Photo by Julia Kelley

 As scheduling for spring semester approaches, students are preparing to navigate a new degree evaluation program and INST class options. 

The students who will be using the new degree evaluation program, Degree Works, are students who enrolled in Otterbein for the 2018 to 2019 or 2019 to 2020 academic years. Kate Lehman, the assistant dean for student success, said that the feedback regarding Degree Works has been positive. She said that students have found the program to be easier to read and understand than the degree audit.  

Lehman also said that a positive of the new program is that it has a forward-facing academic planning feature that allows students to build out schedules for future semesters. She said that this would help the university predict how many students to expect in a certain class. 

Lehman said, “When students create those plans, we will then be able to, in the behind the scenes data, extract how many students are planning to take certain courses.” 


By the start of the next academic year, Lehman said that the university hopes to have every student switched over to Degree Works. For now, students enrolled during the 2016 to 2017 or 2017 to 2018 academic years will continue to use the degree audit to track progress towards graduation. 

After Otterbein switched over to the three-credit hour model, students found that INST classes were filling up quickly, and they were not able to get into the classes that they needed. Katia Cobourn, a junior public relations major, said that the INST course options that she was looking at were already filled by the time she was able to register classes. 

Lehman said that the cause for the INST classes filling up quickly is that students are filling their fifth class spot with another INST course. She said that the university plans class capacities on the assumption that students are taking one INST per semester. 


Another option for students to fill their fifth class is taking elective classes. Lehman said that there are four requirements to graduate from Otterbein. Those requirements are to get your major requirements, general education requirements, have a 2.0 GPA, and earn a total of 120 credit hours. 

Lehman said, “Take something you love and are passionate about. Oftentimes students forget that sometimes the best part of being at a liberal arts college is the ability to take something completely outside of your comfort zone and just really explore a passion or interest that might have nothing to do with your major.” 

Lehman said that the combination of the credit hours for most majors and general education require do not add up to 120 credits. She recommended looking at how many hours a student will get by completing those requirements to plan how many electives they will need to spread out over their years at Otterbein. 

Cobourn said, “Meet with your advisor or another faculty member in your department and figure out which classes you want to take and back-up classes. In case you don’t get into the classes you need; you at least have something that will fill up your credits.” 

Scheduling for spring semester will take place during the week of Oct. 28. 

Find more information about Degree Works here.

For INST recommendations, visit our previous story