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Preliminary impact of DegreePlus: An institutional program to provide transferable skill development through extracurricular activities

Abstract

DegreePlus is a recently developed program at Western Carolina University (WCU) that aims to develop transferable skills, including professionalism, cultural responsiveness, leadership and teamwork, in students via their participation in extracurricular activities. A mixed-methods study that included focus groups and a survey was used to identify the preliminary impacts of the program. Researchers found that students view the program as a supportive initiative to help them prepare for their future and meet their career goals. Students also perceive that they are learning the targeted skills and are able to apply them to a limited extent. Finally, students view the program as a means of connecting to their university community. We anticipate that student participation in this program may assist with other institutional goals, such as retention and student success, as many of the impacts from the program align with principles that support these objectives.

Published:
Pages:131 to 139
Section: Practice Reports
How to Cite
Huffman, C., Tallant, A., & Young, S. (2019). Preliminary impact of DegreePlus: An institutional program to provide transferable skill development through extracurricular activities. Student Success, 10(1), 131-139. https://doi.org/10.5204/ssj.v10i1.1094

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Author Biographies

Western Carolina University
United States United States

Carmen L. Huffman (PhD) is an associate professor of chemistry at Western Carolina University. In addition to her disciplinary research of surface chemistry, her interests include chemical education and methods for developing transferable (soft) skills in undergraduate students

Western Carolina University
United States United States

April Tallant, PhD, RDN, LDN is Associate Dean of the Honors College at Western Carolina University and an Assistant Professor in the Nutrition and Dietetics Program in the School of Health Sciences. Her research areas include the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and community nutrition.

Western Carolina University
United States United States

Shawna C. Young (MA) is the Director of Marketing and Assessment in the Division of Student Affairs at Western Carolina University. As such, she works to increase capabilities, alignment and effectiveness of departmental and division efforts in the areas of branding, communication and assessment. Her interests include student motivation and how students connect their in class learning with their experiences outside of the classroom.