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Talk Like a (Whitworth) Pirate

Welcome! This Talk Like a (Whitworth) Pirate guide is meant to help students, parents and family members become more familiar with many of the terms heard around campus. What we have shared below does not replace, override or supersede language, definitions, etc., on the university's website, in documentation, contracts, official policies, practices and procedures, etc. This is simply a quick-reference guide that summarizes and simplifies things for easy access. 

ACADEMIC ADVISOR: Each student is assigned an advisor. First-year and transfer students are assigned to a specifically designated advisor who will assist in matters of academic transition. Following the first semester, each student selects an advisor whose academic specialty corresponds with the student's area of academic interest.

ACADEMIC HONESTY: Students are expected to adhere to the highest standards of academic honesty and to refrain from any dishonest or unethical action. In all academic exercises, examinations, papers and reports, students are expected to submit their own work. The use of the words or ideas of others is always to be indicated through an acceptable form of citation. This policy will be specified in the syllabus for each course. More information can be found in the Academic Catalog.

ACADEMIC YEAR: Whitworth's undergraduate academic year is broken into fall and spring terms as well as Jan Term and summer.

ADD/DROP: Students who must change their schedule must complete an Add/Drop form and return it to the registrar's office. After the 10th day of the semester, a grade of "W" (withdrawal) will be given for any full-semester course that is dropped. A grade of "WF" (withdrawal fail) will be given for full-semester courses dropped after the ninth week of the semester.

ADMISSIONS-UNDERGRADUATE ADMISSIONS: This team identifies students who demonstrate the academic promise and personal traits needed to succeed at Whitworth University. They then work with those students throughout the application process.

ALUMNI: Individuals who have attended or graduated from a college or university.

AREA COORDINATOR: Area Coordinators (ACs) are residence life professionals who live in residence halls. They have a number of responsibilities including leading RAs and other student leaders in the hall to help create an accessible, inclusive living-learning environment through programming and student empowerment.

ASWU (ASSOCIATED STUDENTS OF WHITWORTH UNIVERSITY): Associated Students of Whitworth University is the university's student government. All full-time undergraduate students are members of ASWU. ASWU also plans campus wide programs and events that are great ways for students to connect.

BACK 40: A stretch of mostly undeveloped land north of campus, with a practice soccer field; several walking, running and mountain biking trails; a nine-hole Frisbee golf course; and the Pirates Cove Shelter & Amphitheater.

BALANCE DUE: This is the amount of money that the student owes on their current bill for any charges not yet paid.

BLACKBOARD: This is a web-based course-management system where students and faculty post and submit class-related materials and activities.

BUCS: Buccaneers, a variation on our mascot, the Pirates.

CAMPUS DINING: Whitworth partners with Sodexo to offer students a variety of dining options.

CAMPUS MINISTRY COORDINATOR (CMC): Our campus ministry coordinators work in partnership with the campus ministry staff and serve on the leadership teams within their residence halls. Their job is to create a holistic ministry approach within each hall.

CAMPUS SECURITY: Campus security is here to serve the students and faculty of the campus community, ensuring their safety and security around the clock. They can be reached at 509.777.4444.

CAMPUS STORE: Some refer to the campus store as the bookstore. This is located in the same building as The Pines Cafe. Students can order and pick up textbooks, Whitworth merch and school supplies.  

CAPTAIN PATCHES: Whitworth's mascot, a parrot dressed as a pirate. Captain Patches once accompanied our previous mascot, Walker D. Plank, who retired.

CENTER FOR CAREER & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT/STUDENT EMPLOYMENT: The Whitworth Center for Career & Professional Development is located in the Hixson Union Building (HUB). This team assists students in the identification of their unique talents and gifts, in the exploration of vocational interests, and in their preparation for entry into the workforce.

CO-CURRICULAR: Activities, programs and other experiences outside of a student's coursework that provide learning opportunities and complement their academic curriculum. Examples include participation in clubs and organizations, sports and recreation, artistic pursuits, cultural activities, and volunteering.

COMMENCEMENT: Commencement is the formal event that celebrates the completion of degrees for that academic year at Whitworth. This is the ceremony that comes to mind for most people when they think of "graduation." (Graduation actually has a different technical definition; please see separate entry.) Commencement occurs every spring.

CONVOCATION: A large, formal assembly of faculty, staff and students to mark the beginning of each semester.

CORE: Whitworth's three-part Core Program, consisting of Core 150, 250 and 350, focuses on the concept of worldview. A worldview is a set of beliefs that one holds about the basic makeup of the world. It serves as a lens through which one perceives and relates to reality; it is a set of core beliefs and basic understandings about the bigger and deeper questions of life.

COURSE LOAD: The number of course/credit hours a student takes during a specific semester. The minimum credit hours to be a full-time undergraduate student is 12.

COURSE NUMBER: Every course has an identification number that distinguishes it from other courses in a particular subject. Course numbers increase as the student advances into more challenging courses.

COURSE OFFERINGS: A list of courses offered during a specific semester.

CULTURAL-DIVERSITY ADVOCATE: The cultural-diversity advocate (CDA) is a unique student job on campus that promotes thoughtful dialogue on race, ethnicity, culture and other lines of difference, often engaging differing viewpoints.

DECLARING A MAJOR/MINOR: Officially indicating that a student wishes to pursue a particular area of focus in their studies.

DEPARTMENT: Division of a university dealing with a particular field of knowledge.
ESS (EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES): Works with students who have disabilities who seek academic, housing or other accommodations for disability-related needs.

ELECTIVES: Courses students can take for credit toward their degree but are not required for their major.

FACULTY: The instructional staff of an educational institution, e.g., professors and lecturers.

FAMILY WEEKEND: An annual event, usually in mid-October, when parents and families reunite with their student on campus.

FAFSA (FREE APPLICATION FOR FEDERAL STUDENT AID): The application used by the U.S. government to determine the amount of financial aid a student will receive in a given year. Students must reapply every year they attend a college or university. International students are not eligible.

FEES: An amount of money charged by schools, in addition to tuition, to cover institutional costs.

FELLOWSHIP: A study grant or financial assistance awarded by varying institutions such as educational institutions, the government, research centers and hospitals. They are usually awarded to graduate and doctoral students and are based on academic achievement.

FINANCIAL AID: An office that helps students through the process of applying for and receiving financial aid.

FIRST-YEAR: Usually refers to a student who is in their first year of attendance at a university. At Whitworth, freshman standing means a student has completed 0-29 semester credits.

FROLFING: An activity that looks a little like golf, but played with Frisbees, on a course spread throughout the campus.

FULL-TIME STUDENT: A student taking 12 or more credit hours at the undergraduate level.

GPA (GRADE-POINT AVERAGE): A system of recording a student's overall academic performance as a numerical average. A GPA is on a 4.0 scale and is calculated at the end of each semester with an overall GPA calculated upon graduation.

GRADES: A score or mark (A, B, C, D, F) indicating a student's academic performance on an assessment, on a paper or in a course.

GRADUATION: This is probably NOT what you think of when you envision "graduation." The spring ceremony with robes and caps is "commencement," not graduation. Graduation is the completion of degree requirements and the official conferral of the degree(s). All students completing their coursework must apply for graduation (degree conferral) whether or not they plan to take part in the commencement ceremony. Application for undergraduate graduation typically takes place in the fall of the senior year. More details are available on the registrar's website.

GRANT: A type of financial aid that does not require repayment and is given to students by the federal or state government, company, school or charity.

HAMMOCKING: When the weather is good, you'll find students studying, socializing, napping, etc., in hammocks strung up around campus. Sometimes students will "stack" one hammock above another.

HARDSHIP HIATUS/WITHDRAWAL: In rare circumstances, a student may be granted a hardship hiatus or withdrawal when a debilitating condition or family emergency makes it necessary to withdraw from courses. These are only granted through the student life office.

HIATUS: Students who have completed at least one semester at Whitworth are eligible to take a leave of absence for up to one academic year and return without reapplying.

HOMECOMING: An annual time for alumni and their families to return to campus for a weekend full of fun and memories. Homecoming typically occurs in the first half of October.

HUB (Hixson Union Building): This central building on campus is home to the Mind & Hearth Coffee House, cafe, dining hall, post office, multipurpose room, offices for campus media and the Associated Students of Whitworth University, the student life office, student employment, educational support services and residence life, the Student Success Center, and the Center for Career & Professional Development.

INDEPENDENT STUDY: Qualified students may undertake special projects on a tutorial basis. Students should speak with their academic advisors.

INTERNSHIP: Supervised, experiential learning designed to provide students with professional training in the workplace.

JAN TERM: This is a short term between fall and spring semesters. Jan Term lasts about three and a half weeks. Students typically focus on one academic course during this term, with each day covering roughly one week's worth of content from a typical semester-style course. Some students will also take a PE course during Jan Term. Many students use Jan Term as an opportunity to study off campus, either domestically or internationally.

JUNIOR: Usually refers to a student in their third year of high school or college/university. At Whitworth, senior standing means a student has completed 60-89 semester credits.

LABS, LAB FEE: Labs are part of some courses that offer space and time for scientific practice, experimentation, investigation and observation. Certain courses, including some that do not have "labs," have additional fees to help cover the cost of any materials used during the class.

LOAN: A type of financial aid that does require repayment. Subsidized loans do not build interest while the student is enrolled in classes or while in deferral. Unsubsidized loans do build interest from the moment the loan is disbursed.

MAJOR: An area of specialization, consisting of a number of courses in a discipline of study, chosen by undergraduate students.

MAVRC (MILITARY & VETERANS RESOURCE CENTER): Located among the pines on the northwest end of campus, Whitworth's Military & Veterans Resource Center (MAVRC) is a 3,000-square-foot facility dedicated to all military members, veterans and ROTC cadets attending Whitworth.

MEAL PLAN: On- and off-campus students have a variety of meal plans available for purchase. These give them access to the campus dining hall and other dining facilities and coffee shops on campus.

MIDTERM: An exam given in the middle of an academic term.

MINOR: A secondary area of specialization chosen by undergraduate students.

NARROW RIDGE: One way Whitworth describes our intention to honor both mind and heart. This metaphor comes from philosopher Martin Buber who used it to describe when two differing parties can come together and find common ground. Buber didn't mean this was a "happy middle" or neutral ground. Rather, Buber describes it as a precarious topography where paradox and contradiction are embraced and competing ideas are vigorously debated.

ONE BIG WHITWORTH WEEKEND: On the years when homecoming and family weekend overlap, we call it One Big Whitworth Weekend.

OFF-CAMPUS STUDIES: Some might refer to this as "study abroad," but since many programs available to Whitworth students are within the United States, we call it off-campus studies.

PART-TIME STUDENT: A student who is enrolled in fewer than 12 hours per semester.

PASS/NO CREDIT: This option is designed to encourage students to explore areas of study outside their majors. Students may choose to take one P/NC course each academic year at Whitworth. Core/Worldview Studies courses, courses in the student's major or area of concentration, and education courses are excluded from this option.

PATCHES, CAPTAIN: Whitworth's mascot, a parrot dressed as a pirate. Captain Patches once accompanied our previous mascot, Walker D. Plank, who retired.

PIRATES: Official mascot of Whitworth University. Whitworth students may be referred to as Pirates.  

PIRATE PORT: Whitworth's intranet site. Sometimes this is referred to as "PP." This is a central hub for students, faculty and staff to find various resources. Alumni and parents have scaled-down versions of Pirate Port available to them.

PLAGIARISM: The illegal use of another person's words or ideas as your own without acknowledging that person through an academically accepted citation process.

PREREQUISITE/"PREREQ": A required course that must be completed before a student can enroll in a more advanced course.

PROBATION: A status given to students with a GPA below 2.0. The probationary period requires students to improve their performance or be dismissed from school.

PROVOST: The university's senior academic officer.

PROVOST'S HONOR ROLL: A formal recognition of academic excellence. To be on the Dean's List a student must achieve a semester grade-point average of 3.75 or higher while enrolled in 12 or more credits per semester.

PROXY: Students can give a parent "proxy" access to their financial and/or academic information. Because of federal privacy laws (FERPA), the student is the individual responsible for assigning any proxy access to online information like account statements, grades, etc.

RA (RESIDENT ASSISTANT): Student staff members living in residence halls who build community, provide educational and social opportunities for students, and (when necessary) enforce policies, safety protocols and security procedures in the residence halls.

REGISTRAR'S OFFICE: The main office for all things related to academic records, degree requirements, transcripts and class enrollments.

REGISTRATION: Whitworth University students register for classes through Self-Service. Students register for their next classes during their assigned registration period each semester. Their assigned registration date and time is based on the number of credits earned. This means students with more credits get to register before students with fewer credits. Students and professors meet for academic advising sessions before registration each term.

RESIDENCE LIFE: Living in one of Whitworth's residence halls or houses near campus will help students discover ways to explore and apply what they learn in the classroom. It also gives students a chance to interact with people from other cultures, participate in activities and events, and make lasting friendships. Residence life staff are part of Whitworth's division of student life.

SELF SERVICE: A website where students can manage administrative tasks like scheduling classes, making payments and logging their time for on-campus jobs.

SEMESTER: A division of the academic year. Schools using a semester system typically have terms lasting 15-18 weeks.

SENIOR: Usually refers to a student in their fourth year of study at a university/college. At Whitworth, senior standing means a student has completed 90-plus semester credits.

SODEXO: Whitworth partners with Sodexo to offer students a variety of dining options.

SOPOHMORE: Usually refers to a student in their second year of study at a university/college. At Whitworth, sophomore standing means a student has completed 30-59 semester credits.

STUDENT ACCOUNTS: Some people refer to Student Financial Services as student accounts. Located in McEachran Hall, this office can answer questions about charges and payments for tuition, room and board, fees, scholarships, grants, loans, etc.

STUDENT FINANCIAL SERVICES: Located in McEachran Hall, this office can answer questions about charges and payments for tuition, room and board, fees, scholarships, grants, loans, etc.

STUDENT ID: Given to students upon their acceptance to Whitworth, this number is used as official identification of a student.

STUDENT SUCCESS: This center connects students to resources and supports students through relationships. Student Success coordinates care and resources for students in need, offering a quality peer coaching program and implementing proactive initiatives to support student success.

SUSPENSION: Status given to a student who does not clear probation within the designated time frame.

SYLLABUS: A document distributed to students enrolled in a course that outlines the material a course will cover, instructor expectations, assignments, due dates, instructor contact information and relevant university policies.

TA (TEACHING ASSISTANT): Qualified students may undertake special projects on a tutorial basis. At Whitworth, TAs commonly help with tasks other than instructing the course itself.

THE LOOP: Established in 1914, the original section of "The Loop" that is recognized today was in fact a road that "looped" around the interior of the campus. By the 1970s, the road was removed thus making it a much more inviting green space.

TITLE IX: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination based on the gender of students and employees of educational institutions that receive federal financial assistance.

TRANSCRIPT: An official record of a student's performance at the institution.

TRANSFER CREDIT: Credit awarded toward a degree on the basis of studies completed at another college or university.

TUITION: What an academic institution charges students for instruction and attendance.

UNDECLARED: A student who has not chosen or declared their major field of study.

UNDERGRADUATE: A post-secondary program leading to a bachelor's degree. The term also refers to a student attending such a program.

U-REC: The University Recreation Center (U-Rec) is an on-campus facility where the Whitworth community can pursue physical fitness and wellness. The U-Rec includes cardio equipment, free weights, sports courts, a track and a climbing wall. The U-Rec is home to Whitworth's Outdoor Recreation program. Students can also rent outdoor recreation equipment here.

WHITALERT: Whitworth's text messaging service to notify students about emergency situations. Students can sign up parents to receive these alerts.

WITHDRAWAL: In order to avoid additional charges to their account, a student must complete the online withdrawal or cancellation of enrollment paperwork from Whitworth University before the beginning of the term. All withdrawals and cancellations made after the beginning of the term must also follow this process.

WORK STUDY: A financial aid program funded by the government that provides part-time job funding for students with financial need.