New initiatives help students move faster toward degrees

Two new initiatives promise to help students plan their education and progress faster and more successfully toward their bachelor’s degrees.

NAU will introduce centralized transfer credit processing, which will give prospective students an immediate evaluation of their transfer credits at the time of admission, and an integrated electronic academic-planning service.

The new initiatives are expected to be in full swing in the fall.

“Both of these initiatives will help students register for the right courses and get on a fast track toward graduation,” said NAU PresidentJohn Haeger. “Students also will be able to track their progression as they go.”

The new transfer procedure, called Centralized Transfer Credit Processing, is requiring some restructuring in the Office of the Registrar and the former Academic Information Office, now called the Office of Curriculum and Academic Systems Administration. Selected personnel from both offices have moved to Admissions to work on the project.

The other new initiative is a complement to NAU’s person-to-person advising services. The university is introducing a system of web-based degree planning, career exploration and enrollment tools.

This project, informally called e-Planning, will build a web-based interface for students and advisers that will help students explore majors and careers, select courses and develop a plan for graduation. The system will keep students updated on their academic progress and enable the university to track student progression toward a degree and intervene when students get off track.

“The integration of curriculum and student information will give students, advisers and university administrators more tools to use for planning,” said Karen Pugliesi, vice provost for Academic Affairs. “We believe we will increase student persistence, encourage students to take advantage of learning opportunities and reduce time to graduation.”

Other organizational changes have been made to support the e-Planning initiative. Personnel from the Gateway Student Success Center and the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Administration have joined Curriculum and Academic Systems Administration. Additionally, the Registrar’s Office is reporting to Academic Affairs.

The president is using federal stimulus funds to develop the initiatives. “It’s important that we use these stimulus funds in a way that will serve the university in the long run,” Haeger said.