Fostering student success and keeping students on track to graduation

Campus-wide support, the involvement of stakeholders, and easy product usage made the adoption of Ellucian® Degree Works™ fast and strong at the University of Alabama.

Ellucian Degree Works is a comprehensive set of web-based academic advising, degree audit, and transfer articulation tools to help students and their advisors negotiate an institution’s curriculum requirements.

“Degree Works is being looked at and touched all day every day,” emphasized Denny Savage, associate registrar for Academic Services.

“It is used day to day by our advising community.  And the Office of the University Registrar uses it for degree checkout constantly to verify completion of students’ programs in advance of commencement ceremonies.”

To encourage student adoption, the university offered several book scholarships to students who built educational planners using the software. Also, the colleges and advising offices mandate that students have plans in place before coming to advisement class. Students use the Planner, a tool within Degree Works, to create a personalized semester-by-semester academic plan. The university also gives students an overview of Degree Works during freshman orientation.

“Our freshmen are using Degree Works before they even set foot on campus,” said Savage. “Students make heavy use of the educational planner and we’ve also gotten good feedback on the GPA calculators.”

“One of my favorite features is the ‘what if’ tab,” said Meg McCrummen, Student Government Association (SGA) chief of staff at the university. “It helps you understand how far along you would be in your degree if you changed your major, and how a change in a major would affect the courses that you would need to take and the length of time that you will be at the university.”

The SGA quickly put its support behind the product when they saw its value, and students continue to drive further staff adoption of the solution.

“Degree Works has demystified advising and made students take responsibility for their academic path,” said Michael George, university registrar. “Now when they see their advisors, they have already looked at their plan and audit and are better prepared to have a meaningful discussion. Degree Works supports the university’s goal of being student centric and supporting our students.”

The university will continue to promote the value of the product to its students, with an added emphasis on students in their third year and beyond who are not using the product as heavily as first- and second-year students. But once students interact with the product, it is likely they will continue to leverage its powerful features.

“When I say that Degree Works is this revolutionary program and it is going to change our academic lives, my friends laugh at me and roll their eyes, but I do believe that it’s true,” said McCrummen. “Degree Works is so simple and so easy to use. It leads students through what they need to graduate.”  To read more, visit


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