New Paltz Implements New Progress Report System

SUNY New Paltz will be one of the first campuses in the SUNY 64-school system to implement a new progress report system called DegreeWorks.

The Provost of the SUNY system, David Lavallee mandated the change because he wants to see more transfer mobility, according to Registrar Bernadette Morris.

Morris said the Office of Records and Registration, Office of Admissions and Computer Services are working together toward implementing the new program.

She said the mandate was proposed in early 2011, and the goal is to have all SUNY New Paltz students use this system by spring 2014.

The new progress report system will allow students to enter in the courses they took at one SUNY school to see how they will meet another school’s general education requirements. SUNY New Paltz will also provide this feature for majors and minors,  Morris said.

“It is a superior product that other schools use,” Morris said. “It’s the benchmark across the nation.”

The fall 2013 first-year and transfer students will be the first to use this program, followed by the sophomores and juniors who will have their progress reports transformed during summer 2013. The 2014 senior class will graduate with the Degree Audit Reporting System.

Morris said third-year students are more likely to have “exceptions, wavers and substitutions” in their progress reports and these exceptions will not transfer over automatically. To remedy this, she said someone will be hired temporarily to manually transfer these exceptions and will split his or her time between the Office of Records and Registration and the Admissions Office.

Morris said the staff has done a lot to make this process easier.

“It’s an arduous task to change all of these things but we felt up for the task,” Morris said. “We have people here that are really driven that are willing to take on the work.”

SUNY New Paltz President Donald Christian said the new program will be “helpful” for students, and he believes it will create continuity that will be beneficial for not only currently enrolled students, but future transfers to the college.

“We think it will help students plan their academic programs more effectively…[and] will be helpful for their academic process,” Christian said.

Christian said in addition to implementing the program, different administrators across campus were trained to be adept at DegreeWorks.

Morris said she received training this summer to become familiar with the program along with Associate Registrar Laura Schultz, Assistant Registrar Karen Sumnick and Assistant Director of Transfer Admissions Jennifer Wawrzonek.

Schultz, Sumnick and Wawrzonek have shown this program to focus groups and several departments, not only to familiarize faculty but to gather feedback as well. Some of the groups include the Administrative Council and Cabinet of SUNY New Paltz and to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, among others.

According to Sumnick, this program will help fulfill several goals for SUNY New Paltz. It will create a “seamless transfer process” and increase graduation rates. Also, students will not have to apply for graduation. As they fulfill each requirement, a corresponding bar will collapse on the progress report and it will be clear to students and their advisors when they are ready to graduate.

Wawrzonek said this progress report will assist her in providing incoming transfer students with a credit evaluation. This credit evaluation will let the student know exactly how their credits will transfer over to the SUNY New Paltz curriculum and will help students make a more informed decision about whether they should transfer.

She said the program was tweaked based on feedback from advisors. Although there are green check marks that indicate completed classes on students progress reports, advisors are not able to see them. Schultz said that the new program will allow advisors to see exactly what the students see.

The new progress report breaks up general educations requirements by color and features a student’s overall grade point average and major grade point average. The courses listed in the progress report are hyperlinked to the course catalog so that a student can read the course description and see which semesters the class is offered.

An asterisk will indicate if the course has a prerequisite, and a legend will appear at the top and bottom of the progress report to define the signs located next to each course and requirement.

Wawrzonek said she encourages students to ask questions about the program.

“We’ve been immersed in this for months,” Wawrzonek said. “One of our goals is to get the word out there. We’re getting good at giving these presentations.”

Glenda Gregorio, a second-year marketing major who works at the Records and Registration office and was one of the first students at SUNY New Paltz to preview the program, said she sees no faults with DegreeWorks and cannot wait until it is launched.

“I liked the fact that everything that you need to know is right there,” Gregorio said. “If I were looking for the GEs that I need to take on the current program, I would have to scroll down my entire progress report. But on the new Degree Works program everything is there and [it] was relatively easier to find the requirements I still have to fulfill and the ones that I have completed.”

Morris said she urges students to attend general information sessions that will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 5 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Tuesday, Dec. 11 from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. both in Lecture Center (LC) 102.