Center for Career and Professional Development

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 a service learning trip can be used to develop the Teamwork skill. 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 DegreePlus paid mentor and assess student reflections and capstone presentations.

How will we track student participation in events?

Attendance is tracked using handheld scanners that connect the student's CATCard ID with the individual event. The attendance data is uploaded in WCU Engage to each student's profile page. WCU will launch WCU Engage in the 2018-19 academic year to manage student organizations and events. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

how does degreeplus work?

DegreePlus is a voluntary three-level program. Students advance through one to three levels with incentives for completion at each level. Beginning in Fall 2018, all four skills will be available (Leadership, Cultural Responsiveness, Teamwork, Professionalism).

Level 1 - Experience and Exposure
Students attend five DegreePlus events of their choice in one skill.
Level 2 - Reflection & Articulation
Students who have completed Level 1 attend DegreePlus Day in the Spring of Fall Semester. Trained faculty and staff mentors will lead small group discussions to enable students to reflect on what they learned about the skill. Following the event, students will articulate what they learned in a reflection paper which the mentor will evaluate as pass/rewrite. Students who pass will have completed Level 2. Students who do not pass will be given feedback and another opportunity to resubmit the paper.
Level 3 - Integration & Application
A "call for papers" will be sent to students who have completed Level 2. Students who respond will choose a curricular, co-curricular or extracurricular experience which exemplifies the application and integration of the skill. Students will be allowed to "double-dip" this experience with other projects, research, internships, etc. in which they are already engaged for their academic degrees. On DegreePlus Day they will deliver a poster, video, or other creative presentation about this capstone experience. This will complete Level 3 of the skill.

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:

Faculty: Get Your Students Involved

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

Faculty & Staff: 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?

Faculty & Staff: 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 mentors are faculty and exempt staff who receive training to guide students through Level 2 (Articulation & Reflection) and Level 3 (Integration & Application). The stipend is $500 for two semesters or one academic year. To determine the time commitment, please use the following list of responsibilities as a guide. 

Responsibilities of DegreePlus mentors

  • Attend two mandatory 60-minute trainings
  • Attend DegreePlus Day in the Spring and Fall Semesters and guide a discussion with students who have reached Level 2 to:
    • think critically about what they learned in the DegreePlus events
    • connect the learning outcomes to each skill
    • connect what they learned to their own academic or career goals
  • Evaluate the written reflections the students submit after the event as Pass/Rewrite based on a predetermined rubric
  • Meet with students who could not attend DegreePlus Day in a makeup session and evaluate their written reflections
  • Assess the capstone project presentations given by Level 3 students at DegreePlus Day

How to Apply

A call for mentors is made in the Fall Semester. Faculty and exempt staff are eligible to apply.

wHERE CAN I FIND THE STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES FOR THE DEGREEPLUS SKILLS?

Listed below are the rubrics for the four skills. Each skill has five student learning outcomes. To be designated as a DegreePlus event for a skill, the activity must intentionally address one or more of the student learning outcomes for that skill. The rubrics also guide assessment of the Level 2 reflection papers and Level 3 capstone projects by a DegreePlus mentor.

Leadership Rubric
Cultural Responsiveness Rubric
Teamwork Rubric
Professionalism Rubric 

where can i find the degreeplus activities/ events?

The DegreePlus website has a calendar that is updated as events are approved. Faculty and staff can request an electronic calendar of DegreePlus events from Marti Newbold, Associate Director of DegreePlus, at hmnewbold@wcu.edu. Students are directed to join DegreePlus through WCU Engage, WCU's new clubs and organizations site. There they can find event details, register for events with limited space, track their progress, and manage their experiential transcripts. Directions for how to join DegreePlus are in the section How Do Students Register for DegreePlus? on this web page.

what are the criteria for the event to be Designated as 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
 

how do i SUBMIT MY EVENT TO BE DEGREEPLUS?

DegreePlus event requests are submitted through a fillable form Submit DegreePlus. The event request is reviewed by the Associate Director of DegreePlus Marti Newbold. Event hosts are notified by email when the event is approved or when there are questions about the submission. It is recommended that the request be submitted as early as possible in case there are changes to be made and to allow ample time for DegreePlus to promote the event. 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 more information about submitting DegreePlus events, contact Marti Newbold hmnewbold@wcu.edu or 828-227-3884.  

how DO students Sign Up for degreeplus?

DegreePlus is a self-paced program. Students are encouraged to get involved during their first year at WCU, though they may sign up at any time. Students' attendance to DegreePlus-tagged events is tracked for all students; however, they must join DegreePlus to claim their attendance points. To join DegreePlus, sign in to WCU Engage, WCU's new clubs and organizations site, and search for the DegreePlus page. There they can see the DegreePlus calendar, track their progress in DegreePlus, and begin an experiential transcript. Please direct students to DegreePlus Info for Students on the DegreePlus for detailed information.

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
  • An experiential 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
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