Penn InTouch 2000: A New Resource for Academic Advising

Provost Robert L. Barchi announced that undergraduates will have a new resource for exploring academic options when Penn InTouch 2000 has its initial launch today. The new degree planning and audit system is another step in Penn's continuing effort to improve students' electronic access to course and transcript information and grew out of conversations Provost Barchi had with the Council of Undergraduate Deans (CUD) in the Spring of 1999. Penn InTouch 2000 will give faculty and staff advisors access to students' academic plans in order to aid in academic advising and help track graduation requirements.

"Our students need to have the best resources available to them when considering their academic choices," said Provost Barchi. "Penn InTouch 2000 will make their choices more clear, and will facilitate a better use of their time with their advisors."

When fully operational the new system will:

  • Provide undergraduate students with a tool for tracking progress towards completion of degree requirements.
  • Serve as a tool in the exploration of academic options by allowing the creation of "what if" scenarios in degree planning-students will be able to create and save unofficial electronic worksheets as they explore alternative academic plans and advisors can create an official worksheet once an unofficial course of study has been approved.
  • Permit students and their advisors to concentrate on creating a challenging academic experience rather than focusing on the mechanical aspects of selecting courses and meeting requirements.

Undergraduate academic advisors have had web-based access to the registration information and transcripts of their advisees since the Spring semester. Implementation of the electronic worksheet in the student participation phase will further aid advisors and students in planning and reviewing programs of study by providing a common, easily accessible tracking tool.

The system will be launched in a test phase to students today. At that time:

  • Students in the College and College of General Studies will be able to use the system to review their academic plans and progress for requirements outside of their major. In addition, students planning or actively pursuing majors in Classical Studies, History, Mathematics, or Sociology can initiate plans and review progress toward their major. The other 44 College majors will be phased-in during the year.
  • Undergraduate students in the School of Engineering and Applied Science will have access to curriculum worksheets for all degree programs with requirements that are in effect as of Fall, 2000. For students who are following degree requirements prior to Fall, 2000, additional worksheets may be developed at a later date, after the preliminary launch. Also, worksheets for joint and dual degree programs will be implemented at a later date.
  • Undergraduate students in School of Nursing will have access to their complete curriculum. Students pursuing a joint degree with Wharton or Engineering will have access to their worksheets by the completion of the Spring 2001 semester.
  • Students in the Wharton Undergraduate Division will be able to use the system to review their completed coursework and to plan areas of study. For the initial roll-out, students in the Wharton single degree programs will have access to the curriculum worksheets for the Accounting, Finance, Management, Marketing, and Undeclared concentrations as of Fall, 2000. The Undeclared concentration worksheet can be used to plan any of the 17 areas of concentration within Wharton. Worksheets for the other 13 concentrations will be completed by the Spring, 2001 semester. The joint degree program worksheets will be developed in the future.

Undergraduate students who are considering applying to dual-degree programs as well as those who are already enrolled will be able to use the worksheets of both schools to plan their programs. Worksheets for students in joint degree programs will be developed to reflect their integrated programs.

There are on-line help pages within the system to assist students and advisors.

Penn InTouch 2000 is a joint initiative of the four undergraduate schools and the Office of the Provost, working with the Council of Undergraduate Deans, Information Systems and Computing, and the Registrar's Office. Several graduate schools will join the initiative in the future.

Almanac, Vol. 47, No. 8, October 17, 2000

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