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3.5 Undergraduate Educational Programs

Comprehensive Standard:

3.5.1 The institution identifies college-level general education competencies and the extent to which students have attained them. (General education competencies)

Statement of Compliance:   In Compliance.

Narrative:

The University of West Georgia Core Curriculum is designed to provide students with essential competencies in key areas in accordance with the requirements of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents for the Core Curriculum. The narrative for Core Requirement 2.7.3 discusses the SACS requirements for general education curriculum and how both Board of Regents policies and the University of West Georgia meet those requirements.    

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents has identified five content area learning goals that represent the Core Curriculum and reflect the required priorities for general education competencies across the University System [1].  The five content areas are: Area A (Essential Skills: Communication and Quantitative Skills), Area B (Institutional Priorities), Area C (Humanities, Fine Arts, and Ethics), Area D (Natural Sciences, Math, and Technology), Area E (Social Sciences).

Further, the Core Curriculum Policy approved by the Board of Regents on October 14, 2009 instituted a number of rule changes that resulted in the addition of three learning goals in the following topic areas: U.S. Perspectives, Global Perspectives, and Critical Thinking. These learning goals require that students take at least one course in the topic area U.S. Perspectives and one course in Global Perspectives, and that the fulfillment of the core curriculum courses ensure that students develop foundations skills in critical thinking [1].  

Over the previous two years, the University of West Georgia has been involved in the process of evaluating and refining the specific learning outcomes for the core curriculum based on the major content areas of the University System of Georgia Core Curriculum. Final approval for these learning outcomes was granted in by the Board of Regents to the University of West Georgia in July 2011 [2], [3] in compliance with the SACS policy on "The Quality and Integrity of Undergraduate Degrees" [4].        

Approval of course additions, revisions, or deletions from the Core Curriculum and assessment of the core are overseen by the General Education Committee.  This subcommittee reports to the Undergraduate Academic Programs Committee [5], which is a part of the Faculty Senate committee structure. The roles and responsibilities of the General Education Committee [6], according to the Manual of the Undergraduate Programs Committee are as follows [7]:

1. Review all proposed additions, modifications, or deletions of courses within the core curriculum, inviting appropriate members of the faculty to address course change requests;

2. Develop strategies for the review of current core curriculum courses to assess whether their stated outcomes match stated university core curriculum learning objectives (as stated in the Undergraduate Catalog); and

3. Identify current means for assessing whether students have achieved the stated core curriculum learning outcomes.

The assessment of student learning outcomes is accomplished through both course-based assessments and through other program specific assessments, which are conducted periodically as students progress toward degree completion.  The collection of data on the Core Curriculum began in Fall, 2011, and these data are maintained in the SACS Assessment System. Assigned faculty, Core Curriculum Course Directors, fill out templates in this system specific to the outcomes associated with their courses [8]. It should be noted that the University of West Georgia assesses the Core Curriculum separately from academic programs. The report for Comprehensive Standard 3.3.1.1 discusses the assessment of academic programs.

Additionally, various academic support centers provide reinforcement to aid students in developing competency in the Core Curriculum content areas [3]. The EXCEL Center, which was awarded a Governor's Service Commendation on April 28, 2011, provides tutoring in all areas of the Core Curriculum [9]. The University Writing Center, staffed by faculty teaching in the First Year Writing Program, provides writing support and workshops for students in Core Curriculum and upper-level courses in all disciplines [10]. The Math Tutoring Center provides tutoring and support services for students in math courses [11].

More information on academic support services is provided in the narrative for Comprehensive Standard 3.4.9.    

In addition to the core curriculum noted in the given narrative, the University of West Georgia is an eCore (Electronic Core Curriculum) affiliate.  The details of this relationship, transcription of credit, and core courses offered are outlined in the narrative for Comprehensive Standard 3.4.7.

Evidence that the University of West Georgia establishes college-level general education competencies and the extent to which students have attained them are provided in the General Education Assessment Summary linked below [12]. Evidence of the same for the USG eCore is found in the eCore Factbook linked below [13].

Supporting Documentation: