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Faculty demonstrating technique in lab

Level UP Program Information for Faculty

Level UP:  Experience Your Future is Morehead State University’s Quality Enhancement Plan. The program officially began in Fall 2021. The program, which will enhance students’ essential and transferrable career skills through high impact experiences, is applicable to all majors and will differentiate our students from others in the job and graduate/professional school markets.
 

Vision for the Level UP Program

Building Career Skills through High Impact Experiences in the Discipline

Through key undergraduate courses in the majors/areas, the Level UP program at Morehead State University seeks to build, or level up, students’ essential career skills:
  • Oral Communication
  • Written Communication
  • Critical Thinking
  • Teamwork
  • Professionalism
Each Level UP course will focus on developing one of these essential career skills, and it will challenge students to Level UP their skill by using a high impact experience (i.e., one of the following: undergraduate research, education abroad, service learning, or an internship) as a critical pedagogical strategy. Students will have the opportunity to practice an essential career skill multiple times through the high impact experience, and they will be given formative feedback at each point about how to take their skill development to the next level.
 

Helping Students Learn to Share A Powerful Example of Their Career Skills Based on High Impact Experiences

At MSU we also want our undergraduate students to develop the ability to articulate concrete examples of how they use their career skills in their discipline-specific settings, so they will be ready to compete well when interviewed by employers in the job market. Based on their experiences in Level UP courses, students will learn to use the STAR Method to prepare examples of their career skills in action, and they will be given feedback at multiple points about how well they can articulate their skill through a course-related example.
All students are eligible to participate in the Level UP program, and we encourage them to do so because it will offer many benefits:
  • The engagement strategies used in Level UP courses can lead to deep learning in the course and in the discipline.
  • Level UP courses help students build skills that are important for success in college classes.
  • Level UP courses help students connect with faculty and build a professional network.
  • Level UP courses use strategies that promote student retention and graduation.
  • Level UP courses will help students document the initiatives they take to improve their career readiness, and, if they master the skills that are being fostered in the courses it can lead to University‐level recognition.
    • Level UP courses appear with special designations on a student’s transcript indicating that they took a course that fostered a particular career skill and that they engaged in a particular high impact practice.
    • Level UP courses foster the development of a portfolio of work that demonstrates the student’s essential career skill.
    • Students in Level UP courses who master both the essential career skill and the use of the STAR Method to provide a compelling narrative about their essential career skill will earn a Distinction, one of the university’s highest honors. Students earning the Distinction will be recognized at Commencement and a special notice of Distinction will appear on their transcripts.
  • Level UP courses help students build essential career skills that make them more competitive in the job market, and help them move up in their careers.
  • Level UP courses help students learn how to convince others that they have high‐level skills, and that they can apply them in their chosen fields.
MSU faculty have the discipline expertise and latitude to determine which courses may fit this program best. Here are some things to consider when deciding:
  • Does my course already have opportunities for students to develop one of the essential career skills (i.e., oral or written communication, critical thinking, teamwork, or professionalism) through class activities/assignments?
    • If not, could I change the class activities/assignments easily to give students more opportunities to develop these skills?
  • Does my course already use one of the high impact practices (i.e., undergraduate research, education abroad, service learning, or internship) as a pedagogical strategy now?
    • If not, could I easily foster the regular course content/outcomes by using a high impact practice (i.e., through a research project, education abroad experience, service learning project, or internship/mini-internship experience) as a teaching tool?
  • Would having my course as a Level UP experience for students in my discipline add to the program’s ability to get students career ready?  
    • If so, can this course foster a skill that isn’t being leveled up in another course in the program?
  • Am I willing to give students regular feedback on how their skill development is progressing?
  • Is your Chair/Associate Dean supportive of you offering the course as a Level UP class?
If your answer is yes to these questions, your course may be a good candidate for the program. 
Want to know more, or need help deciding? Contact Tim O’Brien (t.obrien@moreheadstate.edu), Laurie Couch (l.couch@moreheadstate.edu), or Megan Boone (m.boone@moreheadstate.edu) to discuss your course.
If you would like to Level UP your course, there are a few important steps you will need to take:
  • STEP 1 – Choose which essential career skill your course will foster – oral communication, written communication, critical thinking, teamwork, or professionalism. Need help deciding?  Contact levelup@moreheadstate.edu to arrange a discussion about your course. 
  • STEP 2 – Choose the high impact practice (i.e., one of the following: undergraduate research, education abroad, service learning, or an internship) you will use as a teaching tool to push your students to high levels of skill development. Need help deciding?  Contact levelup@moreheadstate.edu to arrange a discussion about your course. 
  • STEP 3 – Attend a series of 3 workshops to learn the basics of how to Level Up a class. You will attend one workshop that is specific to the skill you have chosen to foster, one workshop on how to use the high impact practice you have chosen as your teaching tool, and one workshop about how to teach/assess the STAR Method to your students so they can learn to tell the story of their career skill in action. You also may attend optional sessions on how best to use reflection and portfolios in your Level UP course. Register here
  • STEP 4 – Attend a course planning session with the Level UP Co-Directors (Tim O’Brien and Laurie Couch). In this session you will discuss your preferred course approach, class activities/assignments, and concerns and get advice about strategies for redesigning the class as a Level UP course. Sample course plans will be shared that will aid you in developing your own approach. The Co-Directors also can provide pre-reviews of your course plans before you submit them for consideration to the Level UP Committee.
  • STEP 5 – Submit an application to Level UP your course in an upcoming semester. The Level UP Committee prefers to receive applications for Fall semester courses no later than April 1, and Spring semester courses no later than November 1. 
Faculty who teach Level UP courses need several key materials. These include:
Faculty planning to teach a Level UP course can apply for funds to cover costs associated with course activities/assignments that will be used to foster development of an essential career skill in the program. For example, if the course activities/assignments will require equipment, software, travel assistance, access codes, etc. in order for the skill to be fostered, then the faculty can apply for a Level UP grant to cover the costs. There are two types of Level UP grants being offered:
  • Level UP Mini-Grants (up to $1,000): If an expense associated with Level UP class activities/assignments is something that would need to be paid for each time the course is offered then a Level UP Mini-Grant of up to $1000 can be sought to cover those expenses.
  • Level UP Sustainability Grants (up to $2,500): If an expense associated with Level UP class activities/assignment is something that, if you just had the money to cover it, would allow you to teach the course multiple times as a Level UP experience then a Level UP Sustainability Grant of up to $2500 can be sought to cover those expenses. 
Apply here for a Level UP Grant for Fall courses. Priority consideration given to applications received by April 8. Applications will be accepted until all funds are distributed.

Notes:
  1. Level UP grant funds cannot be spent on personnel.
  2. Faculty who are awarded Level UP grants will have to provide a report of their expenditures at the end of the academic year.
Faculty who attend the 3-workshop training series to learn how to Level UP a course, submit an approved Level UP application, and teach the course once earn a $500 course redesign stipend.

After teaching the approved Level UP course the first year, faculty who Level UP their course again at least one time in a subsequent academic year earn an additional $500 Level UP teaching stipend each year.
 
Faculty who participate in the Level UP program will have access to numerous forms of support, including:
  • Professional development about pedagogical approaches to building essential career skills 
  • Strategies for how to leverage a high impact practice (i.e., undergraduate research, education abroad, service learning, or internship) in the course as a method to facilitate the development of an essential career skill
  • Logistical assistance for implementing a high impact practice into the course
  • Course planning assistance for developing or improving a course in the Level UP program
  • Assistance with how to use the program rubrics and reflection prompts
  • Help with how to calibrate Level UP ratings
  • Support for reporting Level UP-related data
  • Professional development for continuous improvement strategies for Level UP courses
  • Grant funding opportunities to support Level UP activities
  • Learning communities of faculty who all are fostering the same career skill in the Level UP courses