The primary focus of the faculty at WGU is student learning. Because of our unique student-centric, competency-based approach, faculty serve in different roles compared to traditional schools and other online schools.
Course Mentors at WGU function in a professorial role as subject matter experts who assist students as they engage specific sections of the WGU curriculum. The type, length, and intensity of instructional method vary based upon student needs. Course Mentors help students with specific questions that arise and offer specialized instruction on challenging topics. Their primary focus is on bringing WGU courses of study to life through one-to-one or one-to-many forums. Course Mentors do not develop WGU courses, construct tests, or grade assessments independently, but may contribute subject matter expertise to a larger course design effort that includes national directors, instructional designers, program development managers, COS editors, product vendors, assessment/project designers, and others. Course mentor contribution to this team effort reflects the university’s disaggregated model. Their experience and training is specific to the courses they support. They are knowledgeable and can address issues related to a course, learning resource content, or an assessment.
ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Provide expertise in the content area.
Respond to student inquiries about content, course of study, learning resource, or assessment.
Maintain current and active knowledge in the expertise area in order to bring examples and ideas to students.
Communicate professionally, relate well, and share a passion for the content in an effort to motivate a diverse group of students.
Coach students to competency development by asking open-ended questions, brainstorming next steps, and maintaining accountability.
Provide additional resources to students based on content expertise, while maintaining the students’ responsibility for task competency.
Empower students to develop competency by sharing a passion for the subject.
Provide relevant information on student tasks based on feedback from graders.
Monitor and manage a dynamic learning community
Respond to student questions within discussion threads in a timely manner.
Update assessment announcements and live webinar schedule as necessary.
Post university announcements including holidays, unique changes and vacations.
Respond to student questions generated through “Ask a mentor” in the learning community in a timely manner.
Upload and maintain links to recorded webinars (both with audio and as Powerpoints)
Remove inappropriate student posts in a timely manner.
Utilize technology based teaching platforms to aid students in the development of competencies.
Bring the course of study to life with engaging live webinars or relevant recorded webinars that enhance expected competencies.
Provide a recorded “Getting Started” session for each course.
Provide a classroom environment conducive to learning and teaching using features in Adobe.
Organize concepts in a logical and understandable sequence, utilizing examples and student interaction to facilitate learning
Utilize innovative teaching techniques in order to meet student needs.
Be proficient using Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, and Powerpoint) to create course deliverables (i.e. presentations, study guides, and spreadsheets).
Provide personalized outreach to at-risk students in a way that fosters development of competencies.
Use TaskStream reports to target students who have had a task sent back for revision.
Assist students with the task revision process by clarifying evaluator comments, clarifying task directions, directing students to learning resources, and teaching the skills needed to develop appropriate competency.
Collaborate with student mentors on strategies for supporting individual students.
Used failed first attempts to identify at-risk students.
Provide competency based study plans for students attempting second, third, and fourth attempts.
Promote student success by showing flexibility in style, method, and communication.
Assess individual student needs and provide honest feedback about next steps.
Provide follow up calls or emails to students to summarize conversations.
Establish and maintain office hours for student questions and consultation through phone, email, and IM.
Encourage a culture of learning that values mutual responsibility and respect, life-long learning and ethics as well as personal and professional development.
Routinely correlate concepts in the learning community with the course of study content.
Collaborate with other professionals within the University to promote a positive atmosphere in a student-focused environment.
Use knowledge of assessment to suggest revisions of course of study to product development.
Identify gaps between student needs and existing resources and services; generate creative resolutions.
Communicate with positive regard, respect, and solution- focus with members of other departments.
Maintain knowledge of other departments/services such as Well Connect, Center for Writing Excellence, Career Services, etc. in order to connect students when appropriate.
Serve on university committees and/or task forces to assist in achieving strategic goals.
Engage other departments to solve complex issues students may encounter, outside content.
Maintain appropriate notes and records to document attendance and contact with students; maintain confidentiality, according to law.
Develop and maintain constructive and cooperative working relationships with others.
Be available to assist in training new mentors as needed.
Maintain scholarly and professional expertise through professional development.
Maintain subscriptions to professional journals and memberships in professional associations most relevant to one’s area of expertise.
Participate in professional conferences as an attendee and/or as a presenter.
Attend and actively participate in training opportunities provided in online and in person settings.
Maintain the certifications, licenses or other professional credentials that were required for the position at the time of hiring.
Actively seek out opportunities to meet with faculty of other institutions who share your area of expertise.
Balance content delivery with exceptional student service
Provide prompt and courteous service, including keeping all scheduled appointments; in emergencies, give students appropriate and timely notice.
Return all calls or emails within 4 business hours; Provide resolution or update student about progress on resolution of issue within 24 hours.
Facilitate student interaction with other departments or personnel when needed to ensure the students get support and service.
Provide honest feedback and recommendations while listening with an empathetic ear, explaining unwritten rules, acknowledging disappointments, and celebrating triumphs.
Develop a teaching style that is individualized to student needs while also emphasizing real-world application of content.
Work with difficult people in a positive and proactive manner.
Clarify misconceptions by communicating the WGU mission and structure; provide a rationale behind policies.
Perform other duties as assigned
Maintain a non-traditional schedule with a minimum of ten (10) hours per week outside the hours of 9 to 5 (in the employee’s home time zone).
Plan vacation days in advance and collaborate with team members for adequate coverage.
Attend WGU academic meetings on a time table and at a geographic location determined by management, usually twice a year.
Embrace change proactively.
Keep up-to-date technically and apply new knowledge to job responsibilities.
Contribute to the wider WGU community by participating in collaboration opportunities, including focus groups and the Mentor Development Community.
Effective mentoring of students with a professional approach and knowledge of the competency based model.
Positive working relationship with student mentors, course mentors and students.
Response time to students and University employees is appropriate and aligned with the University goal.
Maintain reports of student progress ensuring that reports and documents are neat, accurate, and completed timely.
Calls and inquiries are courteously and professionally resolved or referred.
The University’s professional reputation is maintained.
Management is appropriately informed of area activities and of any significant problems.
Success in working on complex projects using a collaborative work model;
Superior writing and technology skills;
Mastery of relevant competencies and topics associated with the assigned COS(s).
Attentive to detail.
Ability to assist and support others
Subject matter expertise in Natural Science with an emphasis in Physics
Ability to respond quickly and thoroughly to student questions and concerns
Travel to and participation in semi-annual academic meetings is required.
Minimum Qualifications Education: A doctorate or terminal degree in the specific content area. Other qualifications and/or licensure may be required for some degree programs.
Experience/Expertise: Experience providing student support and instruction; demonstrated ability to work with struggling or at-risk learners.
Hard/technical skills: Able to utilize phone, email, Internet, instant message, Microsoft office suite, and technology based delivery systems. Soft skills: Leadership; communication; independent self-starter/self-manager; understanding and appreciation of competency-based education; proficiency in oral and written English communication; track record for effective coaching and communication skills within a diverse population; and demonstrated professionalism that displays effective judgment and professional integrity. Other: Able to pass a criminal background check. Must be lawfully employable in the United States either by virtue of citizenship or by permanent residency via a green card.
Preferred Qualifications Experience working with adult learners and distance learning environments preferred; experience with APA formatting preferred.