“May all the students of the class of 2015 please stand” is what everyone will hear at a graduation. These words mean more to each person than the people of the audience. These words will last forever in their minds. They know they were able to complete one-step of their lives and are now able to see what the rest of their lives has in store for them. Graduation is a special ceremony for all the students that have completed the required elements. There are some items that people fail to mention, when speaking about graduation, and that is the behind the scenes work that the staff does in order for graduation to run smoothly.
Texas A&M University-Texarkana has two main people in the graduation department. Kristie Avery and Karen Dukes are the ones who put in a ton of hours outside the office. To make sure the processing and the real ceremony is correct and able to run as it is supposed to. More staff members help of course. Avery and Dukes are the women behind the curtain. The process is long but these woman are the best in town.
Applications start flowing in at the start of the semester, and some before that. From the moment the first application is sent, the physical time of TAMU-T staff is filled. Avery has expressed that she spends many hours on graduation work outside the office, however she would never miss an important event with her family. She makes sure she is still able to help her daughter with homework, or make it to school events.
When it begins, there are many items that one must to keep in mind, when processing the application. First, one has to make sure the application is correct and every part is filled out. The next step is when the hard part starts to happen. After printing the application, they first look at the major of the applicant and print out the individual’s DegreeWorks. One must make sure that they have all the credits they are supposed to have and look at how many upper level division hours one has. The credits are important, but making sure one has all the classes one needs is harder than finding the credits. Sometimes, one may have the correct number of credit hours, but may be missing one or two classes. The graduation staff have to make sure that the applicant has the correct number of residence hours, which is the number of hour and time spent enrolled in the university.
After checking, the application, the reviewer, will call if they have a question about the application. The staff will work and try as hard as possible when making sure that every detail is in place. There have been times when a student may have all the credits but are missing one class. In this case, they will either try to put them in that certain class or look at the DegreeWorks and see if the student has taken a previous class that would equal the class needed.
DegreeWorks is an online processing page that allows someone to get access to his or her classes. It makes it easier to see what classes one needs to take and tells them what they already have taken as well. This site will also allow the student to see the percentage they are to their degree and how many credit they are lacking. Avery says, “I didn’t have DegreeWorks when I graduated (Web for Students was just really getting started and there wasn’t an email program like Ace Mail when I graduated). DegreeWorks works, so that’s one thing that makes the process easier.”
A graduating student must consider their GPA in three different parts they will need to see if there is any hold on the accounts and see if there are any outstanding balances on their accounts as well. There could be a part that will need a transcript so one will have to see if one will need to be sent to the graduation office.
Elaine Willis has recently graduated from TAMU-T; she explains that it is very stressful but would not change that for the world. Her friends from the university helped and motivated her to help finish the class she needed and she did. She says the process was long and stressful to make sure everything is okay with the application. One part being incorrect or have a missing part it could mean you either graduate or do not. Now, she could not be happier with her life. She wears her class ring every day.
Willis and Avery both have graduated from TAMU-T and they both wish there was a way to make the process easier and better to work with. Right now, the process must be completed by hand. If the process were available electronically, it would make it faster and easier for the students and the staff. “Just making students more aware of their graduation status and prohibiting the phrases “I didn’t know…. ” Or “No one told me…” this is the one thing that Avery wants to happen in the future.