Griffon GPS launches

By Taylor Enyeart

April 9, 2014

A GPS is a popular tool for travelers in America – people like to know where they are going, how long it will take to get there and any problems they may run into along the way. Missouri Western has now provided a navigation tool for students to use as they travel down the road to graduation.

The Griffon Graduation Planning System (GPS) is the newest addition to the registrar’s site. The Griffon GPS tool replaced and updated the previous degree audit function. The new tool allows students to check if they are on the right track for graduation and what classes they are missing, along with other important information.

Matt McDonald, degree audit coordinator in the registrar’s office, headed the implementation of Griffon GPS.

“The old degree audit wasn’t user-friendly, especially for advisors and students using it,” McDonald said.

Even for the employees in the registrar’s office, the old degree audit system was muddled and hard to understand. Because of this, the office hoped to have the new system up-and-running before fall advisement began, and reached their goal when it became live almost three weeks ago.

Susan Bracciano, Western’s registrar, said the Griffon GPS tool had been on her wish list for years, but the budget hadn’t allowed for it.

Bracciano said the $135,000 that the university has spent on the program is a combination of funds from the university reserves, the registrar’s office, academic affairs and information technology services.

Timbre Gardner, a sophomore marketing and management major, had both positive and negative comments about the program. She said she likes how it shows both her grade point average and what classes she needs to take to finish her degree, but also had a problem with the audit information.

“Since I’m a double major, it doesn’t show both of my majors at the same time, so it looks like I’m closer to graduation than I really am,” Gardner said.

The problem Gardner is running in to may be a common one for underclassmen who are double majoring. Since she has not fully enrolled in the double major program, but rather has only filed the pre-major form, the Griffon GPS has not registered that she is double majoring.

McDonald says, however, that once a student is fully enrolled in the double major program of their choice, the system will show a full degree audit with both majors taken into account.

“There are still going to be a few problems here and there, but we are working on them,” Bracciano said. “We are open to feedback from both advisors and students. We need help identifying problems to make the system as accurate as possible.”

McDonald said that the office at first hit “rough waters” with some of the advisors that were reluctant to the change in programs. However, after more exposure and training, he said that the program has grown on them.

Overall, McDonald said that the registrar was pleased with the outcome of the Griffon GPS program. Bracciano felt the same.

“We have gotten a lot of good feedback, which is great,” she said.