Current Distance or Online Students

Browse the links below for answers to many of your frequently asked questions.  If you have additional questions please do not hesitate to contact us!

Download a copy of the Distance Learning Student Survival Guide!

 

Academic Calendar  Inclement Weather Policy 
Academic Policies Library
Accessing Your Classes Military Student Services
Advisement Registration
Billing/Student Accounts  Release of Student Information 
Bookstore Schedule of Classes 
Career Services  Student Self-Service - My Cat 
Catamount Email  Tutoring/Academic Support (online & FREE) 
Computer & IT Support University ID (Cat Card) 
Degree Audit/Evaluation University Catalog 
Financial Aid Withdrawing from a Class
Free Software Downloads Writing Resources 

Academic Calendar

You can view the Academic Calendar and important dates and deadlines on the Registrar's webpage

Academic Policies

Academic Probation Policies Academic Probation for Continuing Students   Continuing students are placed on academic probation when their cumulative WCU GPA falls below 2.0.  At the end of the term of academic probation, students must achieve one of the following: a. Raise the cumulative GPA to a good standing (2.0); OR b. Earn a minimum 2.3 GPA during the probationary term. Failure to achieve one of the above academic criteria will result in academic suspension.

Academic Probation for Freshman and New Transfers

In addition to the above criteria, first semester freshman and new transfer students who are placed on academic probation must meet specific guidelines in order to continue enrollment in the University.  First semester freshman and new transfers who earn a cumulative GPA within the range of 1.0 to 1.999 at the end of their first semester may return to the University for their second semester only if they choose to participate in the Learning Contract program.

Learning Contract Program

First semester freshman and new transfers will be placed on academic probation if their GPA falls within the range of 1.0 to 1.999 at the end of their first semester.  Students placed on academic probation with a cumulative GPA in this range at the end of their first semester must participate in the Learning Contract program during their second semester.  Students who do not choose this option are not eligible to continue enrollment in the University for one term.  If readmitted after a lapse in enrollment, students are reminded that they will return to WCU under the general guidelines for academic probation.

The Learning Contract Program specifies that these students work closely with an academic advisor.  The student and advisor will discuss academic performance issues, set realistic goals, and make the necessary plans to reach those goals.  Students will be linked with the campus resources that can help them succeed.  Follow-up contacts will occur throughout the semester.

When appropriate, students should use the University's grade replacement policy to improve their academic standing.

Additionally, these students must make at least a 2.3 GPA during their second semester or bring their cumulative GPA to good standing (2.0).  Failure to achieve these guidelines will result in academic suspension.

Academic Suspension Policies

Academic Suspension from the University will occur as a result of failing to meet the criteria specified while on academic probation.  Students placed on academic suspension are not eligible to enroll in the University for one semester.  After a one-semester suspension, students may apply for readmission to the University.  If readmitted, students will return on academic probation.  The semester of suspension is intended to provide students with time to carefully consider the reasons for academic difficulty, resolve problems, clarify educational goals, and improve academic skills.  If a student attends another institution while on suspension, the student must have a minimum of 2.0 GPA on all work attempted since their last enrollment at Western Carolina University.  Students are reminded that grades made in transferred courses are not computed in the GPA calculation at WCU.

Academic Suspension for First Semester Freshman and New Transfers

First semester freshman and new transfers who earn a cumulative GPA below a 1.0 at the end of their first semester will be placed on academic suspension and will not be eligible to enroll in the University for one semester.  After a one-semester suspension, students may apply for readmission to the University.  If readmitted, students will return on academic probation.  The semester of suspension is intended to provide students with time to carefully consider the reasons for academic difficulty, resolve problems, clarify educational goals, and improve academic skills.  If a student attends another institution while on suspension, the student must have a minimum 2.0 GPA on all work attempted since their last enrollment at WCU.  Students are reminded that grades made in transferred courses are not computed in the GPA calculation at WCU.

Please visit the Undergraduate Catalog for additional information regarding academic probation, the learning contract program, academic suspension, and the appeal process for academic suspension.

Accessing Your Classes

1. Go to the WCU home page

2. Select "Blackboard" towards the top of the page

3. Select "Click here to log in"

4. Your username is your catamount email alias (if your catamount email address is wcustudent@catamount.wcu.edu, then your username is "wcustudent")

5. Your password is your My Cat password

All classes you are registered for will appear on your class list by the first day of class.  If you have problems logging into Blackboard or accessing your courses, please contact the 24-hour Blackboard Support Hotline at 1.866.374.8144

Advisement

An advisor is assigned to you after you have been accepted to a distance learning program.  If you have any questions regarding who your advisor is please feel free to contact us.  Prior to contacting your advisor please review a copy of your degree audit/evaluation.

Distance Learning Advisors

AIG, Dr. Sharon Dole, 828.227.3282 or dole@wcu.edu

Birth - Kindergarten, Dr. Cathy Grist, 828.227.2272 or clgrist@wcu.edu

Construction Management, Dr. George Ford, 828.227.2519 or gford@wcu.edu

Criminal Justice, Aaron Vassey, 828.227.2163 or pavassey@wcu.edu

CJ/EDM Liberal Studies, Paul Denkenberger, 828.227.2737 or rpdenkenberger@wcu.edu

Emergency & Disaster Management, Aaron Vassey, 828.227.2163 or pavassey@wcu.edu

Emergency Medical Care, Dr. Michael Hubble, 828.227.3516 or mhubble@wcu.edu

Engineering Technology, Dr. William McDaniel, 828.227.2517 or mcdaniel@wcu.edu

Entrepreneurship-GR, Dr. Frank Lockwood, 828.227.3390 or lockwood@wcu.edu

Entrepreneurship-UG, Bethany Davidson, 828.227.7185 or bdavidson@wcu.edu

Health Information Administration, Mary Teslow, 828.227.3515 or mteslow@wcu.edu

Human Resources, Dr. John Sherlock, 828.227.3380 or sherlock@wcu.edu

M.A.Ed. in Special Education, Dr. Sharon Dole, 828.227.3282 or dole@wcu.edu

M.A.T in Special Education, Dr. Lisa Bloom, 828-227-7310 or bloom@wcu.edu 

M.S.A, Dr. Ann Allen, 828-227-7310 or alallen@wcu.edu

Nurse Administration-Grad. Cert., Jessi Shirley, 828.670.8810 ext.221, jshirley@wcu.edu

Nurse Educator-Grad. Cert., Jessi Shirley, 828.670.8810 ext. 228 or jshirley@wcu.edu

RN to BSN, Jessi Shirley, 828.670.8810 ext. 228 or jshirley@wcu.edu

Project Management, Dr. Vittal Anantatmula, 828.227.3990 or vittal@wcu.edu

Post Master's Certificate in Public School Licensure, Dr. Ann Allen, 828-227-7310 or alallen@wcu.edu

 

Billing/Student Accounts

Go to WCU's home page, select My Cat, enter your username and password, click on Personal Services tab, then Student tab, and then Account and Payment Information.  Click on Bill + Payment, click on Authorized Users tab, click on Add an Authorized User button and follow prompts to completion. 

If paying with a debit or credit card, click on Enter Bill & Payment Account Suite, Make a Payment, and Pay.
 

Bookstore

To order textbooks for your course/s, please:

Go to WCU's Bookstore at: http://books.wcu.edu.  Click on "Supplemental/Graduate/Distance Learning".  Under "Students" click on "Online ordering".

Your textbooks will be shipped to you via UPS.  Most books should arrive within 48 hours.  The Bookstore may be reached at 828.227.7346.

The bookstore has been set up as a secure server site.  If you do not wish to pay by credit/debit card, you may contact Pam Bryson at 1.866.272.4102.

Career Services

Career Services and Cooperative Education offers a variety of services for WCU students, and many are offered online!  Here are just a few services provided by Career Services:

  • JobCat - Where full time jobs and internships for students and alumni are posted
  • Resume and cover letter critiquing
  • Career counseling and career decision making
  • Career events and career fairs
  • Practice interviewing techniques

Visit Career Services at http://careers.wcu.edu for additional information.

 

Catamount Email Account

Catamount mail is the official method for University/student communications including messages, notifications and alerts.  Your account must undergo an initialization process when first accessed.  To activate your Catamount mail account:

  • Go to WCU's home page
  • Click on My Cat & log in
  • Click on the Catamount tab & follow prompts

 

Computer & IT Support 

For computer information, services and assistance please refer to WCU's Help Desk by calling toll-free 1.866.928-7487 between 8 am - 5 pm or emailing itshelp@wcu.edu.  Or, visit WCU's Information Technology webpage.  For the 24/7 Blackboard live support hotline call 1.866.374.8144.

 

Degree Audit/Evaluation

The Degree audit allows you to check on what courses you have remaining on your path to degree completion.

*The degree audit feature will not provide accurate information until your complete transcript information has been evaluated.

To run a degree audit:

  • Go to WCU's home page
  • Click My Cat and log in
  • Click on the Personal Services tab
  • Click on the Student tab
  • Click on Student Records
  • Choose the appropriate term and click submit
  • You will see your current curriculum information including your major.  To run a degree audit, click on Generate New Evaluation at the bottom and middle of the page
  • Select the button next to the major for which you wish to run an audit and click the Generate Request button
  • Wait patiently for the audit to generate - this may take a few minutes
  • You should now see your degree audit.  Courses you still need to satisfy will appear with a red NO next to them

If you have any questions regarding your transfer evaluation or degree audit please contact your academic advisor.

Financial Aid

In most cases, you must be fully admitted to a program within the University in order to receive financial aid from WCU.

  • If your employer has a tuition reimbursement program, we encourage you to contact the human resources department at your place of employment to investigate those opportunities.

  • Military students and their family members should contact Ms. Lisa Winders, Director for Military Student Services (828.227.7397; military@wcu.edu; http://military.wcu.edu/)

Finanical Aid FAQ's

Free Software Downloads

WCU's Information Technology Department offers free downloads of Microsoft Office, Symantec Antivirus and other utilities for all enrolled students.  Visit the IT Software Download webpage for additional information.

 

Inclement Weather Policy

If you are participating in blended distance education courses (some classroom attendance is required and the rest of the course is delivered online using Blackboard), you will follow the weather policy of the Community College or center site.

For online classes, unless the Blackboard server goes down due to weather, you should be able to access your course.

For additional information see WCU's Weather Announcements.

 

Library

Hunter Library at WCU is an important resource for your academic success.  Many library resources and services are available online.  Get started by visiting the library homepage.  Also, explore the library resources available specifically to off-campus and distance students.

11 Things Distance Learning Students Should Know About Hunter Library

Military Student Services

The Military Student Services Office provides information and guidance on tasks such as: 1) application, admission, and course registration, 2) how to process military tuition assistance, vocational-rehabilitation, and GI Bill funds, and 3) how to receive transfer credit for military training and experience.

Contact Military Student Services at military@wcu.edu or call 828.227.7397.

 

Registration

After begin admitted to WCU, you can register for classes through the My Cat system using the instructions below.

  1. Go to the WCU home page
  2. Select "My Cat" towards the top of the page
  3. Enter your WCU student ID/92# as your username.
  4. Enter your password.  Initially, your password has been set as your date of birth (6 digits).  Either MMDDYY or MMYY00 (zero, zero).
  5. Click on the "Personal Services" tab
  6. Click on the "Student" tab
  7. Click on the "Registration" link
  8. Click on "Add/Drop" classes
  9. Select the term and click "submit"
  10. Enter the 5-digit CRN number for the course(s) you wish to add in the Add Class table.  (If you do not know the CRN, click on "Class Search" at the bottom of the page).
  11. Click "Submit Changes"

If you have problems logging into My Cat, please contact the IT Help Desk at 866.928.7487. 

If you have problems registering please contact Educational Outreach toll-free at 1.866.928.4723

 

Release of Student Information

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student information and educational records.  Before any WCU administrative office can discuss most specific issues pertaining to a student's record with third parties, we must have consent from the student. University personnel must be able to verify a student's identity before discussing the student's academic records by telephone.

To complete the release of student information online form please:

  1. Go to WCU's home page
  2. Choose My Cat, towards the top of the page
  3. Enter your username and password
  4. Find Release of Student Information (home tab, bottom of the page)
  5. Read the information carefully before submitting the release

If you wish to discuss your academic records by telephone with University personnel or you wish to authorize another person to discuss such information you must:

  • Create a 6-digit alpha-numeric PIN for yourself (this number should not include your password, your date of birth, or any part of your social security number)
  • Create a second, different 6-digit alpha-numeric PIN for another person if you so choose.

Schedule of Classes

The distance learning class schedules are posted on the Distance & Online Programs webpage.  These schedules are updated weekly and list only distance and online classes.

You can also view class schedules on the Registrar's webpage.

Student Self-Service - My Cat

My Cat is a web portal system that is fully integrated with the University's student records system.  It allows you to obtain up-to-the-minute information on course offerings, your academic record, billing statements, and financial aid information.  My Cat gives you control over your class schedule by allowing you to add and drop courses in compliance with the University calendar.  You can do the following in My Cat:

  • Drop/Add Classes
  • Print enrollment certification
  • View your schedule
  • View and pay your fees
  • View and update your address information
  • View holds
  • View grades
  • View your institutional coursework and degree evaluation
  • View transfer credit and more!

 

Tutoring/Academic Support (online & FREE)

Students enrolled in distance or online programs have access to free online academic support services through Smarthinking.  Smarthinking provides online academic support in the following disciplines: Math, Bilingual Math, Biology, Intro Human A & P, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics, Economics, Accounting, Intro to Finance, Statistics, Spanish, and Writing.  Students can receive feedback on any aspect of academic writing, including help with organization, idea development, documentation, writing style, punctuation, and grammar.  To learn more about the services provided by Smarthinking please visit Smarthinking @ WCU today!

 

University ID (Cat Card)

In order to facilitate the production of your WCU identification card (Cat Card), please submit a recent digital photo of yourself (no pictures with hats or sunglasses) in JPEG or Bitmap format.  Please email the photo along with your name, WCU student ID number, date of birth and mailing address to catcard@wcu.edu.  Cat Cards allow you to check out materials from the library, and student identification cards also provide students with discounts at a variety of restaurants.  Even though you may not think you'll ever need this ID - you'll be surprised, so order your Cat Card today, it's free!

 

University Catalog

You may access and search the University Catalog at http://catalog.wcu.edu

Please use the drop down menu in the upper right-hand corner to select the current undergraduate or current graduate catalog.

 

Withdrawing from a Class

Contact the OneStop center immediately at 828.227.7170 for assistance with course drops and withdrawals.  Remember that communication is important.  Don't just stop attending or signing into your online class.  Let the OneStop help you process your drop/withdrawal so that when you are ready to return to WCU, you can do so easily.  Keep in mind that non-action results in a failing grade.  Please visit the OneStop or go to http://www.wcu.edu and click on "Current Students" for additional information.

 

Writing Resources

Students can receive feedback on any aspect of academic writing, including help with organization, idea development, documentation, writing style, punctuation, and grammar.  To learn more about the services provided by Smarthinking please visit Smarthinking @ WCU.

Also, explore the online writing resources provided by the Writing and Learning Commons.

 

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