Skip to main content
Skip to main content

Glossary of WKU Terms

Glossary of WKU Terms

5th Week Freshmen Assessment

All 100 level course instructors input attendance information and a grade indicator of D/F or Pass for freshmen students in their classes during the 5th Week of the fall and spring semesters. These marks prompt follow up by Housing & Residence Life Hall Directors, course instructors, and academic advisors in an effort to aid the student in getting on the path to successful completion of the course.

12 Hours

12 hours of coursework at WKU is the minimum number of hours an undergraduate student must take in order to be full time. Anything below 12 hours has the potential to impact Financial Aid and on-campus housing. The status of being full-time does have implication on coverage with a parent's medical insurance as well. 12 hours can be reached in a variety of ways due to some classes being 1-credit hour and others being 2, 3, 4, 5 or even more credit hours.


The Academic Advising & Retention Center (AARC) provides a wide range of academic services to undergraduate students. The Center coordinates academic advising activities among undergraduate colleges and academic departments for undergraduate students. AARC advises all Exploratory/ Generally Undecided students and helps these students plan for their potential major. Contact the AARC at (270) 745-5065.


The Academic Advantage Series: Workshops for Success (AAS) is a series of presentations designed to help students succeed academically. The presentations focus on skills that professors expect students to know but that might not have been learned over the course of a student's academic career. Each session provides hands-on, expert instruction from professionals at WKU who are dedicated to student success and to seeing all WKU students graduate!

Academic Advising

At WKU academic advising is required for all associate and baccalaureate degree-seeking students until graduation. After a student declares a major program of study, an advisor from that program will be assigned as their advisor.


Academic Transitions Program (ATP) is presented by the Admissions Office to help orient students to the university and give them an oppprotunity to learn more about WKU during their visit to campus. For transfer students above 24 hours, there is an online ATP to participate in. The ATP process will give students an opportunity to meet with an advisor and register for classes for the upcoming semester. For more questions regarding ATP, please contact them at (270) 745-4242.


The Best Expectation Programs (BEP) teach students the importance of positive study habits, time management, and provides academic support to help students be independent and successful learners. These academic services offer participating students the opportunity to better prepare and adapt to college life and to improve their academic skills and performance in college courses. For more questions regarding BEP, please contact the Retention Coordinator at (270) 745-5065.

Big Red

WKU's Mascot was born in the fall of 1979. It is a huge, furry, lovable creature that has become a huge hit with fans of all ages! Big Red was the first ever Capital One Mascot Hall of Fame Inductee in 2012.

Change of Major, Minor, Concentration, and Advisor

Changes in majors, minors, concentrations, and advisors are made upon request by students. Students must submit a Major, Minor, Concentration, Advisor Change Form to the academic department that administers the student’s chosen program. This form is available online for students in TopNet. Once in TopNet, click on Student Services, Student Records, and finally Change of Major, Minor, Concentration, Advisor. This form will walk the student through the process and give them the opportunity to correct any errors prior to printing the form. After printing the form, students are required to bring the form to the department listed on the form for requested signatures. Regional Campus students should bring the form to their Regional Campus advisor for processing.

Students with approved undergraduate degree programs on file in the Office of the Registrar may change their major(s) and/or minor(s) by filing an approved, revised program or an Undergraduate Degree Program Change Form with the Office of the Registrar. For further information please contact the Academic Advising &Retention Center at (270) 745-5065.

College Heights Herald

The College Heights Herald is the main source of news for Western Kentucky University. Through a twice-weekly print edition and a regularly updated website, the Herald serves WKU's more than 21,000 students, plus faculty and staff, parents and alumni.

Developmental Course

Developmental courses are determined based off the students ACT or SAT score. It is possible for a student to test into three developmental course areas (English, Mathematics, and Reading) with multiple developmental courses available in Mathematics. Students who are in developmental courses must successfully complete the course with a "C" grade or higher to advance to the college-credit bearing course. Developmental courses are not college-credit bearing but do count toward financial aid and housing requirements of being a full-time student. Developmental course grades do also count toward Academic Standing at WKU.

Dual-Credit Courses

The Dual Credit Program is a partnership between WKU’s Division of Extended Learning and Outreach (DELO) and area high schools to offer qualified students the opportunity to earn college credit as part of their high school curriculum.

Dual Credit courses are offered at the high school during regular school hours by WKU faculty or by high school teachers who meet all accreditation standards according to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Courses offered through WKU’s Dual Credit Program are “real” college classes. Students taking dual credit courses are registered and enrolled at WKU as a “non-degree seeking student prior to high school graduation.” The grades earned in dual credit courses are the first college grades a student will receive. Whether they decide to attend WKU or another institution after high school, grades earned in dual credit courses will be a permanent part of student’s academic record. Please note that participation in the Dual Credit Program does not guarantee admission to WKU as a “degree seeking freshman.”


The Dero Downing Student Union (DSU), formerly DUC, is the main student center located in the center of WKU's main campus. It is currently in the midst of a two-year, $49 million renovation project. DSU currently houses the Fresh Food Court, Student Disability Services, Career Services, and the Academic Advising & Retention Center.

Emergency Notification

In the event of a personal student emergency, such as hospitalization, extended illness with a doctor's note, death of a family member, military deployment, or any event that may cause the student to miss several days of class, the student should contact the AARC by calling (270) 745-5065 and request their instructors receive official notification about the absence. It is the students responsibility to also contact each instructor for ways to make up for missed class work or exams.


Ivan Wilson Fine Arts Center (FAC) houses the Art, Communication, Modern Languages, Folk Studies & Anthropology, and Music departments.

Gen Ed/Colonnade Program

There are currently 44 hours of general education courses that are required for all bachelor degree seeking students. Gen Ed is divided into six categories covering different fields of study. Category A: Organization & Communication of Ideas, Category B: Humanities, Category C: Social & Behavioral Sciences, Category D: Natural Sciences - Math & Science, Category E: World Cultures & American Cultural Diversity, Category F: Health & Wellness.

The Colonnade Program is a revision to the current general education requirements at WKU that will begin implementation in the fall of 2014. It includes a 30-hour General Education Core as well as a 9-hour Baccalaureate requirement. The Colonnade Program credit requirements will be as follows: Foundations: Practical and Intellectual Skills (18 hours); Explorations: Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Physical and Natural World (12 hours); and Connections: Understanding Individual and Social Responsibility (9 hours).


Grade Point Average: 2.0 and above is Good Standing; anything below 2.0 will require monitoring and participation in BEP programming.

Honor's College

WKU is home to the only Honor's College in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, providing students the experience of a highly selective private college for less than half the cost.

Housing & Residence Life

The Housing & Residence Life (HRL) mission statement is that the Department of Housing & Residence Life, in partnership with the student and the university community, will provide a premier living/learning experience that ensures student success.


The Interactive Curriculum & Academic Progress is an online tool in TopNet for students to obtain personalized, interactive audits displaying progress toward a selected degree. An audit shows all the requirements needed to fulfill a major, minor, or concentration and displays the transfer and WKU courses that have been used to satisfy those requirements. Students can run "What-If" audits to compare their coursework against other majors.

Kentucky Museum

The Kentucky Museum, on Western Kentucky University’s campus, houses the history, arts & culture of Kentucky.

M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan

The Making Academic and Social Transitions Educationally Rewarding Plan is a transition program designed for the first-year student. This exciting program provides a head start to a student's college career by assisting them in becoming acclimated to Western Kentucky University and helping them to become connected to the campus community, faculty, staff, and other first-year students.

Online Learning

Online Learning refers to online semester based courses taught via the Internet. There are more than 30 degree programs available online at WKU, and more than 1,000 online courses offered each year!




Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) is a program similar to Supplemental Instruction (SI) offered by other universities. The Learning Center (TLC) hires and trains students, often recommended by professors, called PASS Leaders. PASS Leaders are students who have previously taken a course successfully and thereafter facilitate twice weekly group study sessions. Courses associated with PASS are traditionally difficult, high enrollment courses. The goal of PASS is to coordinate with the faculty members teaching these classes to provide supplemental resources for students who are interested. PASS may contain one or more of the following: review of weekly materials, mock quizzes or tests, games, and other activities. All of these materials are designed to help students succeed.

Priority Registration

The time when students can sign up for classes for the coming semester. Some students have Priority, such as athletes due to their practice schedules, students with disabilities, Honors students, etc. and are allowed to register first. Your registration date is determined by your classification (Freshmen, Sophomore, Junior, Senior)and the first initial of your last name. Freshmen are the last to register. You can find your registration date by going to and entering registration guide in the search box under the WKU banner.


Residence Assistants are on each floor of each residence hall so that if you need anything someone is there to help you out.

Red Towel

WKU's "Red Towel" tradition originated with the late E.A. Diddle, one of the most successful coaches in history. Through 1,062 Hilltopper basketball games, Diddle clutched a red towel. He chewed on it, threw it, cried on it, waved it at fans, and used it to signal his players. Now the "Red Towel" is a regular feature at all WKU events and around the world.


The Student Athlete Success Center is located in Smith Stadium East as a learning center for student athletes. Advising staff and tutors are in-house to assist these students.


Student Disability Services ensures that all students with disabilities are provided access to all facets of the WKU experience; to facilitate and coordinate support services and programs that enable students with disabilities to maximize their educational potential; and to increase awareness among all members of the University so that students with disabilities are able to achieve academic success based on their abilities - not their disabilities.

South Campus

South Campus is a branch of WKU located one mile from main campus. This branch teaches only 100 and 200 level courses and graduates associate degrees. This campus is the primary location used for teaching developmental courses for students with college readiness needs.

Student Success Center

The designation for the DUC Annex portion of DUC. This indicates the mission of the offices housed there of enabling all students to successfully pursue their major area of interest with aid by The Learning Center, Student Disability Services, Career Services, and the Academic Advising & Retention Center.

Student Support Services

Student Support Services at Western Kentucky University is a federally funded program which provides academic advisement, personal counseling, tutoring and other services designed to help students adjust to campus life, succeed academically and graduate from a post-secondary institution.


The Learning Center (TLC) is the largest opportunity for supplemental education at WKU. TLC provides a quiet learning environment for study, a computer lab with a printer for student use, and tutors for over 100 subjects at no cost to the student. Beyond just offering a quiet study facility and one-on-one tutoring, TLC offers a variety of other services including AAS and PASS. TLC is located in DSU Annex A330 and may be reached at (270) 745-6254 or via email:


A website accessible to WKU students, faculty, and staff. TopNet is activated for the student upon completion of the application process by the Admissions Office. This site allows students access to various forms used across campus, plus 5th Week Assessment information, Change of Major Forms, Textbook Reservation, and various points of information for each student.


A student's TopperMail email account is activated the night of the students initial registration in classes. This is the address the university uses for all official notifications. Many faculty and staff use this email address for class information or administrative notifications. This email address should be checked by each student at least once a day.

University Experience

University Experience serves the needs of incoming students and builds the foundation for a successful college experience. In addition, the department provides opportunities for students to develop leadership skills and become engaged in the campus and the community.


Western Kentucky University, 1906 College Heights Blvd, Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 745-0111

Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view,
download Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Note: documents in Excel format (XLS) require Microsoft Viewer,
download excel.

Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
download word.

Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
download powerpoint.

Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,
download quicktime.

 Last Modified 1/20/15