When it comes to enterprise-level academic advising solutions, there aren't a lot of options. In fact, quite a few schools end up building homegrown applications to meet their needs. Often interfacing with student information systems, advising solutions are ironically enough, not exactly as well known or thought out, as systems for financial aid, human resources, and registration. Academic advising systems generally consist of 3 options: paper-based with little (or none at all) enterprise level support, paper-based with some systems-integration, or paperless with all advising processes being accessible via computer.
In my former position as an academic advisor at Oregon State University (OSU), we were in full-on "paper mode." However, OSU was working on transitioning to an electronic advising solution when I left to pursue my new role as a higher education consultant. The solution that OSU ended up rolling out was DegreeWorks from SunGard Higher Education. Dubbed "MyDegrees," the platform, which integrates with SunGard's Banner SIS, provides a variety of features for students and advisors at OSU including:
- Degree checklists
- What if scenarios
- Educational plans
- Advising notes
- GPA calculator
- Course forecasting
It will be interesting to see if SunGard's new partnership with Rhomobile will accelerate mobile access/functionality for the DegreeWorks platform. While DegreeWorks might not be the most aesthetically friendly interface, the functionality that it provides will be a huge asset to the academic advising community at OSU.
For institutions that utilize the Datatel SIS, the e-Advising solution provides comparable functionality to DegreeWorks. Another exciting higher education solutions provider is Starfish Retention Solutions. Starfish's new collaboration with Noel-Levitz is noteworthy as it combines retention strategies with early-warning/tracking solutions.
What academic advising solutions do you use at your campus?
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