DegreePlus—WCU’s Quality Enhancement Plan

Western Carolina is in the business of changing lives. We do that not simply by delivering degrees but by teaching, mentoring and inspiring students to discover their passion and their life path. Our students learn more than just the content of their discipline; they are taught to lead, to work in teams, to be professionals, and to respond appropriately to cultures different than their own.

Western Carolina’s upcoming Quality Enhancement Plan, DegreePlus, is a holistic approach to education that sets out to strengthen our incredible work around leadership, teamwork, professionalism and cultural responsiveness and to make it an intentional part of the curricular and co-curricular experience at WCU. Participation prepares students for life after Western Carolina.

About DegreePlus

Degree Plus

 

Research has shown that students who are more engaged tend to have more academic success and are more likely to achieve their “next-step” goals (employment, graduate school, etc.). This is partly due to their development of professional skills, such as teamwork, leadership, communication, etc. According to a survey of employers, these are skills employers are looking for in recent graduates. However, students tend not to relate those skills to their experiences. The QEP aims to educate students on the value of their experiences through the use of an experiential transcript that not only logs their extra-curricular activities, but also organizes them according to student learning outcomes associated with these professional skills.

A call to action

We are asking our students to get involved. Participation in a variety of campus activities, events, and organizations is a great way to achieve the skills they will need to be successful at WCU and beyond. After participating in a variety of these tangible, resume-building experiences, students have the opportunity to reflect on the skills they’ve gained and how they relate to their academic experiences or their future goals. We are asking our faculty and staff to support students in their endeavors to complete the reflections in each DegreePlus category: leadership, teamwork, professionalism and cultural responsiveness. That support could include advising, defining related learning outcomes for sponsored events, or developing new activities that fit within the DegreePlus mission and providing feedback on student reflections.

About the Quality Enhancement Plan

Every 10 years, WCU is evaluated by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). While the evaluation involves many components, one particular requirement is the development of a Quality Enhancement Plan, or QEP, for short. It is a model to transform education at WCU over the next 10 years. DegreePlus is our QEP for the 2017-2027 evaluation period.

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