A-Z Index

Northwest Terminology and Acronyms


Academic Advisor: A Northwest faculty or staff member that works with students to discuss goals, develop an academic plan, select appropriate courses, review graduation requirements, and assist with any academic problems a student may encounter.

Academic Good Standing: A student with both a Northwest and cumulative (Northwest and transfer) grade point average of 2.0 or higher.

Academic Probation: Alerts students that the quality of cumulative academic work is unsatisfactory. For more information on academic probation, please visit:

Academic Suspension:  A student who enters a semester on academic probation and fails to earn a semester GPA of 2.00 or higher will be suspended unless the student has both a Northwest and cumulative (Northwest and transfer) GPA of 2.00 or higher at the end of the semester. For more information on academic suspension, please visit:

ACP: The Assessment of Core Proficiencies is a multiple-choice computer-based test that students complete once they complete 60 hours. It tests general college-level reading, writing, critical thinking, and mathematics. It includes material usually covered in core courses. You should plan to spend two hours completing the assessment.


BLD: Blended course is a course that meets partially in the classroom and partially online.

BMB: Bearcat Marching Band is the musical pride of Northwest.

BRIDGE: Building Relationships and Integrating Diverse Growth Experiences. BRIDGES are student staff that help to facilitate diversity education and promote an enriching environment by providing programming and resources.


Campus Building Abbreviations:


DI: Diversity and Inclusion is a unit on campus that operates with the goal of creating a more inclusive campus culture for all students.


FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is the base application for all federal aid as well as some state and institutional financial aid programs.

FERPA: Family Educational Rights Privacy Act. Federal law that protects the privacy of student educational records.

Full-time: Undergraduate students who enroll in a minimum of 12 credit hours are considered a full-time student.


GA: A graduate assistant is a student has completed their undergraduate degree and is working on a graduate degree (called a Master’s degree). Graduate Assistants hold assistantships. Assistantships include a job that provides a tuition waiver and a monthly stipend. Graduate assistantships are available in various departments and units across campus and may include teaching involvement in the classroom.

GOLD program: The Guard Officer Leadership Development is a program that offers college students the opportunity for professional development to become officers in the Missouri Army National Guard. The officers training program will consist of credit-bearing classroom instruction, leadership laboratories, and physical training.


IIC: The International Involvement Center fosters an educational environment in which students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds and orientations can come together to share, learn, grow, and enjoy the rich experiences and contributions each has to offer.


OAA: The Office of Accessibility and Accommodations provides accommodations at no cost to any student who has a documented disability as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Accommodations afford students equal opportunity to participate in the University’s programs, courses, and activities.

Office Hours: Time each week that is required of college instructors to allow students to visit and ask questions about the material.

Online: Course material, resources, and programming are found via the internet.

OSI: The Office of Student Involvement is a great resource for students looking to get involved on campus.


PA: A peer advisor assists with University Seminar and your transition to college life at Northwest. PAs are sophomores, juniors, or seniors that successfully completed University Seminar at Northwest.

Program and Degree Acronyms:


RA: A resident assistant lives and works alongside students in the residence halls. RAs provide programming and support for students living in campus housing.

ROTC: Reserve Officers' Training Corps


SAC: The purpose of Student Activities Council is to plan and administer activities for the student body, in order to contribute to a more well-rounded social, recreational, and cultural life for the Northwest campus and community. We provide entertaining alternatives to students with our late night activities and events. SAC plans several activities throughout the year in order to provide a variety of events, including: concerts, lectures, movies, and comedians.

SASP: Student Athlete Success Program. The SASP is designed to provide an environment in which student athletes can experience their fullest personal, social, and academic growth. The pervading philosophy of SASP is success! Each student is held accountable for his/her academic performance and meeting the NCAA Eligibility and Compliance Guidelines. The SASP works hard to provide the support needed for athletes to be successful students.

SI: Supplemental Instruction. The SI Program offers free peer-led collaborative study groups for traditionally challenging courses. SI sessions are led by students who have completed and earned high grades in the targeted courses. SI Leaders provide regularly-scheduled group review sessions each week and assist in developing the skills to be a successful student.

SSC: The Student Success Center is the centralized hub for academic success at Northwest. The SSC supports student learning and contributes to growth and development from orientation to graduation. The Student Success Center focuses on transitioning, advising, supporting, and connecting students to maximize their academic potential.

Syllabus: An outline of the important information about a course written by the professor or instructor. It usually includes important dates, assignments, expectations and policies specific to the course and university.


TA: A teaching assistant assists with classroom activities in select classes.

TESS: Teacher Education Student Services

TRIO: TRIO creates environments that inspire engaged learning, motivate continuing education and support lifelong learning. TRIO offers a comprehensive set of services through three different programs, each targeted at a specific group of individuals from 9th grade through adulthood. Services and activities include academic tutoring, cultural enrichment, financial assistance counseling, summer on-campus residential programs, admissions counseling, instructional assistance, and student mentoring.


UPD: The University Police Department provides the overall safety of Northwest. University Police serves to maintain a safe campus environment and discourage inappropriate activity.


WB: stands for web-based, a student classification that indicates a student can take classes in the traditional classroom on the Maryville or Kansas-City campus, or enroll in WB online courses.

WO: stands for web-only, a student classification indicating a student is only eligible for WO online courses. Please note that not all academic programs are available in the WO format.