Augustana’s academic planner, which was introduced last year, continues to grow in popularity among students and faculty.
While a pilot group of only 10 students and five advising faculty used it last spring, registrar Joni Krueger says somewhere between 10 and 15 percent of students currently have a plan through the program.
“Students as a whole are like, ‘I love this, this is so cool.’” Krueger said.
This semester will also be the first in which freshmen are allowed to register by themselves using the planner.
Chemistry professor Barret Eichler said he thinks this will move both students and faculty towards fully utilizing it.
“When you leave something optional, people will take forever to adopt it,” Eichler said.
Krueger said a handful of other schools are also beginning to use the planning software, and several more are coming to Augustana for advice on how to get started.
According to Eichler, this trend is encouraging because it projects the program’s longevity.
“Many other campuses have moved to academic planning systems like this, so it is not like we are trying out a new technology that will be going away,” Eichler said.
Senior Amanda Turner agrees, saying that although her registering experiences were never unpleasant, she wishes the academic planner was an option for her as an underclassman.
“I did pretty much the same thing the academic planner does, but it would have been nice if I had it to do it for me,” Turner, who wrote out a three-year plan in an Excel spreadsheet, said.
Freshman Erin Kinder, on the other hand, will never register using anything but the planner.
“I think it’s helpful that they started us out using the planner because I don’t have to learn a new way,” Kinder said.
Conducting academic planning exclusively online, Krueger says, provides an efficient way for the registrar’s office to know what classes should be offered during what semesters.
Previously, this task was difficult because there was no way to know how many students were planning on taking a certain course during any given semester.
“We can really use it as a predictor,” Krueger said.
Turner said this was especially a problem when it came to needing two classes that were offered at the same time. If the registrar knew so many people needed both, she said, perhaps it would not conflict the classes’ schedules.
Biology professor Paul Egland agreed that it has the potential to relieve stress for planning-inclined students and staff.
“Those that really like to plan get a lot of comfort from seeing how everything will fit together,” Egland said.
According to Krueger, the academic planner was not necessary only for convenience. She said students sometimes struggle with being able to “see the finish line,” especially when they have chosen a major and are deciding whether to stay at Augustana.
“It’s a way for them to see how it all maps out,” Krueger said.
Introducing the planner to Augustana was a smooth transition despite a few technological glitches, Krueger said. Eichler agreed, saying the issues were minimal.
“There has been a learning curve, but it is very easy once you get a few of the basics down,” Eichler said.
A problem with the planner’s degree audit was what brought Kinder, a biology and sociology major with a Spanish minor, to seek help from Krueger when the planner said she could not finish her sociology major in four years.
“I didn’t know when I was going to fit them in because I have 16 or 17 credits in every semester,” Kinder said, but added that she found plenty of room to complete her degree in four years.
Krueger said the registrar’s office is working with Augustana’s information technology department to sort out any technological issues before registration begins on Monday, Nov. 18.