PDA and advisors team up for graduation success

Lordana Guillaume/ Contributing writer

Keeping track of required courses just got a makeover.

A year after the introduction of the Panther Degree Audit, Undergraduate Education is rolling out a new program Oct. 1 designed to track student progress under the Graduation Success Initiative.

“GSI takes information from MyMajorMatch and the Panther Degree Audit and combines it with My e-Advisor, which makes it a more integrated and interactive experience for the student,” said Valerie Morgan, assistant dean of undergraduate education for the Biscayne Bay Campus. “It serves as a replacement for the Student Academic Support System reports, which had to be accessed on a different site using a different set of login information data.”

My e-Advisor allows students and their advisors to view a student’s progress on their Major Maps in a collaborative manner, so they can plan their courses. The program alerts both parties when the student falls off track and has a section containing advising notes that are available for viewing at any time.

Christina Saintlouis, a junior studying recreational therapy, believes that the Panther Degree Audit has been useful.

“It is helpful to see courses that you need for your [University Core Curriculum] and how many classes you have left until you graduate,” Saintlouis said.

Jessica Martinez, junior public relations major, found benefits in the system as well.

“It’s much easier and faster to look online [rather] than to make an appointment with an advisor,” she said. “When I made an appointment with an advisor, I was able to meet a week later.”

Despite the support provided by the Audit, advisors have not seen a decrease in the amount of students who come in.

Moira Lertora, coordinator of Student Support Services at BBC, believes that there has been no decrease in students coming through her office.

“I continue to see the same number, if not more, students utilizing the office. The PDA provides students with a guide of their degree progress, but many of them still have questions about which courses are best for them. I therefore encourage students to regularly meet with their advisors,” Lertora said.

Despite PDA assistance, Saintlouis believes that advisors are still very much needed because they are able to provide advice, where the PDA cannot.

“Advisors will still always be needed because they can help guide you if you are considering changing a major or can help you with paperwork in regards to transient courses,” Saintlouis said.

Farida Quant, a sophomore studying civil engineering, needed more help on her freshman year.

“My first semester I had a math class that I needed to drop and I didn’t know how, so I had to meet with an advisor,” Quant said.

Lertora advises students to make sure that they regularly meet up with their advisor to avoid discrepancies.

“I always encourage students to follow up with an advisor regularly. This ensures that all records are up to date and that in making course selection students enroll in the best courses for their needs,” Lertora said.

Students can access more information about GSI, along with its integration with MyMajor and My e-Advisor by logging on to gsi.fiu.edu.

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