Glossary of Academic terms
Academic Advisor. This is a faculty member, or staff member (e.g., Program Counselor or Student Success Coordinator) who will guide you in working your way through your academic program. You will meet with them each semester to discuss your progress and class choices for the coming semester. Except for possibly your very first semester at WCU, they will not actually register you for classes---you do that yourself. Rather, they act as a consultant. Establishing a relationship with your academic advisor, and consulting with them at least once per semester, is key to your success at WCU. You can find much more about Academic Advising at WCU, including a timeline for advising and how to contact an advisor, at the Academic Advising website.
Academic Calendar. The annual period during which a student attends and receives formal instruction at a college or university, typically from August or September to May or June. The WCU Academic Calendar has the most up-to-date information about when classes start, when to enroll for the next semester, the drop/add period, and breaks.
Academic Dismissal. See Dismissal.
Academic Success Program (ASP). ASP is a special admissions program for students who are required to successfully complete two courses in the summer session prior to their first fall semester in order to be fully admitted to the university. Students in this program receive individualized mentoring and advising and are required to attend mandatory tutoring for the classes provided to them through the program.
Academic Leave (also known as Withdrawal). There are several kinds of academic leave/withdrawal.
- Course Withdrawal is when you withdraw from an individual course(s) after the drop/add period has ended (drop/add period ends usually about a week after classes begin). If you withdraw from a course(s) a "W" will appear on your official transcript, but there will be no impact on your GPA. Students who plan to withdraw from a course should pay close attention to deadlines. You can find more information about course withdrawal on the WCU website and in the Catalog.
- Term Withdrawal is when you withdraw from all classes for the given term. You cannot do a term withdrawal online. To complete a Term Withdrawal, undergraduates must go to the Registrar's office and submit the Undergraduate Term Withdrawal form; graduate students submit the form to the Graduate School.
- University Withdrawal is when students who do not intend to continue at West Chester University withdraw completely from the university. Students who elect to withdraw from the university would then need to apply for readmission if they wish to re-enroll in courses. Students who have not attended West Chester University for three or more consecutive fall/spring semesters are classified as “Inactive” and withdrawn from the institution. You can find information about re-admission in the Academic Catalog.
Please note that term withdrawal and course withdrawal may affect financial aid benefits. Some scholarships, grants, and loans require that recipients earn a certain number of credits per year and per term. Students are encouraged to consult with a Financial Aid Counselor prior to making registration changes after the drop/add period has ended. You can find more information in the Academic Catalog.
Academic Probation. WCU defines academic probation as "a trial period during which a student, whose cumulative GPA has fallen below acceptable standards, must bring his or her average up or be dismissed from the University." Once on probation, you have one full-time semester to raise your cumulative GPA to 2.00 (see also Academic Recovery Plan). Failure to do this will result in dismissal. You may be placed on probation twice. Placement on probation for the third time will trigger an automatic dismissal. For more details, see the Undergraduate Catalog. Note that academic probation can affect your financial aid, for details see the Probation and Dismissal website.
Academic Recovery Plan (ARP). In consultation with your academic advisor, you will outline your plan to raise your cumulative GPA back to a the required 2.00 or above. An ARP is required each time you are placed on academic probation. If you are placed on academic probation, a letter will be mailed to your home address and an email will be sent to your WCU email address. The letter and email will also discuss the need for an ARP. It is then your responsibility to contact your advisor and set up an appointment to have an ARP completed. You can find the ARP form on the ARP website: (you will have to log in using your WCU credentials).
Advising Sheet. A document that lays out the required courses for a given major or minor. Every major (and most minors) should provide you with an advising sheet. If you do not get one when you declare your major, check the academic department website or ask your academic advisor how to obtain one.
Associate’s Degree. An undergraduate degree awarded by a college or university upon successful completion of a program of study, usually requiring two years (or the equivalent) of full-time study. An associate's is typically awarded by community colleges; it may be a career or technical degree, or it may be a transfer degree, allowing students to transfer those credits to WCU through the Academic Passport program.
Bachelor’s Degree. An undergraduate degree awarded by a college or university upon successful completion of a program of study, typically requiring at least four years (or the equivalent) of full-time study. Common degree types include Bachelor of Arts (B.A. or A.B.), which refers to the liberal arts, and Bachelor of Science (B.S.). A bachelor's is required before starting graduate studies. You can view all of WCU’s undergraduate programs online or in the course catalog.
Bursar. The Bursar’s Office is responsible for billing, processing payments and issuing refunds. If you have any outstanding financial obligations to the university (including parking tickets), a "bursars hold" may be placed on your account, which will keep you from registering for classes. Location: Kershner Student Service Center 25 University Avenue, Phone: 610-436-2552, Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. (Wednesday office opens at 9 a.m.).
Center for International Programs (CIP). CIP engages in the education of all students through international exchange and promotion of international understanding and cross-cultural learning. CIP enhances the internationalization of the university by preparing students to be global citizens, working to recruit and retain international students, collaborating with other offices to enhance student abroad opportunities, providing services for international students, assisting faculty and staff with international projects, and supporting WCU’s English as a Second Language Program. CIP provides support for three different types of study abroad programs and assist with all aspects of the application and pre-departure process. Location: Mitchell Hall 320, Phone: 610-436-3515, Hours: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Center for Trans and Queer Advocacy (CTQA).CTQA strives to enhance the experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, queer, questioning, agender, asexual, aromantic, and intersex students, staff, and faculty at WCU. CTQA engages in advocacy and social justice while utilizing an intersectional framework. Several programs are held throughout the year to educate the WCU community, please visit the website for a complete list of programs. Location: Sykes Student Union Suite 250, Phone: 610-436-3147.
Center for Women and Gender Equity (CWGE). CWGE promotes a campus culture and climate that supports principles of social justice, equity, inclusion, and community. CWGE provides education, resources, and advocacy primarily on gender-related issues. They do this via educational programs, special events, workshops, leadership opportunities for women, campus-wide violence prevention initiatives, building allies, and dissemination of information and referrals about issues that disproportionately impact women. Location: Lawrence Center, Room 220, Phone: 610-436-2122, Hours: Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Commencement. A graduation ceremony where students officially receive recognition for completing their degrees. At WCU, commencement is held in May and December. Learn more about WCU commencement.
Continued Probation (also called Extended Probation). Any full-time student on probation for the first time, who does not return to good academic standing, but instead, drops to part-time status before the end of the semester, will automatically be placed on continued probation. Once you have been placed on continued probation, however, dropping to part-time will not protect you from dismissal. Once you are placed on continued probation, you must return to good academic standing or face dismissal from the university. The special assistant for academic policy may grant one semester of extended probation to a student who: (a) has made progress toward academic good standing while following his/her Academic Recovery Plan, and (b) has a reasonable mathematical chance of reaching a cumulative GPA of 2.00 after one additional semester on probation. Continued probation is intended to allow students to complete their degree in a timely manner. If a student who has received a letter of dismissal is granted Continued Probation status, they must enroll within the next 12 months. Any student who is still below the 2.00 cumulative GPA standard after one full-time semester of extended probation (two consecutive full-time semesters on probation) will be dismissed. If the student went from full-time to part-time status as part of their Academic Recovery Plan, a third semester of probation may be permitted, provided that the student has had a semester GPA higher than 2.00 each semester since being placed on academic probation. See more about Continued Probation in the catalog.
Counseling and Psychological Services. The counseling center provides mental health services for all currently enrolled WCU students. Services include individual and group counseling, drug and alcohol counseling, crisis intervention, consultation, outreach, and psychiatric services. See more information on the Counseling Center’s website. Contact: Lawrence Center Suite 241, Phone: 610-436-2301, Hours: Mondays - Fridays 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Course Catalog (sometimes called the Undergraduate Catalog or Graduate Catalog, depending on which type of courses you are looking for). This catalog lists and describes all courses available at WCU. It also describes various academic policies, such as those about plagiarism, grades, graduation, etc. You can access the full undergraduate catalog and graduate catalog on the catalog website. Note that you can also search for classes that are available in any given semester by using the “Search” function in MyWCU, as described under “MyWCU.”
Culture Cluster. The Department of Languages and Cultures at WCU offers a wide variety of "culture cluster" courses taught in English. These clusters help students explore various cultures.
Curriculum. This is a general word used to describe the requirements to graduate—that is, all of the courses you need to complete in order to graduate. It can also be used more specifically to refer to all the classes you will need to complete in your major or minor (e.g., the Criminal Justice curriculum), or the courses you must take outside your major/minor in order to graduate—called the General Education curriculum.
Dean. A dean is the head of a college within a university. Each university is made up of multiple colleges. Within each college, professors report to department chairs, and department chairs report to deans. Deans are responsible for ensuring the departments within their college are functioning in support of the university’s mission. View our updated list of the colleges and their deans, what departments are within the college, etc.
Degree Progress Report (DPR). The Degree Progress Report (DPR) is a guide for a student's academic progress and includes information about total adjusted credits toward graduation, comments from advisors and graduation analysts, and degree requirements and requirements “not satisfied.” Students can access, view, and print a DPR in myWCU to track their academic progress towards completion of their degree requirements. When scheduling appointments with your academic advisor, it’s important that you bring this along to discuss your progress. You can access your DPR through myWCU.
Department Chair. The chair is responsible for leadership in developing an academic department’s programs within the mission of the university. The chair is also responsible for informing the department of the perspectives and actions of the dean and other administrators. View the updated list of department chairs. You would contact your department chair if you have a non-academic complaint, i.e. want to report instances of unprofessional behavior and other complaints that are unrelated to your academic grade (Please see the Student Complaint Policy for more information).
Dismissal (also called Academic Dismissal). If you have been placed on academic probation, and you are not able to raise your cumulative GPA to a 2.00 at the end of one full-time semester, you will be subject to Academic Dismissal from the University. If you are a full-time student on probation, you may wish to drop to part-time status. Any full-time student on probation, who does not return to good academic standing, but instead, drops to part-time status before the end of the semester, will automatically be placed on continued probation (see Continued Probation). Once you have been placed on continued probation, however, dropping to part-time will not protect you from dismissal. Once you are placed on continued probation, you must return to good academic standing or face dismissal from the university. Dismissals can be appealed. Find more information on dismissal, including how to appeal.
Distance Education (DE). West Chester University offers flexible, convenient distance education programs that are accessible outside the traditional classroom. Courses online allow you to complete your classes at your convenience, without sacrificing quality or valuable interaction with your instructor and peers. As long as you have an internet connection, you can attend class anytime or anywhere. Learn more about our online masters programs, doctoral programs, and graduate certification programs.
Distributive Courses. These are the General Education courses that cover Mathematics, Natural Science, Behavioral and Social Science, Humanities (History, Philosophy, Literature), and Arts. The most current list of acceptable/approved General Education Distributive courses can be found here in the Undergraduate Catalog
Doctoral Degree. The highest academic degree awarded by a university upon successful completion of an advanced program of study, typically requiring at least three years of graduate study beyond the master's degree (which may have been earned at a different university). You can find all the WCU Doctoral degrees listed on the Graduate Programs page. Some programs offer full or partial tuition funding via research positions, Graduate Assistantships, and other means.
Enrollment. See Registration.
Enrollment Appointment. The date and time that you can begin registering for classes for the next semester. You find this on MyWCU. You will want to schedule an appointment to meet with your academic advisor before your enrollment appointment.
Exception (or Petition for Exception to Policy). Request to waive a university academic policy due to unexpected, extenuating circumstances. Many WCU policies have exceptions. More information about exceptions, and the electronic form for filing an exception, can be found on the Registrar’s website.
Executive Vice President and Provost. The chief academic administrator at WCU, who is responsible for the university’s academic and budgetary affairs. Contact information for the Provost’s office can be found on the Provost website
Exploratory Studies. A program where undecided WCU students explore majors while faculty advisors guide students regarding course selection and grade requirements for those majors. Student accepted into the Exploratory Studies program are students who chose a major but haven’t yet been accepted to that program, have multiple interest areas, are unsure of what to major in, or were accepted into a major but changed their mind.
Extended Probation. See Continued Probation.
Faculty Office Hours. Each full-time faculty member at WCU is required to have at least 5 hours per week when students can meet with them about their class (hours for part-time faculty are adjusted depending on how much they teach). These hours typically can be found on the D2L site for the course, your syllabus, or posted on the professor’s office door. You can meet with your professors to talk about any difficulties you are having in the class, or if you have interests on the subject material. You do not have to be invited to office hours, and it is perfectly acceptable to just “drop by” your instructor’s office hours. However, if you know in advance you want to meet with your instructor, it might help to make an appointment so that they are sure to keep a spot open to talk to you and you won’t have to wait.
FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This is a standard federal form used to apply for most kinds of financial aid at most schools. You must file your FAFSA every year. Note that although the name says “federal student aid” most schools require you to file a FAFSA before you can be considered for any type of university, state, or federal scholarship or aid, not just federal loans. Deadlines for filing your FAFSA can vary by state and school, so be sure to check when the WCU deadline is each year to ensure you are eligible for the widest range of aid available. You can find more about FAFSA at the government website and about WCU financial aid, including how to complete and file your FAFSA at the WCU Financial Aid Office website.
FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). This is a federal privacy law that protects students. West Chester University is committed to protecting the privacy of its students and to maintaining the confidentiality of student education records in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). In short, WCU faculty, staff, and students cannot release information about you without your consent—not even to your family, regardless of who is paying your bills. For example, if your mom calls your advisor or professor and asks about how you are doing in your class(es), your professor cannot tell her. Learn moreabout your rights as a student under this privacy act.
Financial Aid/Financial Aid Office. This is a general term used to refer to any sort of aid you receive to help you pay for college. It can be in the form of a scholarship, grant, or loan. The WCU Financial Aid office website has a lot of information about options. Location: Kershner Student Service Center 25 University Ave, Phone: 610-436-2627, Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. (Wednesday office opens at 9 a.m.).
Free Elective. Any courses you take (or transfer) that count as WCU credits but are not required as part of the General Education or Major curriculum can be used as “free electives”. These are the courses required to reach 120 total credits after all other requirements are met. These can be additional courses in your major, or they can be used to get a minor in some area, or they can just be courses you take because you enjoy the topic. In some majors, these credits can also help you start a Master's degree.
General Education Courses (also called Gen Ed). Courses outside your major/minor that are required to graduate from WCU. These include courses in English Composition, Mathematics, Natural and Behavioral/Social Science, Humanities (e.g., History, Philosophy), Arts. They also include what are called “attribute” courses, that is, courses specifically focused on diverse communities, interdisciplinary studies, ethics, writing and speaking emphasis. These courses are designed to provide you with a fuller liberal arts education that will prepare you to think and communicate as a professionals, to understand the social and global contexts of your life, transfer knowledge and skills from one setting to another, recognize difference and make informed decisions using reasoning skills, and to balance the various dimensions of your personal and professional lives. The Gen Ed courses comprise 40 of the total 120 credits you must have to graduate from WCU. The most current list of acceptable/approved General Education courses can be found here in the Undergraduate Catalog.
GPA(Grade Point Average). A measure of your academic performance across courses on a scale from 0 to 4. You have a GPA for your major/minor and an overall GPA. It is calculated by dividing the total amount of grade points earned by the total amount of credit hours attempted. At WCU, a minimum overall cumulative GPA (CGPA) of 2.0 is required for graduation; your major program may require a higher GPA for your major courses. You can find more information about GPA and how to calculate it on the Registrar’s website.
Graduate Assistant (GA). With respect to the resident halls, this is a full-time graduate student employed part-time by the Office of Residence Life and Housing Services. Each residence hall (except University Hall) has an assigned GA who works under the direction of the Resident Director (RD) or Graduate Hall Director (GHD) in supervising the desk staff and performing other administrative tasks to help ensure that the residence hall/apartment community is operating smoothly. You can meet your GA during posted office hours or by appointment. GAs may be employed by other departments as well, such as OSSD, the Early Alert program, the Office of Student Leadership and Involvement, etc. You may find a list of available GA positions here: Twardowski Career Development Center – Student Employment.
Graduate Student/Graduate Studies. A student who already holds an undergraduate degree and is pursuing advanced studies at a graduate school, leading to a master's, doctorate or graduate certificate. A "graduate" can also refer to any student who has successfully completed a program of study and earned a degree. A full list of graduate programs can be found online or through the course catalog.
Higher Education/Post-Secondary. Any type of education that happens after high school or secondary school
Honors College. Honors College membership is comprised of students with outstanding achievement in scholarship, leadership, and community service. Membership in Honors is competitive with a maximum of 80 seats offered each fall. Current membership includes students from 36 different academic majors. These accepted students live on the sixth and seventh floor of Allegheny Hall. Being part of the Honors College is separate from “graduating with honors,” which is receiving the honor of either cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude at graduation, depending on your final GPA.
Independent Study (sometimes called Individualized Instruction). Many academic departments offer an independent study course for students with demonstrated ability and special interests. This course is appropriate when a student has a specialized and compelling academic interest that cannot be pursued within the framework of a regular course. You can find more information on how to pursue an independent study at the Registrar’s Office or within your academic department. It is possible to receive course credit for independent study courses and is something you should discuss with your advisor .
Individualized Instruction. See Independent Study.
Internship. Gaining career-related work experience while in college is an excellent way to be more competitive for your future job search. Some WCU programs require that you complete an internship, practicum, or field experience, whereas other departments offer optional internship/field experience programs. There are a number of resources at WCU and online to help you make connections with opportunities! You may also inquire about internship opportunities within your department. It is possible to receive course credit for internships and is something you should discuss with your advisor.
Dowdy Multicultural Center. The purpose of the Multicultural Center is to promote the academic achievement and personal development of more than 3,700 African-American, Latinx, Asian-American, and Native American Indian students at WCU. The Multicultural Center coordinates several programs, such as; the Mentoring Program, and numerous events throughout the year. It also serves as a campus gathering place and resource/programming center for all students and other member of the WCU community to enhance awareness and appreciation of diversity and inclusion. Location: Sykes Student Union Room 003, Phone: 610-436-3273, Hours: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Learning Assistance and Resource Center (LARC). The LARC provides academic support services with the intention of helping students become independent, active learners who achieve academic success. The LARC provides tutoring by highly skilled and qualified WCU students in a variety of subjects, including languages, the sciences, effective writing, math, history, sociology, and economics. In addition, the LARC partners with Smarthinking to provide free online tutoring 24/7 The LARC hosts the Academic Success Workshop (ASW), which is a program designed to teach students general study skills, class participation, and time management methods applicable to all courses and programs of study. Location: Lawrence Center Suite 224, Phone: 610-436-2535.
Learning Management System / D2L. Brightspace by D2L is the Learning Management System used at WCU to support education. It is used by instructors to post course materials, hold online discussions, tests, quizzes, and surveys.
Letter of Recommendation (also called a Reference Letter or Rec Letter). A letter a professor or others may write that describes and assesses your academic performance and potential, character, and capabilities. Typically, you ask a professor or others to write a rec letter when you are applying for job, internships, scholarships, or applying to graduate school. Because you will need such letters at one or more points in your college career, it is a good idea to get to know at least some of your professors well—that is, outside of a large lecture classroom setting. The more specific information a writer can provide, the stronger the letter. Consider, for example, getting involved in extra-curricular activities, taking a few smaller classes with more professor contact, doing research with a professor, and so on. Always ask for letters of recommendation in person, if possible, and well in advance of the deadline.
Living-Learning Community (LLC). LLCs are specialized living environments that connect students with similar experiences and interests both inside and outside of the classroom. Each LLC is unique, but all are centered on a distinctive theme or academic interest area.
Master’s Degree. A graduate degree awarded by a college or university upon successful completion of an advanced program of study, typically requiring one or two years of full-time study beyond the bachelor's degree. Common degree types include Master of Arts (M.A.); Master of Science (M.S.); and Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.). A full list of graduate programs can be found online or through the course catalog. Some programs offer full or partial tuition funding via research positions, Graduate Assistantships, and other means.
Matriculate. To enroll in a program of study at a college or university, with the intention of earning a degree.
Merit aid/merit scholarship. A scholarship that is based on academic performance such as your GPA. Although sometimes you will be identified for such scholarships without having to look for it, more likely you will have to find and apply for these scholarships. The WCU financial aid website is a good place to start, but you can also check for options in your major department, and outside WCU.
Minor. An academic subject area that a student chooses in order to have a secondary focus during their undergraduate studies. Unlike a major, a minor is typically not required, but it allows a student to take a few additional courses in a subject different from his or her major. You can find minors in the Program Index and course catalog.
Multicultural Center. See Dowdy Multicultural Center.
MyWCU. Portal used to access student-services information, your grades, and class scheduling.
Office of Residence Life and Housing Services. Assists students in all aspects of their on-campus living experience. This includes supervision of residence hall staff, oversight of university policies and procedures related to campus housing, and the oversight of the Traditional North Campus Residence Halls and the South Campus Apartment Complex. You can find more information on their website. If you need assistance, call 610-436-3307 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (OSSD). OSSD offers services for students with physical and learning disabilities. The OSSD is designed to assist student in making a successful transition to the University, to facilitate this, a comprehensive assessment of needs is recommended through this office. The OSSD provides advocacy with faculty for classroom accommodations under the requirements of Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Recent, appropriate, and comprehensive documentation provided by licensed professionals must accompany requests for accommodations. OSSD also advocates in the readmission procedure, with the offices of Financial Aid and the Registrar. Students needing support from OSSD should register as early as possible and ensure proper documentation prior to enrollment. Location: Lawrence Center Suite 223, Phone: 610-436-2504, Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. (Wednesday office opens at 9 a.m.).
Orientation. A college or university's official process of welcoming new, accepted students to campus and providing them with information and policies before classes begin. At WCU, New Student Programs offers orientation programming for new first-year, transfer and adult learner students as well as programs throughout the year to help new students with their transition to WCU. We also offer programs designed specifically for new students' family members and guests so they can learn more about WCU and how to support their student throughout their academic career.
OSSD. See Office of Services for Students with Disabilities.
Petition for Exception to Policy. See Exception.
Plagiarism. The use of another person's words or ideas as your own, without acknowledging that person. West Chester University has policies and punishments for students caught plagiarizing, which tends to occur with research papers and other written assignments. If you’re unsure about plagiarism, please reach out to a librarian or the Writing Center.
Post Baccalaureate (Post-Bacc) Program. Program for students working on a second Bachelor’s degree. A Post-Bacc may offer you a chance to strengthen your transcript and knowledge base before applying to graduate school, especially if you are looking to enter a field different from your first Bachelor’s degree. WCU offers various Post-Bacc options: Pre-Med Post-Bacc, Post-Bacc Educator Prep Programs, Post-Bacc Certifications, among others. Pos-Bacc research assistantships are available in certain programs, inquire about these within your department and/or talk to your advisor.
Prerequisite. A course that is required before you can take a given course (e.g., you must take PSY100 before you can take PSY245). A co-requisite is a course that must/can be taken together/at the same time as the course you want. Pre- and co-requisites are listed in the course catalogue or MyWCU when you search for a course you want to take.
Proctor/OSSD Proctoring Center. A proctor is a person who monitors students during an exam. The purpose of the OSSD Proctoring Center is to provide testing accommodations for students who are registered with the OSSD at WCU and have an accommodation that allows the student to use the Proctoring Center (e.g. for extra time on exams, distraction free environment, etc.). Location: Lawrence Center Suite 223, Phone: 610-436-2564, Hours: See the OSSD website for current hours.
Ram’s Eye View (Student Handbook). This online handbook can point you towards the answers and assistance you need when facing academic and personal challenges. It also lists many of the fun activities on WCU’s campus. Requests for hard copies may be directed to the Office of the Assistant Dean for Student Involvement, 202 Lawrence Center.
Registrar. The Registrar’s Office is responsible for keeping official student records (i.e. transcripts) and handling all registration/enrollment related issues. You may find the following on the Registrar’s website: the Academic Calendar, how to order an official transcript, information about registration and scheduling, and important forms. Location: Kershner Student Service Center 25 University Ave, Phone: 610-436-3541, Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. (Wednesday office opens at 9 a.m.).
Registration (also referred to as Enrollment). Signing up for classes each semester. You can find all the information you need on the Registrar’s website. You need to meet with your academic advisor prior to your “enrollment appointment”—that is, the time you are able to begin registering. You will want to have your schedule set by that date so that you can register and get the classes you really want. You are responsible for contacting your academic advisor before your enrollment appointment to meet with them about your progress and course selection.
Research. All full-time tenure-track faculty at WCU are expected to engage in scholarly work that includes research and/or artistic endeavors, depending on department. Most faculty engage students (both undergraduate and graduate) in this work. Working with a faculty member on research provides an important enrichment to your coursework, and provides valuable hands-on experience whether you are interested in going to graduate school or plan on heading directly into the workforce. Many departments at WCU offer course credit for engaging in research with a professor. There are also opportunities to do independent research under the supervision of a faculty member, for example the Summer Undergraduate Research Institute (SURI). You can get more information about getting engaged in research from your department, your academic advisor, or the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.
Resident Assistant (RA). A trained peer leader responsible for supervising and assisting other students who live in the same residence hall (usually a specific floor, wing, or apartment building). At WCU, RAs are student staff members of Residence Life and Housing Services. RAs are given a stipend as well as provided with occupancy of a single bedroom at no charge throughout the academic year. Learn more information about RA position qualifications, compensation, and responsibilities.
Resident Director (RD) or Graduate Hall Director (GHD). A professional staff member of Residence Life and Housing Services. Each residence hall and each apartment complex on South Campus is run by a full-time RD/GHD who lives in the building or complex. The RD/GHDs supervise the Graduate Assistant, Resident Assistant, and Desk Assistant staff in their building or complex and are responsible for the daily operation of that hall/complex. You may consult with your RD/GHD regarding personal relationships, academic concerns, or general information about the University. You can meet with your RD/GHD during posted office hours or by appointment. You may also leave messages at the Front Desk or Clubhouse Desk for the RD/GHD. In case of an emergency, your RA will be able to locate the RD/GHD on-call for assistance .
Resource Pantry. The WCU Resource Pantry is open to all undergraduate and graduate students at WCU regardless of need level. No appointment necessary, walk-ins are welcome at any time during hours of operation. The Pantry offers non-perishable food, fresh produce from the campus gardens, personal care items, school supplies, and winter and career clothing. If you are visiting the Pantry for the first time, a staff member will help you fill out a simple application form and show you around. After that, you are free to shop for whatever items you need. You are welcome to return to the Pantry anytime, there is no limit to how frequently you can shop in the Pantry. Location: Commonwealth Hall, lower level, enter at Student Services, Phone: 610-436-2378, Hours: See the website for current hours.
Rubric. An explanation of how an assignment will be graded. It typically will explain the professor’s expectations and criteria by describing different levels of performance (e.g., from 0 to 100%, or from poor to excellent).
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP; also referred to as Good Academic Standing). A student remains in good academic standing as long as he or she maintains a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 for all work taken at the University.
Service Learning. Combines learning goals and community service in ways that can enhance both student growth and the common good. At West Chester University, students can address community needs by building mutually beneficial partnerships. To learn more, visit the Office of Service Learning and Volunteer Programs.
Standardized Graduate School Admission Exams (e.g., GRE, GMAT, LSAT). In order to apply and be admitted into graduate schools, it is typically required students take a standardized admission exam. Which exam you take is dependent on what graduate program you are applying to. Plan on taking these exams well before the program’s application due date. Some examples of these exams are: the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), and Law School Admission Test (LSAT).
Student Government Association (SGA). The purpose of SGA is to be the voice of the student body at WCU, enrich student education with experience in self-government, and ensure the rights and privileges for all students. SGA meets weekly and every meeting is open to the public.
Student Health Services. Student Health Services provides a wide-range of clinical care. You can make an appointment for asthma care, aches and sprains, sexual health and contraceptive needs. Contact: Commonwealth Hall Ground Floor, Phone: 610-436-2509, Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m, Saturdays: 10am - 6pm.
Study Abroad. Education abroad changes lives, and the work of the Center for International Programs is guided by the commitment to promote access to international education opportunities. The first step to learning more about education abroad opportunities at WCU is to register to attend an education abroad information session in the Center for International Programs.
Swap Function. Use this function in MyWCU if you are on the waitlist for a preferred class, but also enrolled in another class as a backup. If there is an opening in your preferred class, this function will automatically swap the preferred (waitlisted) class for the other registered class. Instructions on how to do this in MyWCU can be found in on p. 2 of the document Sign Up For Waitlist.
Syllabus. This a document that each instructor will provide for each course that describes the course, provides information about it such as what the readings and assignments are, and describes the expectations.
Title IX/Title IX Office. Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex and states, “No person in the United States shall on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance (Title IX).” The Title IX Office at WCU is part of the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on our campus. The Title IX coordinator is dedicated to ensuring equity on campus. The Title IX coordinator can provide information about the processes related to cases of sexual misconduct. Location: 13/15 University Avenue, Phone: 610-436-2433 .
Tuition/Room & Board. An amount of money charged by a school per term, per course or per credit, in exchange for instruction and training. Tuition generally does not include the cost of textbooks, room and board, and other fees. "Room and board" is typically one of the costs that colleges and universities will list in their annual estimated cost of attendance, in addition to tuition, fees, and textbooks and supplies. If students choose to live in dormitories, they may be required to buy into a meal plan to use on-campus dining facilities. To learn more about your estimated Tuition and Room & Board fees, see the Admissions homepage.
Twardowski Career Development Center. This office helps WCU students and alumni with a variety of services related to pursuing a career, these include: guidance on career decision making, help with writing resumes and cover letters, preparing for job interviews, and securing internships. The Career Center also regularly hosts job fairs during which employers visit WCU to recruit students who are about to graduate. Location: Lawrence Center 705 S. New Street, Phone: 610-436-2501, Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Undergraduate/Undergraduate studies.A student enrolled in a two-year or four-year study program at a college or university after graduation from high school, leading to an associate or bachelor's degree. You can view all of WCU’s undergraduate programs online or in the course catalog.
University Libraries. Two libraries support WCU. The main facility is Francis Harvey Green Library (FHG) on the campus quad at the corner of High Street and Rosedale Avenue. The Presser Music Library is in room 121 of the Swope Music Building. The WCU libraries include print materials, electronic materials, study space, and librarians who can assist with research questions; You can find print and electronic materials online and they also may be accessed off campus by entering your WCU login. See the websites for current hours. There is a 24/5 Zone Sunday through Thursday which can be accessed through Starbucks, using your WCU RamCard
Waitlist. When a class you want to register for is “full,” (also called “closed”, indicated by a blue square when you see the course on MyWCU) you can often get on a waitlist (indicated by a yellow triangle in MyWCU). MyWCU will tell you what the “Wait Cap” is, which is the total number of additional students who might be added. If you really want a class, you should get on the waitlist. If there is enough demand, another section might be added, or there is a chance the professor may open up more seats. If that happens and you are on the waitlist you will be added, if not, you won’t be. Note that being on a waitlist does not guarantee you will be added to that class, so you should register for another section or class “just in case.” If you do get added to the class you really wanted, you can drop the other class. Not all courses will have a wait list available. Students are permitted to wait list up to 7 credit hours. You must drop a wait list request if you no longer want to take the course.
Withdrawal. See Academic Leave.
Work-study. A financial aid program funded by the U.S. federal government that allows undergraduate or graduate students to work part time on campus or with approved off-campus employers. To participate in work-study, students must complete the FAFSA. In general, international students are not eligible for work-study positions. WCU students can check their eligibility and apply for work-study .
Writing Center. The Writing Center provides free writing tutoring, workshops, and resources to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty and staff. Their goal is to help you become a better writer, reader, and critical thinker. The Writing Center also offers the option of working on conversational skills if you are an international student. Location: FHG Library Room 251, Phone: 610-430-5664, Hours: Monday - Thursday 12 p.m. - 3 p.m., Wednesday - Thursday 7 p.m. - 10 p.m. (ONLINE ONLY).