As students struggle to piece together schedules and maneuver through program requirements, they rack up unneeded credits and extra semesters—all at a significant cost to them and their families. Academic maps—designed by faculty and academic advisors—provide students clarity and direction as they pursue their credential.

The resources below will provide an overview of Academic Maps, including a deeper dive into the problem, resources for generating buy-in amongst stakeholders, and additional items that can assist in developing your action plan.

 

Intended Credits to Degree

Excess Credits to Degree


1-to 2- Year Certificate

Credits

2-Year Associate

Credits

4-Year Bachelor's (All Other)

Credits

4-Year Bachelor's (Highest Research)

Credits

Credits

Intended Credits to Degree

Excess Credits to Degree


African American

Hispanic

Pell

Asian

White


DSData Suppressed

NANot Applicable

DUData Unavailable

1-to 2- Year Certificate

2-Year Associate

4-Year Bachelor's (All Other)

4-Year Bachelor's (Highest Research)

Credits

1-to 2- Year Certificate

2-Year Associate

4-Year Bachelor's (All Other)

4-Year Bachelor's (Highest Research)

Building Maps

Why Academic Maps May Be the Single Most Important Action in Improving Student Success

Larry Abele

Taking courses that do not count toward graduation occurs because most catalogs are difficult to understand, and degree requirements are not clear. Therefore, one of the most important things institutions can do for their students is to provide them with a clear roadmap listing all courses, term by term, that are required to earn the degree, a central strategy of Complete College America.  . . . Read More


 

Essential Components of Academic Maps

Larry Abele

One possible format for an Academic MapClick on image for more information

 

 

 

 


 

Quick Tips

Collaborate with academic advisors for the creation or updating of maps. They can provide valuable student perspective and overall general education expertise.

Avoid jargon and abbreviation (remember that your audience are not well versed in college lingo).

Don’t crowd the map. Use your website to provide additional information that benefit students about programs, cocurricular activities, student groups, labor/market data, etc.

Make it easy to find maps for all programs (2-3 clicks from main page and disseminate freely.

Use maps to keep track of students for proactive advising, registration, data reporting, and scheduling.

Pressure test your maps with students, advisors, and faculty.

10 Steps for Creating Academic Maps

Rick Marks

When we began this journey at College of Southern Nevada, I wish we would have had more guidance on how to build and design the academic maps, but there was little. We ended up spending more time on the look of the map and not enough time on everything that builds the map and links to the map. . . . Read More


 

Building Academic Maps

Larry Abele

The exercise of building academic maps should begin with a discussion with the faculty governing body of the institution so that everyone understands that the process is not making any changes to the curriculum established by the faculty. The faculty may decide to engage in the actual process of building the maps or have staff build the maps and returned to the faculty for discussion and approval.  . . . Read More


 

Data to Consider

Number of students in each program of study (disaggregate by race, ethnicity, gender, and Pell)

Number of students who change majors (disaggregate by race, ethnicity, gender, and Pell)

Time to degree (disaggregate by degree, race, ethnicity, gender, and Pell)

Credit hours to degree (disaggregate by degree, race, ethnicity, gender, and Pell)

Milestones grades and graduation rates (can you determine the percentage of students who graduate by the grades they receive in your milestone courses?) This might be helpful to determine preferred grades moving forward as you will be able to showcase why doing well in this class is crucial)

 

Sample Maps

Additional Resources to Support Creation of Maps

Information to students about program that can accompany maps on website

  • Major Maps at Virginia Commonwealth University integrate experiences, connections and skills
  • Cocurricular Mapping from Texas A&M adds learning opportunities and experience outside the classroom
  • Major in a Minute videos from Georgia State University inform students about majors
  • Major Finder from University of Delaware uses alumni information to show career outcomes and past success
  • Transfer agreements and stackable credentials information from Community College of Denver

Sample sites for employment opportunities and labor/market information

Helping students get on the appropriate map

Optimizing Maps through Technology

Build Experiential Major Maps: Adding Co-Curricular Engagement and Career Exploration to Degree Maps

Our colleagues at EAB compiled these resources to supplement academic maps by integrating cocurricular and experiential learning.
At the link above, you will find:

 

Academic Mapping Support

Our colleagues at Ad Astra created this page to highlight how academic maps can support student success by aligning scheduling practices to degree plans and student progression.
Through the link above, you will be able to access:

 

Videos on Academic Maps

Conversation between Larry Abele and Nikolas Huot on Academic Maps

Overview Presentation on Academic Maps from Brandon Protas and Nikolas Huot–PowerPoint

Brief overview of Maps by Larry Abele

Want to see different information on this page? Please let us know.