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DegreePlus Information for Faculty and Staff

DegreePlus is uniquely designed as a holistic approach that incorporates the entire campus, not just faculty and students. It is a call to action for the entire community to help students find extracurricular experiences that enable them to develop the transferable skills they need to be successful beyond their years at Western Carolina.

The Impact of DegreePlus

Benefits to Faculty, Staff, and Academic Programs

  • DegreePlus is a pathway for skill development that complements course-based learning. There is good potential for cross-disciplinary collaboration. Activities offered from external disciplines may be useful in satisfying program goals for your department that are difficult to meet within your program.
  • Due to incentivized participation and marketing, faculty and staff may have higher attendance for their events qualified to be DegreePlus.
  • Since attendance is tracked and students are reflecting on their experiences, DegreePlus can be used as a program assessment tool.
  • Tracking student engagement in activities will help academic programs learn what their majors are interested in and assist staff to identify which programs students will attend. This information can be used to enhance those activities and generate additional experiences that are attractive to students.

Will I have to do more work?

DegreePlus is designed to capitalize on existing campus activities and events. For example, a speaker series related to professional development could qualify as a Professionalism event, the annual International Festival could be an enjoyable way for students to be introduced to the Cultural Responsiveness skill, and an Alternative Spring Break service learning trip could be used to develop the Leadership or Teamwork skills. Faculty and staff are encouraged to examine their current extracurricular offerings to see if they satisfy one or more of the designated student learning outcomes for a DegreePlus skill. Over time, they might want to create new events that advance programmatic goals for the department and concurrently meet DegreePlus criteria.

Faculty and staff who want to be more actively involved may apply to be a paid DegreePlus Mentor. Mentors guide students through Level 2 and Level 3 as students plan their DegreePlus Level 3 Experiences, reflections, and presentations.

How does DegreePlus track student participation in events?

Face-to-face attendance is tracked using hands-free scanners that connect the student's CATCard ID with the individual event. Virtual events are tracked through completion of verification forms. Attendance rosters are available in a Microsoft Teams DegreePlus site. To request access to the attendance lists, email degreeplus@wcu.edu.  

Frequently Asked Questions 

how does degreeplus work?

DegreePlus is a voluntary three-level experiential program. Students advance through one to three levels with incentives for completion at each level.

DP1 - Experience and Exposure
Students attend five in-person or online DegreePlus-designated events of their choice in one skill.
DP2 - Integration & Application
Students who complete Level 1 can level up to attend DegreePlus Day or a makeup session in the Spring or Fall Semester. At DegreePlus Day, staff and faculty DegreePlus Mentors lead small group discussions to guide students to reflect on the events they attended, deepen their understanding of the skills and learning outcomes as they apply to their academic and professional journeys, and encourage them to begin planning their DP3 Experience (formerly the DegreePlus capstone). Additionally, students and DegreePlus mentors in attendance listen to interactive poster presentations from DP3 students who have completed their DP3 Experiences. Following DegreePlus Day, students submit their DP3 Plans of Action to their DegreePlus Mentors for review and recommendations for improvement. Students complete DP2 when their plan is approved. 
DP3 - Reflection & Articulation
In DP3, students apply the learning outcomes of the skills in an experience of their choice. A DP3 Experience can be something they already plan to do or an experience they create uniquely for DegreePlus. Examples include an internship, academic capstone assignment, research, study abroad, senior showcase, volunteer or paid work project, leadership role, or anything that helps students further explore the skill areas they selected. Following the completion of their DP3 Experiences, students reflect on how they applied the five learning outcomes and use these create poster presentations.  The poster presentations are shared at DegreePlus Day or other approved venue. They are evaluated as Pass/Redo. Students complete DP3 when they receive a passing evaluation. Students can choose to complete one or all four skills in their DegreePlus participation.

what are THE STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES FOR THE DEGREEPLUS SKILLS?

Listed below are the rubrics for the four DegreePlus skills. The rubrics provide a framework for skill development thrugh the three levels of DegreePlus.

Leadership Rubric
Cultural Responsiveness Rubric
Teamwork Rubric
Professionalism Rubric

what are the benefits for students who participate in the program?

Students who participate in DegreePlus are likely to receive the following benefits:

  • Acquisition of skills that can strengthen their applications for employment, graduate and professional schools
  • Meaningful engagement in the WCU community outside the classroom setting
  • Transferable skills which can be utilized in jobs and volunteer service throughout their lives
  • Skill development that will enhance their personal interactions as well as professional development
  • The ability to reflect and articulate what they have learned about important transferable skills
  • A co-curricular transcript which can enhance their resumes, applications for fellowships, grants, graduate and professional schools and provide a document for reference when requesting faculty and staff letters of recommendation
  • Incentives at each level of completion, including notes on their academic transcripts, eligibility for paid DegreePlus student positions, business cards, certificates of completion, engraved plaques, customized career support, alumni mentoring, and more

how can i be involved?

Faculty and staff involvement is essential to the success of DegreePlus! The following are ways in which faculty and staff can bolster student interest and participation or become more directly involved in the DegreePlus program:

Get Your Students Involved

  • Offer additional credit to your students who attend DegreePlus events
  • Incorporate DegreePlus learning outcomes into your syllabus or training materials
  • Invite the Associate Director of DegreePlus to speak to your class or student worker training
  • Talk to your students about DegreePlus in your advising or supervising sessions

Host an Activity

  • You don't have to reinvent the wheel! Take a look at the activities and events you already offer. Do they fit the criteria for DegreePlus designation? If not, can they be modified without disrupting the nature of the event?
  • Create a new fun and educational event to communicate one or more DegreePlus student learning outcomes
  • The criteria can be found on this web page under the section What are the Criteria for the Event to be Designated as DegreePlus?

Become a Paid DegreePlus Mentor

Information about DegreePlus mentoring is in the next section. 

What is a degreeplus mentor and how do I become one?

DegreePlus Day Candy Nolstenmeyer

 

DegreePlus Mentors are faculty and exempt staff who receive training to guide students through DP2 and DP3 in a skill. The stipend is $600 for two semesters or one academic year. An overview of the position responsibilities and projected time commitments can be found here: DegreePlus Mentor Position

DegreePlus Day Dale Carpenter

 

How to Apply

Faculty and exempt staff are eligible to apply. If you are interested in learning more about the DegreePlus Mentor position, contact Marti Newbold, Associate Director of Degree Plus, hmnewbold@wcu.edu; 828-227-3884.

where can i find a list of degreeplus events?

DegreePlus in-person and online events can be found in WCU Engage, WCU's student engagement platform. After signing in, search for DegreePlus; for online-only events, search for DegreePlus-Digital. Events are updated as they are submitted and approved. If you would like to receive a weekly calendar of events to share with your students, please contact the Associate Director of DegreePlus at hmnewbold@wcu.edu. Membership is not required for students to receive credit for attending DegreePlus designated events; however, they must join Degreeplus to receive weekly calendars, track their DegreePlus progress, manage their co-curricular transcripts, and advance through the DegreePlus levels.

how do i submit my event to be degreeplus?

To be designated as a DegreePlus activity or event, the program must meet the following criteria:

  • Address at least one or more Student Learning Outcomes for a DegreePlus skill (Professionalism, Cultural Responsiveness, Leadership, Teamwork)
  • Be open for participation to all WCU students or another large student group (It's OK to have a cap on attendance)
  • Be extracurricular in nature

To submit an event for DegreePlus use this Qualtrics form DEGREEPLUS EVENT REQUEST FORM. All event requests are approved by the Associate Director of DegreePlus. Events that are submitted less than two weeks prior to the event are not guaranteed to be accepted for DegreePlus consideration due to the volume of requests.

For questions about qualifying your DegreePlus event, contact Associate Director of DegreePlus Marti Newbold at hmnewbold@wcu.edu / 828-227-3884 or CCPD/DegreePlus Administrative Support Associate Nikki Ratcliffe at sratcliffe@email.wcu.edu.

do students have to Join Degreeplus to participate?

Membership is not required for students to attend DegreePlus-designated events. Students join DegreePlus if they want to receive a weekly calendar, track their DegreePlus progress, manage their co-curricular transcripts, or advance in the program. Students are encouraged to get involved during their first year at WCU, though they may sign up at any time. To join DegreePlus, students go to WCU Engage, WCU's student engagement platform, search for the DegreePlus page, and request to join.

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