U Changes DARS

A compass which points the way to graduation, the DARS report has helped students navigate the choppy waters of higher education since 1989. The DARS is in a transitional period, which officials hope will make navigation more efficient.

Last year, students generated more than 120,000 reports, advisers more than 64,000.

DARS was invented to help avoid the problem of students applying for graduation without fulfilling all their requirements first, said Associate Dean of University College Hugh Brown. He hopes three new changes to DARS will make reading the DARS map and plotting an appropriate course easier.

First, the most obvious change is an infusion of color into the DARS. Requirements which have not been fulfilled appear in red, those which have appear in green.

Second, a summary?like a table of contents?has been added toward the top of the report, including links down to specific details further down the page. Any of the requirements on the summary in red will flag what a student is missing. Students and advisers don?t have to sort through lists of monochromatic details to find out what classes should be considered for next semester.

?We wanted to make it easier for both students and advisers to read the DARS,? said Ron Muncey, senior systems analyst for the U?s Administrative Computing Services. ?Believe it or not, students have less problems reading that and figuring that out than do the advisers. Students catch on quickly, it?s the advisers sometimes that we wanted to help out. This will help out.?

Within the next couple weeks?before registration for Spring Semester begins in November?Muncey hopes to add the third new feature to the DARS, a link directly to the class schedule. Students will be able to read which major requirements they have not yet fulfilled, click on the link and register for the class right there.

Generated via the student information system part of the University of Utah Web site, the degree audit report system charts the various requirements for both general education and individual departments. Students and advisers can read which requirements still need fulfilling and which classes meet the requirement.

Brown said he would accept any feedback students or employees have on DARS. ?We?re continually trying to work to make DARS more user friendly,? he said.

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