Degree Works throws wrench in registration

Caleb Riley

Fall registration began April 7, and the implementation of Core 39 threw a wrench in the way advising works at the university.

Along with Core 39, a new academic planner is being integrated to assist with advising, but it’s not quite ready. Degree Works will replace the Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS).

“DARS is ugly,” said Sarah Stevens, who heads the advising center in the College of Nursing and Health Professions.

She said Degree Works will be much more user-friendly and allow a lot more interactivity between students and advisers.

Degree Works will also have a “what-if” option for students considering switching majors or degrees, will assist students in creating a four-year plan and, according to Stevens, will be much easier to navigate than the DARS.

“Advisers can send (students) notes with their advising suggestions on Degree Works,” Stevens said.

It will also help students decide whether to switch to Core 39 or stick with the 50 hour University Core Curriculum.

“Students should wait until Degree Works is running and then choose which core curriculum suits them better,” Stevens said.

Tim Mahoney, a longtime economics instructor, said the way he advises students has changed since the implementation of Core 39.

“As advisers look at each student, we are trying to advise them toward courses that will work in the new core as well as the old one,” Mahoney said.

Because the old core requires 50 hours and the new one requires 39, Mahoney said more hours could be put toward a major, a minor or even multiples of each.

“Students need to invest in themselves and be as diverse as they can be and have multiple skillsets,” he said. “Even if a person doesn’t have an additional minor, different courses can make a difference in their life.”

Descriptions of the 150 courses approved for Core 39 are on the university’s website. Because the process of adding classes is still ongoing and the curriculum is dynamic, additional course proposals will be added to the core in the future.

Mark Krahling, Core 39 director, said the core was developed in three different stages.

The first stage was a taskforce headed by Michael Dixon and Dane Partridge.

“They were part of a group that put together the framework for Core 39,” Krahling said.

Following that, the Core Implementation Taskforce, directed by Kathy Rodgers and Stephen Spencer, worked to find the best way to employ the new core.

“The state said USI had to develop a 30-hour core that was transferable to other universities, and that’s what the Core Implementation Taskforce did,” Krahling said.

During the third and final stage, the University Core Counsel, led by Krahling, evaluated courses going into the Core 39 to see if they fit the plan for the new core.