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Strategic Direction #2 – Student Experience

We will enrich the student experience through creating intentional cocurricular and curricular programs, which will prepare students to successfully engage in a vibrant, complex, and culturally diverse world.

Goal 2.1: Create opportunities for students to explore points of view on different issues and to understand the perspectives of others through civil and informed discourse and debate.

2.1.1: Create opportunities for students to explore points of view on different issues and to understand the perspectives of others through civil and informed discourse and debate utilizing campus partners (i.e., Department of Campus Activities, Center for Community Engagement & Service Learning, DegreePlus, etc.).

2.1.2: Create and track opportunities for student membership and leadership on institutional decision-making committees and organizations.

2.1.3: Implement diversity and inclusion initiatives to enhance students' understanding of other ethnicities and cultures.

2.1.4: Leverage intercollegiate athletics to instill pride among students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the University.

Goal 2.2: Instill institutional pride through more visible recognition and celebration of university achievements and traditions.

2.2.1: Create experiences that strengthen students' connection to their University and emphasize engagement with alumni and friends of the University as students prepare for a professional career.

2.2.2: Build and sustain educational programs that recognize, respect, and celebrate Western North Carolina culture, including Cherokee history and traditions.

Goal 2.3: Create opportunities for skill development and career exploration through involvement in experiential activities.

2.3.1: Expand the utilization of the DegreePlus and other programs that promote transferrable skill development for students.

2.3.2: Promote student engagement in high-impact practices connected to professional development such as undergraduate research, service-learning, internships, and study abroad.

2.3.3: Develop co-curricular experiences that enhance classroom learning and professional development.

2.3.4: Identify and promote existing opportunities at WCU, the WNC region, and North Carolina, where DegreePlus students can engage in reflection and articulation (e.g., DegreePlus Level 3 Experiences) related to inclusivity.

Goal 2.4: Create avenues to empower students to achieve their best possible well-being and cultivate a campus environment in which students can reach their full potential in all facets of their lives, both in and out of the classroom.

2.4.1: Create and implement programs that embrace the elements of wellness to build and sustain a collaborative, comprehensive framework approach, with innovative strategies for engagement to help students be healthy and well. Programs will offer awareness of the scope of services provided by WCU to our faculty, staff, and students through knowledge of resources, facilitating discussions regarding wellness, and making referrals to the appropriate offices.

2.4.2: Utilizing the elements of wellness (environmental, social, intellectual, spiritual, occupational, physical, and emotional) as a comprehensive framework approach to increase cross-campus awareness of current programs, services, and resources that support and assist students in engaging in a holistic, total college experience.

Goal 2.5: Create opportunities that increase a student's ability to find their sense of belonging.

2.5.1: Provide programs and initiatives, both formally and informally, for students living off-campus and on campus in residence halls designed to create a sense of belonging among incoming and continuing students. Programs and initiatives include but are not limited to student clubs, student organizations, campus events, Greek Life, and major/disciplinary events. Increased campus events (face-to-face and virtual) can increase the opportunities for all WCU students to improve their engagement with the institution.

2.5.2: Create a plan to gather data on sense of belonging from graduating students.

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