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Higher Education Glossary

Understanding UWEC terms and acronyms

Higher education is full of jargon and acronyms. And many words may be new to you or take on a different meaning in higher ed life. This glossary was created to help you master the campus lingo.

A Higher Education Guide and Glossary of Terms for Blugolds

Academic Buildings. Academic buildings house classrooms, lecture halls, various labs, study areas, faculty offices and other spaces that support student learning.

Academic Calendar. The academic calendar is a list of important dates for the school year and includes fall, spring, Winterim and Summer Session dates. Here is where you will find important dates, including drop/add dates, holidays and breaks, withdrawal deadlines and exam dates.

Academic Skills Center/ASC. You can visit this center to receive free peer tutoring, group study and other services that support your learning.

Academic Standing. This is your status with respect to your academic performance. You’re in Good Academic Standing if your overall and semester GPA is 2.0 or higher.

Academic Advisor. Your academic advisor will help you make decisions about your academic program, work with you to create a four-year academic plan and guide you if you change your major so you stay on track to graduate on time. Once you declare a major, a faculty advisor will also help guide you as you make class decisions, pursue internships and look for connections within your field.

Alumni. Alumni refers to all the Blugolds who have earned degrees from UW-Eau Claire.

Advising, Retention and Career Center (ARCC). This is a centralized advising office that houses academic advisors and other professionals to help you through every step of your UW-Eau Claire journey. In ARCC, you will find helpful staff members who will guide and support you in everything from selecting your major and classes to finding an internship to creating a resume.

ASK Center. This center provides administrative support to faculty, staff and student employees. Here you will find answers to any questions you have regarding being a student employee on campus.

Award Letter. When you have completed your FAFSA and any additional aid applications, you will receive an email (your award letter) with instructions to view the amount of money you have been awarded.

Bachelor’s Degree. A degree awarded by a university, usually after you complete all degree requirements. Bachelor’s degrees typically take four years to earn.

Blugold. Be prepared to answer this question often! We are all Blugolds. It doesn’t represent any one thing, which is what makes it so special. We do, however, have Blu the Mascot, a bird-like creature that students created a few years back. You will see Blu supporting students at sporting and other events.

Blugold Beginnings. Blugold Beginnings works to educate and inspire students, especially underrepresented, low-income or first-generation students, to believe that post-secondary education is important, attainable and available to them. Blugold Beginnings offers youth programs and services to promote a college-going culture. Current Blugolds serve as mentors, tutors, counselors and role models.

Blugold Central. Blugold Central is your one-stop-shop as a student. You can easily get your questions answered — online and in-person — by contacting the office. You’ll connect with Blugold Central when you register for classes, have questions about financial aid or to pay your bills. Someone here can answer almost any question you have about being a student here. If they can’t answer the question, they will help you figure out who can.

Blugold Connect. This is a new online app that offers you information about student organizations, leadership opportunities, campus events and other activities of interest to students.

Blugold ID/Card. This is your official identification card that shows you are a UW-Eau Claire student. You will use it for everything from attending events to paying for your food to getting on a city bus.

CampS. You will go to MyBlugold CampS to access and edit various information. This may include checking your grades, dropping classes, applying for graduation or completing other tasks that are part of being a college student. There is a link to CampS at the top of every UW-Eau Claire webpage.

Campus Cab. This is a free ride service that you can access by showing your Blugold ID. It runs on campus from late evening to early morning most days of the week.

Career Conference. Twice a year — once in fall and once in spring — hundreds of employers come to campus to talk with you and other students about internship and job opportunities. Career Services hosts the event and offers many workshops in the weeks leading up to the conference to help you prepare to make a positive impression.

Career Services. Career Services staff will help you explore careers and find internships and jobs. Staff work closely with employers to develop internship and full-time opportunities for students and graduates. Students and alumni from all majors use Career Services.

CASA. Center for Awareness of Sexual Assault (CASA) is a sexual assault support service that provides a safe place for students to talk about any issues relating to sexual assault. Services are free and confidential.

Center for Writing Excellence (CWE). You can visit the CWE to talk about your writing. Writing assistants will help you to improve your writing for everything from papers to applications to presentations and podcasts.

Central Campus Mall. This is the green space on lower campus outside Davies Center. In nice weather, there often is music, games and other activities in this area.

CERCA. UW-Eau Claire's Celebration of Excellence in Research and Creative Activity (CERCA) gives students opportunities to present the results of their research and scholarly creative activity. The annual spring event highlights student research accomplishments and contributions to the academic community.

Chancellor. The chancellor is UW-Eau Claire’s top executive. Chancellor James Schmidt, or Chancellor Jim as he’s known by students, can often be found on campus chatting with students, posing with them for selfies or giving away Blugold hats and scarves on a cold winter day. Chancellor Jim is an avid Twitter user (@Chancellor Jim) who encourages Blugolds to tweet him questions (from the serious to the silly).

Chippewa Valley. The Chippewa Valley refers to the geographic area that surrounds UW-Eau Claire. It includes the Eau Claire-Chippewa Falls-Menomonie-Altoona metropolitan area in western Wisconsin.

College. UW-Eau Claire’s academic programs are organized into four colleges, which include the College of Business, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education and Human Sciences, and College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Every major is associated with a college.

Commencement. A ceremony held in December and May for students on the day of their graduation.

Continuing Education. An office on campus that offers programming for youth, community members, businesses and others.

Course Catalog. The graduate and undergraduate catalogs provide regulations, course listings, degree programs and fee schedules for incoming students. Your course catalog will be a resource/guide throughout your time on campus.

Course Load. The total number of courses/credit hours you are enrolled in during a term.

Course Number. The number used to classify a specific course. You will use it when registering for classes.

Credits. The number of hours assigned to a specific class. Typically, this is the number of hours per week you are in class. Most classes are three credits, but some are worth more and some less. To be enrolled full time at UW-Eau Claire, you must take at least 12 credits each semester.

Davies Center. This is the student union, a gathering space where students study, hang out with friends over coffee or lunch, enjoy concerts, attend meetings, visit the bookstore and more.

Dean’s List. An honor reserved for students who earn specific GPAs (established by each college) during a semester.

Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office works with students through a variety of issues that may get in the way of their success at the university. Examples include personal issues, academic concerns or disciplinary actions.

Differential Tuition. These are tuition dollars UW-Eau Claire students pay in addition to their regular tuition. The differential tuition dollars support high-impact student experiences like research or cultural immersion programs. Student leaders determine how this money is spent each year.

Doctor. Most classes at UW-Eau Claire are taught by faculty who have earned doctoral degrees. As a result, they use the “Dr.” title before their name and expect that you will address them using the title unless otherwise directed.

Double Major. Students with a double major plan to earn a bachelor’s degree in two academic programs at the same time. For example, a bachelor’s degree in nursing and in Spanish.

Drop/Add. The time at the beginning of each semester when you can change the classes you registered for without incurring a penalty. You can find the drop/add deadlines on the Academic Calendar.

EDI. UW-Eau Claire has made it a priority to increase recruitment and retention of students and faculty of color and from all other marginalized groups. The university formed a division of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) to help achieve recruitment and other EDI goals.

Elective. A class you take that’s not required for your major. Most majors leave some room in their degree program for elective classes, giving you opportunities to study something that interests you outside your major.

Extracurricular Activities. Activities or groups that fall outside the scope of academics. They may include clubs, intramural sports or community service projects.

Faculty. These are the people who teach the classes at UW-Eau Claire. There are various ranks within the faculty, including professor, associate professor, assistant professor or lecturer.

FAFSA. This acronym stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid and is the form you fill out to receive financial aid from the federal government to pay for college.

FERPA. This acronym stands for the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act, a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. FERPA gives you the right to see your education records. It also protects your student records from parents, family members and others unless you sign a waiver giving explicit permission for the records to be revealed to them.

Finals Week. The last week of the semester is set aside for final exams. Your final exam schedule will be posted in CampS by the fourth week of the semester.

Financial Aid. The money you receive to help you pay college tuition, fees and other related expenses. Financial aid may come in the form of grants (you do not have to pay back), loans (you must pay back) and scholarships (you do not have to pay back).

First-Generation Student. You are a first-generation college student if your parents/legal guardians haven’t earned a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university.

First-Year Experience (FYE). FYE is an optional program for UW-Eau Claire students in their first year of college that’s designed to help ease their transition into college. You can take FYE classes (sections that enroll only first-year students) or participate in FYE activities on campus.

Footbridge. UW-Eau Claire’s footbridge allows pedestrians and bikers to easily access campus buildings on both the south and north sides of the Chippewa River. It gets a tad chilly in the winter.

Foundation. The UW-Eau Claire Foundation works with alumni, friends and donors who want to provide financial support that strengthens academic, cultural and professional programs. Every year, the UW-Eau Claire Foundation provides more than $1 million for student scholarships.

Grade Point Average/GPA. The average of all the college course grades you’ve received on a four-point scale.

Grant. A form of financial assistance that does not have to be paid back. The aid comes from a non-profit organization such as the government.

Hall Director. Every residence hall has a director, a highly trained university employee who oversees the daily operations of the hall.

Handshake. An online platform that helps you connect with employers for internships or jobs.

Haymarket Landing. Apartment-style, university-owned housing in downtown Eau Claire. More than 400 students live here.

Help Desk. The Help Desk is the front line of support for your technology needs. Help Desk staff are there to answer your questions and make sure you get the technology support you need.

High-Impact Practices (HIPs). HIPs are experiences that promote deeper learning. Examples may include doing research in another country, completing an internship or being part of a learning community.

Immersion. These are outside-the-classroom experiences that will challenge and transform your thinking about cultural norms and values. Through these domestic or international immersions, you will interact with other beliefs, customs and environments, making you more aware of multiple perspectives.

International Students. Students from other countries who are studying at UW-Eau Claire are known as international students.

Internship. A short-term job, which can be paid or unpaid, usually in your field of study. Sometimes you can earn college credit for an internship.

Intramurals. Students of all skill levels can play on intramural sports leagues, on-campus activities that bring Blugolds together for fun and recreation.

Learning and Technology Services (LTS). LTS offers a variety of free training and technology services to students.

Liberal Arts. In higher education, the term liberal arts describes a set of academic areas that include things like the sciences, math, English, philosophy and the fine arts. The liberal arts give you a foundation of knowledge that will be helpful regardless of your future career.

Living Learning Communities (LLC). These are communities in the residence halls where students opt to live because they provide experiences connected to a unique topic. LLC topics at UW-Eau Claire range from Hmong culture to sustainability to social justice.

Loan. A form of financial aid that you must repay.

Major. Your chosen field of study. To earn a degree, you will need to complete all the requirements of the major listed in the course catalog.

Master’s Degree. A degree awarded to graduate students. This typically requires an additional year or two of study after you’ve earned your bachelor’s degree.

Math Lab. The Math Lab offers walk-in math tutoring. Most tutors are students who have completed calculus and now are taking high-level mathematics courses. You can visit the Math Lab if you have questions on homework or want to review concepts you’re learning in your math class.

Minor. A minor is a secondary field of study that requires fewer hours of coursework. You are not always required to have a minor, but it is noted on your transcript.

MWF and TR. Abbreviations that will show up on your schedule to indicate the days of the week your class will meet. Monday, Wednesday, Friday (MWF) and Tuesday, Thursday (TR).

Navigate Student. Navigate Student is a personalized app all first-year Blugolds are strongly encouraged to download. Designed to help you adjust and excel during your first year at college, Navigate includes important reminders, to-do's, schedules and upcoming deadlines specific to you. 

Part-Time Student. A student taking fewer than 12 credits during a semester.

Pedestrian Mall. This is a newly renovated space that runs along the edge of the Chippewa River on the south side of the footbridge. The area features green space, an outdoor classroom, fire pits and other features you may enjoy.

Pre-Professional. This refers to a program that prepares you to pursue graduate programs in a specific profession. For example, pre-law or pre-medicine.

Provost. The provost is the university’s top academic officer, overseeing UW-Eau Claire’s four colleges.

The Hill. A rather impressive hill that connects UW-Eau Claire’s upper and lower campus. Thousands of students trek up and down “the hill” each day to get to and from their residence halls, classes, the library, etc.

Office Hours. This is time set aside by professors and instructors to meet with you, answer your questions or discuss a course/project. Office hours are usually at a set time every week. You don’t have to make an appointment; you just stop in. Office hours are often listed on the syllabus you receive at the start of the semester/term.

Online Class. Classes you take exclusively online instead of in a traditional classroom. Credits earned count toward your UW-Eau Claire degree.

Orientation. A program that introduces newly admitted students and their families to UW-Eau Claire. The most important part of Orientation is your meeting with your advisor, when you will decide on the courses you will take in your first semester.

Outside-the-Classroom Experiences. These are voluntary learning opportunities for students that take place outside the classrooms. It may include things like research, internships, service projects, fine arts activities and conferences.

Pablo Center at the Confluence. A performing arts venue in downtown Eau Claire that is shared by UW-Eau Claire and the city of Eau Claire. Some fine arts faculty have offices here, and some university concerts, plays and other performances take place here.

Pell Grant. A federal financial aid grant that does not have to be paid back. Pell grants are designed for low-income students.

Placement Tests. Tests used by the university to gauge your level of proficiency in a subject, so you can be placed in the appropriate course level.

Plagiarism. The act of using someone else’s work, ideas, thoughts or language and representing it as your own by failing to give credit to the original author. Plagiarism is academically dishonest and may result in penalties such as a failing grade on a test or in a course.

Prerequisite. A course that is required before another course can be taken.

Putnam Park. A 230-acre nature preserve that runs through campus. Many students spend time in the park for recreation (walking, running) or for their studies (research, outdoor classes).

Reciprocity. An agreement that allows students from Minnesota to pay the same tuition and fees as students from Wisconsin.

Registration. Registration is the process of choosing courses and creating a class schedule for the next semester.

Residence Halls. On-campus student housing that UW-Eau Claire owns and operates.

Residency. Residency describes whether you qualify for the tuition rate paid by Wisconsin and Minnesota residents. To qualify, you must have been a Wisconsin resident for at least a year.

RA. Resident assistants (RAs) are trained students in charge of a wing/floor of a residence hall. They live on the wing/floor and are available to answer your questions, support you, plan activities to bring students on the wing/floor together, and act in other ways to help you and your peers be engaged and successful members of the campus community.

Segregated Fees. Segregated fees (seg fees) are paid in addition to your tuition. The fees support a variety of cultural, recreational and other activities not funded with state dollars. Examples range from athletics to health services to textbook rental fees to concerts. All students pay the same seg fees.

Semester. UW-Eau Claire’s calendar includes two 16-week semesters, fall and spring.

Service Center. Located in Davies Center, the Service Center offers a one-stop location where you can take care of many needs, including buying event tickets, sending mail and cashing checks. You also can contact the Service Center with general questions about the university or when you don’t know which office to contact with specific questions.

Service-Learning. We use the term service-learning to describe the various ways our students give back to their communities. You must complete at least 30 hours of service during your undergraduate career. (Many Blugolds complete many more!) UW-Eau Claire’s Service-Learning program can help you find and/or pursue projects that interest you.

Student Employees. You can work on campus, earning money, meeting new people and gaining valuable experience. Jobs range from office assistants to cafeteria workers.

Student Health Service. You can access low-cost, high-quality health care right on campus at Student Health Service. The clinic offers a variety of services and health education programs.

Student Organizations. There are hundreds of student clubs and organizations that you can join. They vary in focus from social to professional to service and everything in between.

Student Senate. A group of students elected to represent the entire student body. Student Senate members work with administrators on a variety of issues and oversee the distribution of seg fees.

Student Success Center. This is where you go for free academic support, whether you are struggling in a specific class, need help improving your note-taking or want to strengthen your writing skills.

Study Abroad. You can pursue academic studies in a different country for a semester or a year. UW-Eau Claire’s Center for International Education has information about study abroad sites, costs, scholarships and other details.

Summer Session. You can take classes during the summer, something many Blugolds do to keep them on track to graduate in four years. There are two summer sessions — one is three weeks long and one is eight weeks long. Summer Session classes vary each year.

Supplemental Instruction (SI). This is a program for students in select courses. SI leaders attend all lectures for specific classes and then facilitate sessions, so students can compare notes, discuss important concepts and prepare for exams. The free service is available to any student enrolled in SI classes. It is offered by the Academic Skills Center.

Syllabus. An outline of the professor’s plans for the course that includes assignments, exam dates, projects and office hours. The syllabus also includes the learning objectives for the course and class policies like attendance. You should read the syllabus carefully.

Transcript. This is the permanent academic record of your time at UW-Eau Claire. Your transcript shows your majors and minors, courses taken each semester, grades received, academic status and honors. You may need to request transcripts for a variety of reasons. You can find information about requesting transcripts through CampS.

Transfer Student. If you attended another university before coming to UW-Eau Claire, you are a transfer student.

Undergraduate Research. Many undergraduate students in all majors work with faculty on research that aims to answer questions related to their field of study. Some research takes place in labs, some in the community and some in different parts of the world. Offering all students meaningful research experiences has long been a priority at UW-Eau Claire.

Undergraduate Student. Students who are working toward their bachelor’s degree are considered undergraduates (undergrads for short).

Underrepresented Student. Specific student populations that make up only a small part of the university’s total population.

University Honors Program. High-achieving students can join the University Honors Program, which offers small, specially designed courses that challenge students in ways that will help them grow personally and intellectually.

UWECBC. UW-Eau Claire – Barron County (UWECBC) is a two-year campus located in Rice Lake that is a partner with the campus in Eau Claire. Students there can earn their associate degree and/or transfer to UW-Eau Claire (or other universities) to work toward their bachelor’s degree. Students from the Rice Lake campus have access to all the resources available to students on the Eau Claire campus.

Upper/Lower Campus. UW-Eau Claire’s beautiful campus includes a rather impressive hill, with most residence halls located on upper campus (the top of the hill) and most academic buildings on lower campus.

Winterim. An academic session offered in January. Students often take Winterim classes to catch up or to stay on track to graduate on time. Classes are smaller and meet several hours each day of the week. Winterim courses may take place on campus, online or in another part of the country or world.

Work-Study. A federal program that provides jobs for students in financial need to help pay for their expenses. Work-study jobs are usually on campus and part of your financial aid package.

Zimride. A carpooling service that makes it easy for you to book car rides with other students who are heading where you are.