New GPS to replace KAPS reports Fall 2011

Rachel Hagenbaugh

Call it an Idiot’s Guide to getting a college degree. The KAPS report is out and GPS is in.

Some students drop out of college because they get confused, discouraged and off track with their plans for college, said Deborah Barber, executive director of degree planning. The Graduation Planning System will help diminish these issues by simplifying a student’s understanding of the courses they need in order to graduate.

“Some students don’t feel like they’re getting anywhere,” said Sally Kandel, associate vice president of academic operations and administration. “We wanted to find more efficient ways to increase GPA.”

There are three components to the GPS: degree auditing, planning and tracking. The degree auditing — which will replace the KAPS report audit — and the planning features have already been tested by 85 Kent State students, and will be implemented beginning Fall 2011 for 2010 catalogue students and above.

“It shows you everything you need to graduate, which is really helpful,” said Hannah Fox, a sophomore psychology major.

Michael Gershe, academic adviser and coordinator for the College of Technology, said the KAPS report used coding that was difficult for students to understand. It was also hard for advisors to make substitutions and add exceptions for classes, he added.

The degree audit will clearly show what courses the students have taken and still need to take to graduate, Kandel said.

Student already using KAPS to plan their graduation requirements can stick with their current programs or opt in to use GPS. Only students who declared their major 2010 or later will be switched to the GPS automatically, Barber said.

The second component of the GPS system includes a roadmap, or a generalized plan for a student’s bachelor’s or associate’s degree. The roadmap lists the courses a student needs to take each semester to graduate in a certain amount of time.

GPS also includes an individualized plan students can set up themselves online. The roadmap is a guide, Kandel said, but based on a student’s preferences, they create their own plan.

“This plan helps students set goals and plan out their lives better,” Gershe said.

Gershe said he thinks the plan will also get some students thinking about taking a summer class. If they’ve failed a class or don’t want to take 15 credits a semester, they can account for that during a summer session.

Students who wish to study abroad or obtain a bachelor’s degree in three years could also accommodate those plans with this new system, Barber said.

Tracking is the third component of the GPS program, which will be tested in the summer of 2012. Once implemented, this system will notify advisors if a student is not on track with their plan, Barber said. The advisor will e-mail the student and set up a time to meet and rearrange the plan to get the student back on track.

Provost Robert Frank said the GPS plan would gives students a better understanding of how to prepare for the upcoming semesters. This plan will help students make advising appointments for purposes other than scheduling their classes.

“Students spend too much time worrying about their degree requirements,” he said, “instead of figuring out if that major is right for them.”

Contact academic and faculty affairs reporter Rachel Hagenbaugh at [email protected].