, said Correll.

“I think students will be more actively engaged in developing a four-year graduation plan,” he said.

The degree map is an action item for Goal 2, increase graduation and retention, of the One UND Strategic Plan.

A team from UND and NDSU worked together to select Civitas Learning through a bidding process. Other North Dakota University System campuses were also invited to take part.

The bid was awarded in December, and UND began implementing the software in February with the help of NDUS Core Technology Services. The registrar’s office spent most of the summer doing user testing and verifying data, then began a soft launch this fall. NDSU will launch later this year.

“It’s a visual display,” Correll said. “Green means you’ve satisfied requirements, blue means it’s in progress, and orange marks courses to be taken. Students can drag and drop courses into the planner, explore degrees and compare requirements. I think students will like it.”

“The degree map helps me plan my degree more strategically,” said Crofoot. “I can plan all four years and drag in courses. My advisors, past and present courses, and transfer courses are all available on the main screen.”

It will help students, said Correll.

“The sooner a student completes a degree, the less debt they will have and the more they will earn,” Correll said. “Why pay tuition for a fifth year when you can make money instead?”