Degree Works Gets a New Look


The Degree Works update has been surprisingly controversial. (Courtesy of Pia Fischetti/The Fordham Ram)

In December 2021, the university began rolling out a new pilot interface for the Degree Works program.

Degree Works is a tool utilized by both students and advisors to determine if one is on track to graduate. It keeps record of the core, major and minor requirements necessary for each student. Using the “What If” function, students are able to draw up hypothetical combinations of majors and minors to see if they would work with their schedule before declaring.It was announced earlier in the year that the Degree Works interface was changing. It was “over a decade old and had become outdated,” said Michael Rametta, the associate director and data automation specialist for academic records.

“In addition to not being fully accessible under the most current web accessibility guidelines, Ellucian (the company that creates Degree Works) plans to no longer support Degree Works beginning with the next version that the university will upgrade to,” he added.

This meant that “all Degree Works users have to switch to the Responsive Dashboard.”

However, some students felt that the change hindered their experience using the software and that it was not optimized with the student in mind.

“I think this change is slightly worse than the previous Degree Works,” said Vincent Vitanza, FCRH ’24. “[The new dashboard] makes it much harder to see all the classes and requirements in aggregate.”

The university’s old advising structure was met with scrutiny, meaning many upperclassmen students use Degree Works as their primary source of information for completing their requirements and graduating on time.

“Degree Works has been much more useful than my advisor,” said Vitanza. “I haven’t had an advisor reach out to me since the end of my freshman year of college, so I’ve used Degree Works to plan my entire academic future by myself.”

Despite these student concerns, Rametta is confident that the changes made are minimal, mostly aesthetic and benefit students.

“The new visual interface is responsive, mobile-friendly and fully accessible following the most current web accessibility guidelines,” he said. “All features that students and advisors are used to having are still available in the Responsive Dashboard,” Rametta said.

With Fordham’s new advising structure that claims to be more intensive and holistic than its predecessor, it’s possible that students will become less reliant on Degree Works and these changes in interface and accessibility will become less relevant.