Faced with declining government funding support and rising student loan debt, recently timely graduation in higher education has become a focal point of discussion at many institutions, particularly public universities. Timely graduation requires a student to successfully enroll in and complete a set of required and elective courses, the relationship of which is bound by the courses’ prerequisite requirements. However, due to the fact that class capacity is oftentimes limited and wrongly timed, many students find it challenging to stay on track. A well-structured degree roadmap that takes all factors into consideration and specifies the right courses to take by semester will better guide students’ course selection and thus increase their chance of earning their degrees within the four-year time window. Additionally, it will also allow administrators to do better capacity planning, and hence increase course accessibility to students. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
In this research, some operational techniques such as line balancing and simulation are applied to restructure and improve degree roadmaps, and assess the resulting outcomes. Some innovative methods are proposed to improve the processes on which students proceed to degree.
The results based on historical data that contains millions of student records spanning over eight-year time window demonstrate that the improved degree roadmaps can substantially increase students’ chance of completing the degree in a four-year time window. The research findings provide university administrators with cost-effective solutions.
This research breaks a new ground in literature due to its unique approach and focus. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this research is one of the first attempts to systematically study the impact of degree roadmap on timely graduation. This research focuses on finding solutions that are within the institution’s control, hence the proposed solutions are implementable and will provide university administrators with new tools and perspectives to enhance student success.
Su, X., Chen, M., Yur-Austin, J. and Liu, Y. (2019), "Restructuring degree roadmaps to improve timely graduation in higher education", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 34 No. 2, pp. 432-449. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-07-2019-0257Download as .RIS
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