New system will speed up graduation process

Estimated time to process by hand the 1,375 graduation applications the registrar’s staff received last fall: about 19 days. Without sleeping. Or doing anything else.

That’s why some seniors received their graduation audit reports – which let them know what classes they need to take to graduate – after the beginning of their final semester.

So it should come as good news to both enrollment staff members and future graduation-happy seniors that a new, automated system could be on its way. UAA Registrar Mary Howard wouldn’t discuss specific programs being considered, citing the confidential procurement process, but she said one such program would offer more access for students, staff and faculty, and allow administrators to generate reports to aid in planning course sizes and offerings. It would also allow students to see progress on their graduation applications and audits as it happens.

“It would cross all sectors on campus and be useful to everyone,” she said. “It would speed up our process tremendously. Within a year or two we will be able to turn things around in half the time.”

The university already has a similar program, Curriculum Advising and Program Planning, which most students know as the system by which they get their unofficial evaluations on Wolflink.

But Howard said the program was riddled with problems that prohibited its use for official business.

“CAPP has never seemed to be a very reliable program for us for a number of reasons,” she said. “It wasn’t very user friendly, and it took a lot of maintenance.”

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For example, she said it couldn’t accurately process requests that involved transfer students or those who have filed academic petitions.

The program has been around for several years, and UAF has been using it more extensively than it has been applied at UAA. UAF Associate Registrar for Graduation Melissa McGinty said her campus intends to stick with the CAPP program, which already has been programmed with requirements for nearly 60 percent of the programs there. UAF is still doing the evaluations by hand while the kinks are worked out – a process that takes about 20 minutes per application – and she said UAF expects all programs to be in the system by June.

“CAPP is effective,” she said. “It makes the process go a lot quicker. Once it gets up and running, it’s going to save not only our office a lot of time, but the students a lot of time.”

That sentiment was echoed by Kelly Poston, a former employee in publications and scheduling at UAA, who said she thought the program worked fine while she was working in Enrollment Services.

“I think it was very functional,” she said. “It doesn’t work now because no one stayed up on the programming. If Fairbanks is still using it, it must be working OK.”