In fulfilling the mission of the college, all students in degree programs must take general education courses within seven competencies: Communications, Computer Literacy, Cultural, Mathematics, Science, Social Sciences, and Writing. Students enrolled in bachelor degree programs are required to take five additional competencies: Advanced Writing, Ethics/Philosophy, Global Studies, Multicultural, and Research. These competencies represent areas of learning which develop students’ knowledge considered essential to be a well-educated person.
Communications courses provide students with opportunities to learn how to effectively communicate verbally using visual/technological aids in informal, academic, and professional settings. After completing a communications course, a student will be able to:
- Develop the ability to communicate effectively through listening skills, feedback, and reflection.
- Show proficiency in computer skills by utilizing the latest developments in communication media through the use of technological resources.
- Demonstrate the ability to be an active listener, interpret non-verbal cues, and tailor communication to various audiences.
Communications courses fulfilling this competency will be assessed with a common rubric evaluating the delivery of an oral presentation.
Computer Literacy (CL)
Computer literacy courses prepare students to use technology for communication and to function effectively in a variety of settings. After completing a computer literacy course, a student will be able to:
- Develop proficiency in computer skills needed to function in today's academic, business, and social settings.
- Demonstrate the effects and outcomes of appropriate use of technology in a global community.
- Analyze and apply computer concepts to show mastery of technological knowledge.
Computer literacy courses fulfilling this competency will be assessed with the completion of a skills-based final exam.
Cultural courses help students to develop an understanding of the underlying values of a culture, recognize differences in relationships among cultures, and foster a respect for various cultural perspectives. After completing a cultural course, a student will be able to:
- Engage in discussions centered on one or more of the following: inquiry into morals and ethics, religions, life choices, modern languages, study of fine arts and performing arts, and/or the influences of politics and culture on human values.
- Respond to a variety of materials, from academic and literary texts to works of art and music, in either written or oral form.
- Research, interpret, analyze, and evaluate the cultural context of a variety of materials.
Cultural courses fulfilling this competency will be assessed with a common rubric evaluating an academic assignment (i.e., research paper, formal debate, oral presentation, or exam) to demonstrate students' understanding of culture.
Mathematics courses develop problem-solving skills and give students the opportunity to apply mathematics concepts to real world problems. After completing a mathematics course, a student will be able to:
- Demonstrate computational fluency.
- Apply and adapt a variety of appropriate strategies and mathematical procedures to interpret and solve problems.
- Use the language of mathematics to express mathematical ideas precisely.
Mathematics courses fulfilling this competency will be assessed with the completion of a skills-based final exam.
Science courses introduce students to the practice of scientific inquiry and give students opportunities to solve scientific problems both in and out of the classroom/laboratory. After completing a science course, a student will be able to:
- Formulate clear, concise, and relevant scientific questions.
- Identify, gather, and assess scientific information.
- Demonstrate understanding of scientific terminology, principles, and concepts as well as the ability to use scientific inquiry to solve problems.
Science courses fulfilling this competency will be assessed through common core questions on a final exam to demonstrate the ability to connect and interpret scientific concepts.
Social Science (SS)
Social science courses prepare students to understand concepts in sociology, psychology, anthropology and/or multiculturalism. These courses focus on theory and relevant application regarding social, cultural, and cross-cultural norms and sanctions. After completing a social science course, a student will be able to:
- Engage in collaborative discussions centered on social and/or cultural issues.
- Analyze the importance of human behavior and cultural forces on society.
- Examine social, political, economic, cultural, and cross-cultural factors and the impact of these forces upon the individual and society and how they affect human behavior and the mental processes.
Social science courses fulfilling this competency will be assessed with a common rubric evaluating an academic assignment (i.e., research paper, writing assignments, or students presentations) to demonstrate students' understanding of social sciences.
Writing courses prepare students to engage in written academic discourse by providing them with opportunities to write in a variety of styles and for diverse audiences. Additionally, writing courses provide students with an introduction to academic research, evaluation of sources, and citation. After completing a writing course, a student will be able to:
- Engage critically in written and oral academic rhetoric.
- Understand and utilize research methods and standards for academic citation.
- Demonstrate mastery of reading and writing skills and mechanics through various assignments.
Writing courses fulfilling this competency will be assessed with a common rubric evaluating 10-15 pages of written work that has been revised, proofread, and formatted according to academic standards.
Advanced Writing (AW)
Advanced writing courses build on the general college-level rhetorical reading and writing strategies students have learned in earlier courses (i.e., persuasion, logic, research methods, language usage, sentence combining, and editing). Advanced writing courses prepare students to do advanced-level critical analysis and writing through written assignments. After completing an advanced writing course, a student will be able to:
- Demonstrate mastery in analysis, synthesis, and application of the subject matter of the course.
- Require 20-30 pages of substantial original composition that counts for at least 50% of the course grade.
- Focus on editing and revising of written work throughout the course of the semester.
Advanced writing courses fulfilling this competency will be assessed with a common rubric evaluating a final paper that shows mastery of students writing.
Ethics/Philosophy courses provide the opportunity for students to examine the basis for ethical conduct, ethical standards in the real world, and the relationship of ethics and morals. This can include exploring a variety of philosophical questions regarding human life. After completing a course in ethics and/or philosophy, a student will be able to:
- Develop logical and critical thinking skills in evaluating arguments in ethics and philosophy.
- Analyze a variety of ethical/philosophical questions, such as the purpose of human existence, freedom versus determinism, the right to life, and the nature of aesthetics.
- Demonstrate understanding of different ethical perspectives and concepts.
Ethics/Philosophy courses fulfilling this competency will be assessed with a common rubric evaluating an academic assignment (i.e., case study, writing assignments, or student presentation) to demonstrate students' understanding of ethics and philosophy.
Global Studies (G/US & G/W)
Global studies courses provide the opportunity for students to examine historical events and social, cultural, and political forces that shape societies and individuals. Global studies courses focus on critical analysis of and engagement with complex, interdependent global systems, which may include implications for people's lives and/or the earth's sustainability. After completing a global studies course, a student will be able to:
- Demonstrate knowledge, awareness of others' opinions, critical thinking, and informed reflections based on course readings and discussions.
- Analyze how one's own actions affect both local and global communities.
- Collaboratively and equitably evaluate the most pressing historical and/or contemporary issues affecting our world.
Global studies courses fulfilling this competency will be assessed with a common rubric evaluating a written or oral project to demonstrate students' understanding of a global society.
Multicultural courses prepare students to increase awareness and sensitivity of other cultures as a way of gaining a deeper understanding of their own culture. After completing a multicultural course, a student will be able to:
- Engage in activities that promote diversity, acceptance, and inclusion among multiple cultures.
- Interpret intercultural experiences from the perspective of one's own and more than one other world view.
- Demonstrate the ability to effectively communicate how cultural pluralism shapes new attitudes and behaviors that encourage cooperation and harmony in professional, educational, and community settings.
Multicultural courses fulfilling this competency will be assessed with a common rubric evaluating an academic assignment (i.e., research paper, case study, writing assignments, or student presentation) to demonstrate students' understanding of multiculturalism.
Research courses provide students with the opportunity to develop an understanding of the research process and its application to a particular discipline. These courses engage students in academic inquiry, from reviewing discipline-specific literature to data collection and analysis. After completing a research course, a student will be able to:
- Demonstrate comprehension of research terms, concepts, and techniques.
- Apply critical thinking to examine and assess research documents.
- Analyze and critique the research process as an informed consumer.
Research courses fulfilling this competency will be assessed with a common rubric evaluating a final paper that shows students' ability to analyze the literature, write about the research findings, and make recommendations to its application.