Faculty and Staff FAQs

Site Search

A photo of a student in her commencement garbA photo of a student in her commencement garb

Faculty and Staff FAQs

Cal U's faculty and staff members have important roles in assisting students through the graduation process and ensuring the success of our commencement exercises. 

Please contact Jodie Rooney, academic events coordinator, at rooney@calu.edu or 724-938-1584, with any questions or special needs.

Click Question To Reveal Answer

What is the difference between commencement and graduation?

Many people use the terms "commencement" and "graduation" interchangeably. It is important to note the difference in these terms in order to best direct our students and their families to important information online.

  • Commencement refers to the formal academic ceremony, officiated by the President of the University. The commencement ceremony is an opportunity for the University (including members of Cal U's Council of Trustees, administration, faculty, and staff) to pay special tribute to our students for the outstanding efforts shown in earning their Cal U degrees. 
  • Graduation is the process consisting of submitting an application for graduation, completing all academic requirements for a degree, and settling all financial obligations to the University. The administrative process of degree conferral will indicate the official date of graduation.

Where do I direct students for information about the graduation process?

It is important to communicate to students (and their parents) that graduation is NOT an automatic process. All students must apply to graduate online via the VIP Portal during the semester that they intend to complete final degree requirements.

Students should be meeting with their faculty advisors regularly and go through a degree review via DegreeWorks to ensure they are on track for their intended graduation date. The degree audit ensures that students are making satisfactory, academic progress towards the completion of a degree(s) and reminds them of important University policies and procedures pertaining to graduation (including transfer credits, academic honors, and developmental courses).

Students are responsible for meeting all graduation requirements and for submitting all required forms on time. Graduation may be delayed if a student’s record is incomplete or if there are any holds on a student account. 

Assuming students are on track for graduation, please refer them to the application for graduation. Here, students can learn more about the graduation process, from the application to the issuance of diplomas and transcripts.

I'm a faculty member and I need to rent/purchase regalia to participate in commencement. Who do I contact?

Please contact Pam Pazzabon (724-938-5572) at the University Bookstore to place your rental or purchase order for regalia. Stage party participants and faculty members interested in participating in commencement exercises are required to be in full academic regalia.

Are there key dates I need to be aware of as a faculty and/or staff member?

Yes; there are many dates that are important for faculty and staff as they relate to graduation and commencement. Please visit the graduation timeline for a full view of important dates relating to graduation and our commencement-related activities.