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    New advising program geared to keep students on track, graduate

    A new advising program is in the works that will free UNF from its U Never Finish moniker, UNF officials said.

    The Roadmap Initiative will outline term-by-term the recommended courses students should take in the particular major they have chosen, said Dr. David Jaffee, Assistant Vice President of Undergraduate Studies at Academic Affairs.

    The program was modeled after the universal tracking system at the University of Florida as a way to provide students with guidance to move more expeditiously through their program, Jaffee said.

    Some students select majors without really knowing the full curriculum requirements,
    Jaffee said.

    The roadmaps provided for each course will show students the full curriculum expectations if they wanted to get a sense of what the program would look like if they were to do it in four years.

    The roadmap would benefit students with a chosen major as well as those who are undecided, Jaffee said.

    “If you do know your major, then you have the roadmap and it gives you a clear idea of what general education courses you should take, if any in particular would be preparatory for your major, and also outlines semester by semester the courses you would take,” Jaffee said. “So it’s kind of like the ideal schedule.”

    Developing the Roadmap Initiative will be a two-step process; the first step being the mapping of each program at UNF, a project that will take some time, Jaffee said.

    The second part will consist of the tracking and advising that will ensue from the development of the program.

    Initial efforts will focus on implementing roadmaps for pilot programs, and each college will be submitting two, Brown said.

    The key to the initiative will be the development of Milestone Markers, courses each department will identify as major courses in a program so students and advisers can gauge success and timely progress.

    The roadmaps will map out a four-year program consisting mostly of 17 credit-hour semesters, but the Milestone Markers will gauge student progress based on credits taken, rather than semesters completed and will alert advisers when a student is off-track based on Milestone Markers, Jaffee said.

    If roadmap tracking determines a student is off track, an adviser will contact them to offer help and determine a possible change in major, Jaffee said.

    “It really is a support system mechanism that, if works effectively, will probably lead to better retention and graduation rates,” Jaffee said.

    Those desired results have been confirmed by Institutional Research at the University of Florida, where the program originated.

    “The overall results have been that our graduation rates and retention rates have increased,” said Roxanne Barnett, senior Information Technology expert at UF.

    The added work has created a position that will be dedicated to the success of the program. A new adviser has been appointed to handle the task exclusively.

    Rachel Broderick has worked for UNF for 20 years, serving the past eight years as an adviser for the Brooks College of Health and will be taking the responsibility as Academic Roadmaps Adviser.

    She hopes the results of the tracking will help departments with schedule planning, she said.

    “They’re going to have to make some decisions based on the information we find,” Broderick said. “If we’re tracking students, we’re also letting departments know how many students they
    can expect.”

    Ideally, the initiative will let departments know where students are in their academic progress to open up extra sections to accommodate the “ideal schedule,” an issue that has caused some students at UNF to delay their graduation because of shortages in sections offered.

    Kyle Groothuis, a sophomore transportation and logistics major on the men’s basketball team said he has spoken to many athletes who have taken classes they didn’t need, setting them back in their academic progress.

    Like Groothius, sophomore civil engineering major Ray Ammons feels that not going to the adviser is stupid, and he has gone to one every semester, he said.

    E-mail Jonathan Morales at [email protected].

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