CHASS Graduation Application Shifts to an Online Format

By Catherine Szilagyi, Student Intern of CHASS College Computing

As of Winter Quarter, a new online application system for graduating students of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Science (CHASS) at UC Riverside has been set in motion. Students preparing to graduate are now able to file their graduation applications online without the mess of tedious paperwork. Once again, technology at CHASS, from which about 75% of UCR students graduate, takes on a higher level of efficiency.

The online graduation application was the result of collaboration between various University departments and staff. CHASS College Computing (C3), Student Academic Affairs, Computing and Communication, and a number of academic departments all had a hand in making the automated graduation application an online reality. The application, now in full use, has greatly decreased the burdensome paperwork associated with the application process.

Applying for graduation in the past often resulted in a number of problems that both students and staff had to deal with. Papers would get lost or misplaced, and communication necessary for information verification was the most difficult—working through the postal service and even email is incredibly time consuming and would, in some cases, prevent students from graduating on time.

The idea to automate the graduation application came from Josh Willis, a former C3 student intern (now graduated), who spawned the concept after C3 Director James Lin asked him about what services he as a student felt could be set up online.

According to Ryan Rich, C3 E-business team leader, “Josh began the project, came up with a vision, and did a lot of the initial analysis [on the graduation application] before he graduated.”   After Willis’ graduation, Rich was assigned to the project. Team members Helen Sun (user interface design) and Nancy Huynh (testing and analysis) at C3 also pitched in on the effort. Gloria McGuire, who is in charge of the graduation process in the College, José Beruvides, Manager of Student Academic Advising, and Dr. David Fairris, Associate Dean for CHASS Student Academic Affairs contributed much to the application’s shift online as well, by testing the system and reviewing prototypes. 

Furthermore, Chuck Rowley, Associate Vice Chancellor of Computing and Communications, gave full support on the integration of the application with the campus’ Student Information System (SIS) to streamline the graduation application into a single process. David Gracey, Director of Financial Applications, Systems, & Network Operation, and Joann Wang, Programmer Analyst, both from Computing and Communications, contributed by providing the technology necessary for interfacing the SIS to make the application to work.

As a result, the application is also a very fine example of successful collaboration between campus central computing and the College in developing a system aimed at servicing the students of UCR.

In the end, the new application resulted in something very similar to the online UC application many students at the University are already familiar with. Students simply log into the website and fill out the information needed. Once submitted, the information is sent to the College and the student’s department simultaneously. All information for the student from then on is available on the application website, where the student can track the status of the application as it goes through the process, and correspond with staff that have questions about their application.

No longer will students have to make appointments or wait in long lines and email back and forth with staff to answer questions regarding their graduation status. No longer will staff have to worry about keeping track of filed papers or mailing questions to students. The online application is yet another time-saving innovation made by the College on behalf of ensuring better service to the students at UC Riverside.

“The online system was a great idea,” says graduating senior Robert Bastone, who used the system to apply for his spring 2005 graduation from CHASS, “it was much faster and simpler than I had anticipated, and also probably much less stress for the Student Academic Affairs staff. If the rest of the colleges at the University follow suit with the idea, their students will be as grateful as I am for it.”

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