How York graduated the double cohort

Spring 2007 represented a new level of achievement at York. It marked the convocation for the largest graduating class in the University’s history – the celebrated double cohort that arrived in 2003.

To compare, in spring 2006, the Registrar’s Office at York University processed close to 6,000 graduation applications from undergraduate students. For the spring 2007 convocation, more than 7,500 applications were received, representing a 20 per cent increase.

Right: The team from the York Registrar’s office

“We knew they were coming and we were ready,” said University Registrar Joanne Duklas.

In order to prepare for the anticipated increase, the registrarial team re-allocated staff and collaborated with other departments to launch a new online support system this past year: the My Convocation Web site.

The site was developed in association with the Office of University Events & Community Relations, Computing & Network Services (CNS) and the Registrar’s Office.  It provides students with the ability to apply online to graduate and to RSVP to their ceremony. Administrative staff in the Registrar’s Office use it to order diplomas/certificates and to monitor the lists of graduating students.

In addition, the previously launched Web Degree Audit (WDA) system was expanded to accommodate the first graduating class from the newly created Faculty of Health. The ground-breaking WDA system was developed by the Registrar’s Office and the CNS SIS team for the June 2003 convocation, and has been an invaluable tool ever since. One of only a few systems like it in Canada, it was designed to help the thousands of graduating students and the staff who review their academic records for degree completion.

Above: Some of the members of the CNS SIS team that worked on developing the Web innovations used for Spring Convocation

Everyone who applies has their record thoroughly reviewed to verify their eligibility to graduate. Degree requirements, legislative regulations and, if necessary, course waivers and substitutions are all taken into consideration. This level of scrutiny is critically important as it ensures the integrity and world-wide recognition of the York degree.

Innovations like the WDA and the My Convocation Web site guarantee more effective and timely service to students and the community. Potential future innovations include an online student view of the WDA that will allow students to monitor their progress throughout their studies.

Hinting at more good news to come, Duklas said, “While the student view module is some way off, the success of the Web Degree Audit system and the My Convocation Web site suggests a bright future for the ongoing enhancement of student services at York.”