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Monday, April 7, 2014

Q & A What is "Academic Advisement"?

Since ESUP announced the new Academic Advisement module in June 2013, that team has been hard at work reviewing and developing processes to support this new-to-the-University functionality for graduate programs. We asked them a few questions to learn what it’s all about and what it means for students, staff, and faculty. 

The Academic Advisement (AA) module in PeopleSoft is completely new to the University and the name seems a little confusing because it's not about advising students...can you explain a bit about what AA is?

Academic Advisement is just the name Oracle gave a set of functionality in PeopleSoft. It can do a lot of things, but right now the University is focused on using it to track the progress of graduate students completing their degree requirements.

Right now, that work is done mostly on paper, so this will be a big and positive change for graduate programs and students in them.

How will things change for students? Staff? Faculty?

As we mentioned, the current process for tracking degree requirements for graduate students is mostly paper-based. Until now, that’s actually been the most efficient way to track the complicated set of requirements for each student (e.g., majors, minors, tracks, policies, exceptions). There is already a system that handles this for undergraduate students (APAS), but it isn’t flexible enough to handle the sometimes very individual requirements graduate students have.

Moving to a more digital (and more automated) process will be a big change from the way students, staff, and faculty have done this in the past. The data will be more transparent to everyone involved, so students will have a better understanding of where they are in terms of their degree progress and what requirements they still need to fulfill. This should lead to better degree progress and more meaningful conversations between advisers and students seeking graduate degrees.

What have been the challenges up to this point?

Because graduate degree requirements are more varied than undergraduate degree requirements, the challenge has been in making sure we maximize the efficiencies technology can bring us while still being flexible enough to accommodate the wide variety of programs the University offers.

What has been a big win?

This has been a great opportunity to work really closely with representatives from colleges. The College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) has been a terrific partner in this process and has even agreed to be the pilot college for the Academic Advisement implementation. This is a big win because CEHD is one of the larger colleges with a wide variety of curriculum requirements across their graduate programs. The Academic Advisement team is therefore able to test many different student scenarios to ensure it works as planned.

What’s next for Academic Advisement?

We’re working on configuring the system to handle curriculum requirements and getting ready for the testing phase of ESUP. We’re also developing a post go-live schedule for bringing in the remaining colleges with graduate programs.

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