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The programs in general education at VHCC emphasize broad learning that goes beyond job training and skill development. Each degree and certificate program of the College contains prescribed general education courses, including academic courses in the humanities/fine arts, social/behavioral sciences, natural sciences, mathematics, wellness and communication skills. General education is that portion of the collegiate experience that addresses the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values characteristic of educated persons. It is unbounded by disciplines and honors the connections among bodies of knowledge.

Virginia Highlands Community College is committed to offering its students programs that encompass the common knowledge, skills, and attitudes required by each individual to be more effective as a person, a worker, a consumer, and a citizen. Through a combination of general education courses, specialized courses in the major field, and student development courses, graduates are provided with a collegiate experience that supports the development of the following general education goals.

Student Learning Outcomes for Each of the General Education Goal Areas

VHCC degree graduates will demonstrate competency in the following general education areas:

1. Communication
A competent communicator can interact with others using all forms of communication, resulting in understanding and being understood.

Degree graduates will demonstrate the ability to 
    1.1 understand and interpret complex materials; 
    1.2 assimilate, organize, develop, and present an idea formally and informally; 
    1.3 use standard English; 
    1.4 use appropriate verbal and non-verbal responses in interpersonal relations and group disussions; 
    1.5 use listening skills; and 
    1.6 recognize the role of culture in communication.

2. Critical Thinking
A competent critical thinker evaluates evidence carefully and applies reasoning to decide what to believe and how to act.

Degree graduates will demonstrate the ability to
    2.1 discriminate among degrees of credibility, accuracy, and reliability of inferences drawn from given data; 
    2.2 recognize parallels, assumptions, or presuppositions in any given source of information; 
    2.3 evaluate the strengths and relevance of arguments on a particular question or issue; 
    2.4 weigh evidence and decide if generalizations or conclusions based on the given data are warranted; 
    2.5 determine whether certain conclusions or consequences are supported by the information provided; and 
    2.6 use problem solving skills.

3. Cultural and Social Understanding
A culturally and socially competent person possesses an awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the interconnectedness of the social and cultural dimensions within and across local, regional, state, national, and global communities.

Degree graduates will demonstrate the ability to 
    3.1 assess the impact that social institutions have on individuals and culture—past, present, and future; 
    3.2 describe their own as well as others’ personal ethical systems and values within social institutions; and 
    3.3 recognize the impact that arts and humanities have upon individuals and cultures. 
    3.4 recognize the role of language in social and cultural contexts. 
    3.5 recognize the interdependence of distinctive world-wide social, economic, geo-political, and cultural systems

4. Information Literacy
A person who is competent in information literacy recognizes when information is needed and has the ability to locate, evaluate, and use it effectively. (adapted from the American Library Association definition)

Degree graduates will demonstrate the ability to 
    4.1 determine the nature and extent of the information needed; 
    4.2 access needed information effectively and efficiently; 
    4.3 evaluate information and its sources critically and incorporate selected information into his or her knowledge base; 
    4.4 use information effectively, individually or as a member of a group, to accomplish a specific purpose; and 
    4.5 understand many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and access and use information ethically and legally.

5. Personal Development

An individual engaged in personal development strives for physical well-being and emotional maturity.

Degree graduates will demonstrate the ability to 
    5.1 develop and/or refine personal wellness goals; and 
    5.2 develop and/or enhance the knowledge, skills, and understanding to make informed academic, social, personal, career, and interpersonal decisions.

6. Quantitative Reasoning

A person who is competent in quantitative reasoning possesses the skills and knowledge necessary to apply the use of logic, numbers, and mathematics to deal effectively with common problems and issues. A person who is quantitatively literate can use numerical, geometric, and measurement data and concepts, mathematical skills, and principles of mathematical reasoning to draw logical conclusions and to make well-reasoned decisions.

Degree graduates will demonstrate the ability to 
    6.1 use logical and mathematical reasoning within the context of various disciplines; 
    6.2 interpret and use mathematical formulas; 
    6.3 interpret mathematical models such as graphs, tables and schematics and draw inferences from them; 
    6.4 use graphical, symbolic, and numerical methods to analyze, organize, and interpret data; 
    6.5 estimate and consider answers to mathematical problems in order to determine reasonableness; and 
    6.6 represent mathematical information numerically, symbolically, and visually, using graphs and charts.

7. Scientific Reasoning
A person who is competent in scientific reasoning adheres to a self-correcting system of inquiry (the scientific method) and relies on empirical evidence to describe, understand, predict, and control natural phenomena.

Degree graduates will demonstrate the ability to 
    7.1 generate an empirically evidenced and logical argument; 
    7.2 distinguish a scientific argument from a non-scientific argument; 
    7.3 reason by deduction, induction and analogy; 
    7.4 distinguish between causal and correlational relationships; and 
    7.5 recognize methods of inquiry that lead to scientific knowledge.

Table 5-1A VCCS Degree Requirements

Area
Distribution

GENERAL EDUCATION
General education is that portion of the collegiate experience that addresses the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values characteristic of educated persons. It is unbounded by disciplines and honors the connections among bodies of knowledge. The associate degree programs within the VCCS support a collegiate experience that focuses on seven goal areas: communication; critical thinking; cultural and social understanding; information literacy; personal development; quantitative reasoning; scientific reasoning. The general education goal areas outlined below are to be introduced in the foundational courses and enhanced in program and elective courses. (NOTE: Some of the categories include two goal areas when a single course may provide foundations in both goal areas.)

I. Foundations In Communication:
Courses designed to enable students to interact with others using all forms of communication, resulting in understanding and being understood.

II. Foundations In Critical Thinking And 
    Information Literacy:
Courses designed to enable students to evaluate evidence carefully and apply reasoning to decide what to believe and how to act, and to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use it effectively.

III. Foundations In Cultural And Social 
    Understanding:
Courses designed to enable students to have an awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the interconnectedness of the social and cultural dimensions within and across local, regional, state, national, and global communities.

IV. Foundations In Personal Development:
Courses designed to enable students to strive for physical well-being and emotional maturity.

V. Foundations In Quantitative And Scientific 
    Reasoning:
Courses designed to enable students to possess the skills and knowledge necessary to apply the use of logic, numbers, and mathematics to deal effectively with common problems and issues, and to adhere to a self-correcting system of inquiry (the scientific method) and rely on empirical evidence to describe, understand, predict, and control natural phenomena.

Minimum 15 credits

(Students must take at least one course in each of the five areas listed, to total at least 15 credits.)
PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS 
    Major Field Core 
    Related/Specialization Courses 
    Electives
Minimum 15 credits*
Maximum 15 credits
0-15 credits
TOTALS AA/AS/AA&S:
60-63 credits**
AAA/AAS:
65-69 credits***

*Language in Section 5.1.0.0.1 of the VCCS Policy Manual states 25% of the courses in the degree program (15-18 credits) must be common across majors within a degree. The shared courses must be major or related/specialization courses.
**Credit range for engineering programs is 60-72 semester hour credits.
***Credit range for AAA/AAS programs is 65-69, including nursing. For other programs in the Health Technologies, the range is 65-72 semester hour credits.

Table 5-1B
Minimum Requirements for Associate Degrees in the VCCS

Associate of Arts (AA)
Associate of Science (AS)
Associate of Arts & Sciences (AA&S)
Associate of Applied Science (AAS)

  Minimum number of Semester Hours Credits
General Education.

(1) (2) (3) (4)
  AA AS AA&S AAA/AAS
Communication(a) 6 6 6 3
Humanities/Fine Arts 6 6 6 3
Foreign Language
(Intermediate Level)
6 0 0 0
Social/Behavioral
Sciences
9 g(b) 9 3(c)
Natural Sciences/

Mathematics
7

6
7

6(d)
7

6(d)

0
           }3(c)
0

Personal Development(e) 2(e) 2(e) 2(e) 2(e)
Other Requirements for Associate Degrees:

Major field courses and electives (columns 1-3)

Career/technical courses (column 4)
18-21

-
24-27

-
24-27

-
49-53

-
Total for Degree(g)= 60-63 60-63(h) 60-63(h) 65-69(h)

Notes: The VCCS Policy Manual, Section 2-IV-C, defines general education within the VCCS. Sections 2.7.3, 3.4.10, and 3.5.1 of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Principles of Accreditation specify general education requirements. Colleges must address all SACSCOC requirements, the SCHEV Core Competencies, and the general education goal areas listed in this VCCS Policy Manual.

(a) Must include at least one course in English composition.
(b) Only 6 semester hours of social/behavioral sciences are required for engineering majors who plan to transfer to a baccalaureate degree engineering program that requires 6 or fewer hours in this category, provided that the college/university publishes such requirements in its transfer guide.
(c) While general education courses other than those designed for transfer may be used to meet portions of these requirements, SACSCOC principles require that general education courses be general in nature and must not “...narrowly focus on those skills, techniques, and procedures peculiar to a particular occupation or profession.”
(d) Only 3 semester hours of mathematics are required for the General Studies major.
(e) Personal development includes health, physical education, or recreation courses that promote physical and emotional well being and student development courses. Must include at least one student development course.
(f) AAA/AAS degrees must contain a minimum of 15 semester hours of general education. Students should plan to take at least 30 hours in the major; the remaining hours will be appropriate to the major. (g) All college-level course prerequisites must be included in the total credits required for each program.
(g) All college-level course prerequisites must be included in the total credits required for each program.
(h) Credit range for engineering programs is 60-72 semester hour credits. Credit range for AAA/AAS programs is 65-69, including nursing. For other programs in the Health Technologies, the range is 65-72 semester hour credits.

2. Information Literacy Statement
Upon graduation from a degree program, all students will be able to (1) determine the nature and extent of the information needed; (2) access needed information effectively and efficiently; (3) evaluate information and its sources critically and incorporate selected information into his or her knowledge base; (4) use information effectively, individually or as a member of a group, to accomplish a specific purpose; and (5) understand many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and access and use information ethically and legally.

Computer competency will be demonstrated by successfully completing one or more credit courses (approved by the division or department), a challenge exam, equivalent course(s), or course components for computer competency explicitly required in a given course syllabus. The Registrar, when doing official clearance of graduates, will ensure that students have successfully completed a challenge exam or a course or courses identified as appropriate by the academic divisions.

3. Assessment
Curricular students are required to complete tests, such as COMPASS to determine entry level placement into reading, writing and math classes. Additionally, students may be required to participate in one or more tests, projects, or other academic activities designed to measure general education achievement and/or achievement in selected major areas prior to graduation. These tests are designed to evaluate programs. Program assessment test results will remain confidential and will be used for the sole purpose of college improvement. Students may have access to their own test scores upon request.

4. Student Outcomes Assessment
The College uses a variety of assessment activities to ensure that its educational programs achieve their stated purposes.

Entering freshmen, candidates for graduation, and graduates are assessed through standardized and nationally normed instruments, in-house developed tests, exit interview questionnaires, and employer surveys.

The assessment process focuses on the following four areas: basic skills testing for English and mathematics placement, the student’s progress in the major, an assessment of the general education component among the transfer curricula, and follow-up studies on alumni, dual-enrollment students, off campus centers, transfer students and area employers.

Last updated: 3/10/2014 12:17:03 PM