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Online Degrees

Part of Western Governors University

January 10, 2007

Online University Experience

What do you know about the WGU excellence awards?

WGU Excellence Award

Excellence Award – You can achieve this award throughout your degree journey by submitting outstanding work.  If an evaluator identifies the work as exemplary, he or she may nominate an exceptional performance task submission that is passed on the first attempt with the highest available score on each aspect of the assessment.  The nomination will be shared through email, along with an e-certificate that you can print, share, or request a printed copy mailed to you.

Capstone Excellence Award – You can only earn this award for the capstone, which is the culminating project at the end of your degree journey. Besides Evaluator nomination, CEAs are reviewed and approved by Evaluation management.  If chosen, you will be mailed a certificate and this recognition will be noted on your transcript.  You may also be invited to have your capstone published in the Capstone Excellence Archive.

Capstone Simulation Excellence Award –If you are in WGU’s MBA program and your team scores 90th percentile or higher on the national business simulation, you will be honored with this achievement, once related performance tasks are completed.  Through email, you will be congratulated and receive an e-certificate that you can print, share, or request a printed copy mailed to you.

Students who receive these awards often feel more connected with WGU’s Evaluation faculty because their nomination comments show that they have taken a thorough look at their work and appreciated their efforts.  Did you know that you can also respond back to the congratulatory email you receive?  When you do so, your appreciation will be shared with the Evaluator who made the nomination and your student and/or course mentor if you name them. 

Here are some recent responses students gave upon receiving an Excellence award.

"I can't thank you enough for recognizing my efforts as it makes me even more determined to push thru all the hard work and earn my degree that I've wanted for so many years. Thank you for the boost of confidence!

Thank you so much for sharing this with me, and for choosing my task! This has definitely made my week if not my month.

Thank you so much for informing me of this award. This was a very testing term for me. When I submitted this paper I fully expected to get it back for revisions. When I saw the passing grade, I cried. And today as I read this email I cried again. Recognition of hard work does not flow my direction very often. It is very gratifying to receive positive feedback from a project like this one. Please thank the evaluator for me as well. Their comments were very kind and gracious.

Thank you so much for the kind words. That paper was a tough one but very enjoyable to strategize and write. I am immensely enjoying my WGU experience and it is an honor to receive the certificate.

Thank you for the recognition and honor. I greatly appreciate the evaluator that had taken the time to read my work. Please extend my warmest gratitude. You have made me smile so big today and had made my week!"

Upon receipt of the Capstone Excellence Award, students (now graduates) said:

"Thank you so much for this honor, and please extend my thanks to the evaluator who submitted my capstone. Finishing the capstone really did feel like the culmination of all my work at WGU thus far. The subject matter covered in the capstone covered numerous courses, stretching back to all my semesters at the school. With graduation in sight, I was able to apply for a promotion at my job. During the interview I got to explain the WGU concept to the panel interviewers, and they were quite impressed with the program's structure, as well as the knowledge I was able to demonstrate I had obtained. I got the promotion, contingent on finishing the degree (which I just did tonight!), and I will start my new position next week, with increased responsibilities and salary, all thanks to the degree earned at WGU. Thanks again for this honor, I have submitted the waiver/release and am flattered that my project may assist other students in the future."

"Just prior to graduation, I applied for a new job which was offered and accepted and I am now two weeks into my new role as a Senior Clinical Analyst developing nursing documentation screens and maintaining appropriate access for hospital staff to complete their roles. Although my previous position was when the facility required that I obtain a bachelor's degree, the education I acquired during the BSHI degree program has greatly contributed to me receiving more inquiries from others within my division of the HCA corporation.  For the first time in years, I feel that I now have something more to offer to future career opportunities.  Thank you WGU for all that you do!"

"I appreciate your email and the award that has been given. I would love to express the effect of my Capstone and my experience at WGU on my career and my professional dreams. I have been teaching for 13 years and although my students have done well overall and students have enjoyed my program, there has always been a small group of students who have "fallen through the cracks." They didn't require a lot of attention, and they weren't failing miserably, they simply didn't engage with the others and achieve at high levels. In beginning my masters' program I wanted to advance my career through education providing options for the future and learn how to better plan and design curriculum in order to ensure that all of my students were being "seen" by me as a teacher and provided with the best possible chance to succeed. The classes, tasks, and especially my capstone project provided the tools and the introspection and experimentation based on research to make this goal possible. Not only did I finish the program with a degree that advances my current career as a teacher and provides opportunities at a higher level if I would like to pursue that, but I was also given the tools necessary to begin a change that will allow me to motivate students who are lacking in natural motivation. I have been extremely impressed with WGU as a University and can't stop talking about it with everyone I know. I have felt completely supported with mentors, emails, materials, feedback, etc. I could not have been happier with the support that was available and given, nor with the classes and the requirements. I am so happy to have made this decision, and even happier to have gone through a process that has made me a better person!"

In addition, here is how a couple of our faculty members felt when receiving a student response back:

Evaluator: Thank you so much for this kind email.  It is such an amazing gift to be able to read this beautiful note from a student.  I am so grateful that you shared this with me.  I will continue to send excellence awards when appropriate and this note will definitely serve as an inspiration for those few extra moments it takes to make a difference in our important students' lives. 

Mentor: Thank you all as well, I want you to note that [Student Name] was accepted to WGU with no transfer credits and no previous college experience. But, he is my most hard working, diligent, accelerating student at the moment. And I am very proud of him! Thanks so much for appreciating his work.

Manager: I am so pleased our students appreciate that their excellent performances are recognized.  Their responses, like this and others, make my day.  I know that all evaluators and our managers spend many hours reviewing each submission and utilize our expertise to examine and assist the students towards educational competency.

If you want to earn these Excellence Awards, please speak with your mentors about ways that you may meet the quality standards associated with each Excellence Award type.  There is no application or self-selection process; these awards simply offer an exciting boost along your degree journey or a pleasing accomplishment for the capstone at the end.  Do your best in fully demonstrating the competency required by each task — even excel if you can within the time that you have committed, and they will come.  Remember that maintaining On Time Progress (OTP) to graduation is essential to attaining the most important recognition: your WGU diploma, the ultimate seal of your degree competence!

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