As we saw earlier,  an understanding of context and its implications is a critical part of strategic decision-making.  Most people pursuing a college education to support employment have already made a strategic decision. They have determined that in order to enter or advance in a particular career field or to earn a certain amount of money to support themselves and their families, they must have a bachelor’s degree.  Of this group, some will have taken their strategic thinking one step further and looked at return on investment: weighing the cost of completing their education (tuition, fees, textbooks, interest on student loans, etc.) against the anticipated salary for their chosen career field and the number of years they have left to work.

Others have chosen to complete their bachelor’s degree because of promotion opportunities within their current position. Still more have not had the time, resources, or desire to complete their degree until now.  You are in college right now because of a set of circumstances, goals, and set of values that adds up to your particular context. This course is designed to help you explore your context, trends in your field, including research trends, and articulate how these trends impact your own academic context. By taking this class, you’ll create a concrete, goal-oriented plan to make the most out of your courses and degree, while also exploring areas of interest that will make you better informed about your field, either for assignments and projects in future classes or your capstone, or within the context of your professional life or personal interests.

When thinking about return on investment, keep in mind that taking a strategic approach to the content of the courses you have left to take can actively contribute to your personal goals for academic and professional development. Here are some examples:

  • sequencing the early courses in your major to ensure the logical progression of foundational knowledge needed for successful entry into a particular profession,
  • selecting a research paper topic in an upper-level course that will give you an opportunity to do an in-depth analysis of an ethical controversy affecting your profession,
  • meeting a non-program elective by taking a course that will fill a gap in your professional development so that you can stay ahead of an emerging trend.

Note that all three examples are based on information from the larger context for a field of study: current requirements for employment, a current ethical controversy, and an emerging trend.

The examples of strategic degree-planning listed above are conceptual in nature.  A second set of factors involved in strategic degree-planning is logistic. These factors focus on ensuring the feasibility of completing your degree:

  • enrollment criteria such as prerequisites,
  • when, where, and how frequently courses are scheduled,
  • how many courses per term you’re able to take,
  • when you want to graduate,
  • funding for tuition and books.

Strategic Degree-Planning & the CRIT 602  Personal Learning Mission

At the end of this course, you will identify and articulate your strategy for strategic degree-planning in the Personal Learning Mission assignment at the end of the course, informed by the information you gathered, evaluated, and synthesized in the CRIT 602 research assignments, as well as your current degree audit from the Graduation Planning System (GPS).

The Logistics of Degree-Planning

The logistics of degree-planning, including a term-by-term scheduling out of your remaining degree requirements, is done outside of CRIT 602, either on your own or with the assistance of your academic advisor.

The Key to Strategic Degree-Planning!

The key to strategic degree-planning, including whether or not you should pursue credit for prior learning, is a thorough understanding of your remaining degree requirements.  College of Professional Studies provides this information to students in our online Graduation Planning System (GPS), which is accessed in WebROCK. Your GPS degree evaluation, also called a degree audit, will include the following information:
  1. All courses transferred from prior colleges and the degree requirements they meet,
  2. All preapproved prior learning credit from the Transfer Equivalencies through the Transfer Equivalency Portal and the degree requirements they meet,
  3. The total number of credits transferred,
  4. A listing of the course requirements left to take in general education and the major,
  5. The total number of credits left to complete the degree.

We encourage you to run a GPS degree audit this week to ensure that it is accurate and that you fully understand the remaining requirements you will be expected to meet for your degree. If you have any questions or concerns about your degree audit, please get in touch with your academic advisor right away to have them addressed.

Running a Degree Evaluation:

  • Go to the home page of your Canvas Course, click on the WebCAT tab, and log in. (NOTE: In the merger from GSC to CPS, WebCAT has replaced WebROCK)
  • Click Student Records.
  • Select Degree Evaluation.
  • You will see two option from which to choose – Select GPS.

Note for Individualized Studies Majors

If you are in the Individualized Studies major, the content of your proposed major will be based on your Personal Learning Mission, which you will forward to the Director of Liberal Arts Programs at the end of the term (in addition to submitting it to the instructor for grading). The Director of Liberal Arts Programs will work with you to identify the most appropriate courses to include in your Individualized Studies major.


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CRIT 602 Readings and Resources Copyright © 2019 by Granite State College (USNH) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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