Advising tool being created

Lindsey Reed

Picking classes may get easier for students and their advisers as the university plans to create an online degree auditing program.

Administrators will meet later this week to discuss how and when to start implementing the system, Registrar Freida Eggleton said. The program is designed to help transfers and current students in the advisement process.

Discussion of the online degree auditing system came up Thursday during an academic forum hosted by Student Government Association.

Six students, including SGA executive officers, attended the forum.

The online degree audit program would allow an adviser and student to go online and see how courses will apply toward the student’s degree during advisement, Eggleton said.

The idea spawned from a requirement by the Council on Post-Secondary Education for each state university to use a Course Applicability System, which is intended to help transfer students, Eggleton said. The CPE is not requiring an online degree audit program.

“The purpose is to permit students wanting to transfer to Western to see how their courses from another school would work toward a specific major at Western,” she said.

The system would be set up by the course catalog year, Eggleton said. The university needs the online degree audit for CAS to work.

Luther Hughes, associate vice president of Academic Affairs, said that the new system would help the advising process.

“It will enable the students to basically do a little more advising themselves,” he said.

SGA President John Bradley said, “It will help take out human error.”

Bradley said the system would also make it easier for students because it would take the stress out of filling out forms.

Hughes said the time needed to design and implement the program is not definite.

Bradley also suggested during the forum reducing the number of hours required for a baccalaureate degree to 128 from 120.

“It makes it easier for the full- time student taking 15 hours to graduate,” Bradley said.

Eggelton said that the University of Kentucky currently requires 120 hours.

Provost Barbara Burch said one of the reasons it takes students longer to graduate is because they change majors.

“I have a hunch that the same students who take longer now will take longer with 120,” Burch said. “I think you could live with either one.”

Burch said being in college an extra semester to finish a major could be beneficial by allowing students to take other classes of interest.

“It’s becoming more and more important to display more than just your major,” Burch said.

John Petersen, associate vice president of Academic Affairs, said it was hard to define what the minimum level of coursework is that warrants an academic degree.

Frankfort senior Heather Howard came to the forum to get feedback on why she isn’t able to graduate with both a Bachelor of Science degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Howard will be graduating with a double major in human resource management and economics, but she can only list one of the baccalaureate degrees for her diploma.

Eggleton said her transcript will show one degree with a double major.

“This is not uncommon,” Eggleton said. “It’s just how baccalaureate programs are set up.”

Eggleton said a student wanting a second baccalaureate degree has to take 30 more hours with a minimum of 15 hours earned in completion of a new major.

The undergraduate catalog states on page 33 that “although students may pursue multiple majors and minors, two baccalaureate degrees may not be earned concurrently at Western Kentucky University.”

“I think it’s something that really needs to be looked into,” Howard said.

Bradley said he didn’t think there was a problem in the way the requirements are designed, but said advisers should make sure to inform students of the extra hours required to earn two different baccalaureate degrees.

Reach Lindsey Reed at [email protected]