Advising program lets students navigate future

Allison Smith

GPS ensures no students get lost

On Aug. 17, Kent State launched a new system to make it easier for students to plan their academic careers. The system is called Graduation Planning System, or GPS, and is designed to help students take the correct classes to graduate on time.

Deborah Barber, executive director of GPS and Student Success, said the name for the system worked well with Destination Kent State.

“The roadmaps are the path to graduation, so it’s all about the journey and the destination,” Barber said. “So when Destination Kent State came on board, you know, it’s continuing that same kind of idea. So we thought that was kind of a neat approach.”

Barber said GPS is in phase one, and she has been working on the Web site for a year.

“The idea is to give students clear pathways to graduation,” Barber said. “Hopefully, ultimately, this roadmap idea and KAPS will marry.”

She said the roadmaps are a breakdown of a major by semester, so students know exactly what they are supposed to take when they need to take it.

“We’ve checked all of these and re-checked them all, so all of your prerequisites happen before the courses,” Barber said. “And if it’s a course that’s offered only in the fall or only in the spring, which many courses are, that it’s in the right semester on the roadmap.”

Barber said right now the roadmaps are in PDF files, but once they are automated, each student’s roadmap will be individualized for the student.

She said, for now, students will be able to access GPS through the Kent State Web site. When the roadmaps become individualized, then students will be able to access them through FlashLine.

Another feature of GPS is the ability to search for majors broadly by picking an interest area. Barber said students can narrow their search by picking which campus they wish to take courses at.

“We have a description here that talks about characteristics of people that tend to go into these areas,” Barber said. “So all of the majors that fit this interest area come up.”

Barber said phase two of GPS will have interactive maps for each campus where students can click on a building and see a picture or click on a dining facility and see a menu. Barber said with the current maps, students can hover their mouse over a certain area and see information about that certain area of campus.

Contact principal reporter Allison Smith at [email protected].