The students at WGU Tennessee are served by Western Governors University’s faculty. Faculty members are committed to WGU’s unique, student-centric, competency-based approach that places the greatest emphasis on student learning. Because learning at WGU Tennessee is personalized, we do not use typical online classes that are dependent upon fixed schedules or group pacing. Instead, each student is guided and assisted through a personalized learning experience by faculty and staff serving in different capacities:
For each student, the primary faculty support is a personally assigned Program Mentor, formerly known as Student Mentors. The role of the Program Mentor is to provide program instruction, coaching, and support from the moment an individual becomes a student to the time he or she graduates. More specifically, Program Mentors:
- Provide instruction and guidance at the program level.
- Provide information on programs, policies, and procedures.
- Assess students’ strengths and development areas to help them develop a plan of study.
- Provide feedback on assessments and recommend learning resources.
- Help students to sustain motivation and maintain on-time progress to their degree.
- Recommend appropriate student services.
This support involves regularly scheduled academic progress conversations weekly and active involvement in other aspects of the student’s academic career. While not an expert in all subjects, the Program Mentor guides the student through the overall program and offers coaching, direction, and practical advice.
WGU’s Course Instructors are subject matter experts who instruct and support students as they engage specific sections of the WGU curriculum. Their experience and advanced training is specific to the courses they support. They are knowledgeable and can address any issue that might arise related to a course, a learning resource, or an assessment. Specifically, Course Instructors:
- Bring WGU courses of study to life with students via one-to-many or one-to-one forums.
- Provide instructional help (proactively and reactively) and facilitate learning communities.
- Provide content expertise for students who are struggling with course material.
The type and intensity of instructional support varies based on the needs of each student in a particular course, from help with specific questions that arise to more fully engaged tutorial support.
WGU’s Program Faculty is made up of academic experts who can serve in multiple roles, including as program managers, assessment and curriculum developers, and academic program council members. Specifically:
- Program Councils—which include outside experts from academia and industry—oversee and approve curriculum, identify new programs for development, and define program competencies to be in line with the demands of today’s employers.
- Program Managers are responsible for the overall quality and relevance of their college’s degree programs.
- Curriculum Developers develop domains, competencies, and objectives for each component of our degree programs. They measure product excellence through feedback, employer acceptance, and graduate success, and continually evaluate and improve learning resources and assessments.
These faculty members work alongside the Course Faculty and Program Mentors to facilitate student learning and success.
Evaluators are subject matter experts tasked with reviewing assessment submissions in a fair and unbiased manner to determine if competency has been demonstrated. As established professionals within their fields, they bring years of hands-on experience and training to the position. Specifically, they:
- Are experts in their areas of evaluation with advanced degrees in their subject areas, including many with Ph.D. degrees and post-graduate training or certifications.
- Review submissions objectively, applying extensive expertise to the evaluation process.
- Participate in ongoing professional development to ensure high-quality, unbiased evaluations.
Evaluators are dedicated professionals who recognize the purpose of WGU’s competency-based model and understand the importance of providing clear and comprehensive feedback to support student development.
A Diverse Group of Qualified Faculty
As of December 31, 2017, WGU employs 2,598 full-time and 825 part-time faculty members, each serving in one of several faculty roles.
WGU's headquarters are located in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the university has offices in Phoenix, Arizona; Indianapolis, Indiana; Seattle, Washington; Las Vegas, Nevada; Austin, Texas; St. Louis, Missouri; and Franklin, Tennessee. Many of WGU’s faculty and staff, however, work from their homes.