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3.6 Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate Professional Programs

Comprehensive Standard:

3.6.2 The institution structures its graduate curricula (1) to include knowledge of the literature of the discipline and (2) to ensure ongoing student engagement in research and/or appropriate professional practice and training experiences. (Graduate curriculum)

Statement of Compliance:   In Compliance.

Narrative:

The Strategic Plan of the University of West Georgia states, "The fundamental effort of the University will be to provide for a diverse student population; an array of high quality graduate and undergraduate programs in the liberal arts, business, and education that have as their distinctive mark the successful preparation for professional careers based upon the content, principles, and discipline of a liberal education" [1].  To this end, all graduate programs are based upon the broadly defined, relevant literature of their foundational disciplines.  Further, depending upon the nature of the graduate program, each program integrates experiences for students to engage in and develop research skills appropriate to the discipline and/or guided practical or professional activities.  Ensuring that every graduate program is designed to include exposure to the literature of the various disciplines, and to require engagement in research and professional practice is accomplished by an extensive internal program approval process and regular Comprehensive Program Reviews.   

The extensive process for approval of graduate programs and for changes to graduate programs is described in the report for Comprehensive Standard 3.6.1.  New programs or changes to the current programs are initiated by the University of West Georgia faculty who are affiliated with those graduate programs. This occurs at the relevant graduate program level and all program additions and changes are formally reviewed and approved at the departmental and individual college levels, and by the University of West Georgia Faculty Senate [2] and the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs [3].  Throughout this process, faculty within and outside the program consider a range of factors including the extent that the particular program exposes students to the relevant literature or knowledge base of that discipline, and engages in meaningful and professional activities that includes research within the discipline. These activities necessarily include research within the discipline and appropriate professional activities.

All graduate programs undergo a Comprehensive Program Review (CPR) at least every seven years [4].  Responsibility for the CPR occurs at the program and department level, but also includes a review by the respective college dean, University Faculty Senate, the Provost, and the President.  Programs that are out of compliance with University System of Georgia Board of Regents and University of West Georgia policy requirements may be required to engage in Comprehensive Program Review as frequently as every three years.

The key indicators of programmatic success in ensuring that students are exposed to the relevant literature in their disciplines and that they are actively engaged in research and practical professional experiences are (a) the set of learning outcomes established by each program, (b) courses of study developed by each program, and (c) the requirements established by each program for matriculation. 

Table 3.6.1 (Rigor Table [5]), that was introduced in the report for Comprehensive Standard 3.6.1 provides further evidence of compliance with Comprehensive Standard 3.6.2.  The right column of the table presents the following information for each graduate program: (1) how the literature of the discipline is incorporated into program requirements; (2) evidence that students are engaged in ongoing research or appropriate professional practice and training experiences; and (3) examples of culminating projects that are required of students.  The remainder of this report draws from information contained in the more comprehensive table. In addition to Table 3.6.1 that provides the information on the graduate programs, the Table "Post-Baccalaureate and Post-Master's" covers the same information for the Post-Baccalaureate and Post-Master’s certificates [6].  

Evidence of compliance with Comprehensive Standard 3.6.2 can also be seen in the matriculation requirements established by each program. These requirements are presented in Table 3.6.2a below.

Table 3.6.2a

Post-Baccalaureate Programs by Matriculation Requirements

 

Program Area

Comprehensive

Examination

Thesis/

Dissertation

Project/ Performance

Practicum

Accounting, MPA

Required

 

 

 

Applied Computer Science, MS

 

Option A

 

Option B: Internship

Biology, MS

Option A

Option B

 

 

Business Administration, MBA

Required (Traditional)

 

Required: Business Strategy (Web MBA)

 

Criminology, MA

Option A

Option B

 

 

Early Childhood Education, MEd

 

 

Required: Portfolio

 

Early Childhood Education, SEd

Required

 

 

 

Educational Leadership, MEd

 

 

Required: Portfolio

 

Educational Leadership, SEd

 

 

Required: Portfolio

Required: Professional Residency

European Union Studies, Post-Bacc Cert.

 

 

 

Required: Internship or Study Abroad

English, MA

Required

Optional

 

 

Geographic Information Systems, Post-Bacc Cert.

 

 

 

Required: Internship

Health Systems Leadership, Post-Mast Cert.

 

 

 

Required: Multiple Practica

History, General, MA

Required

Option A

Option B: Research paper in lieu of thesis

 

Integrative Health Studies, Post-Bacc Cert.

 

 

Required: Final Project

Optional: Practicum

Mathematics, MS

Required

 

 

 

Media, MEd

Required

 

Required: Electronic Portfolio

 

Media, SEd

Required

 

Required: Portfolio

 

Middle Grades Education, MEd

Required

 

 

 

Museum Studies, Post-Bacc Cert.

 

 

 

Required: Internship

Music Performance, MM

Required

Optional

Required: Recital, Ensemble

 

Music Teacher Education, MM

Required

Optional

Required: Ensemble

 

Nursing, MS

 

 

 

Required: Multiple Practica

Nursing Education, Post-Mast Cert.

 

 

 

Required: Practicum

Nursing Education, EdD

 

Required

 

 

Professional Counseling, MEd

Required

 

 

Required: Practicum/

Internship

Professional Counseling, SEd

Required

 

 

Required: Practicum

Professional Counseling, EdD

 

Required: Dissertation

 

Required: Practicum

Psychology, MA

Required

Option A

Option B: Research paper in lieu of thesis, Internship for licensure

 

Psychology, PhD

Required

 

 

Practica

Public  Administration, MPA

 

 

Exit Paper

 

Public History, Post-Bacc Cert.

 

 

 

Required: Internship

Public Management, Post-Bacc Cert.

 

 

 

Required: Practicum

Reading Instruction, MEd

Required

 

 

 

School Improvement, EdD

 

Required: Dissertation

 

 

Secondary Education, MEd

Required

 

 

 

Sociology, MA

Option A

Option B

 

 

Special Education and Teaching, General, MEd

 

 

Portfolio

 

Special Education and Teaching, General, SEd

 

 

Research Project

 

Speech-Language Pathology, MEd

Required

 

 

Required: Multiple Practica

Teaching, MAT

Required

 

 

Internship

Urban and Regional Planning, MS

 

 

Option A: Capstone Project

Option B: Internship

 

As reflected in Table 3.6.1 and Table 3.6.2a, each post-baccalaureate program requires students to demonstrate their understanding of relevant literature, and their ability to engage in discipline relevant research and professional practice in order to obtain their degrees.

In several graduate programs, students are given options that they may choose in order to demonstrate their understanding of the relevant literature and their ability to apply the discipline through research and professional practice (e.g., Biology, Sociology, Psychology).  Less common are graduate programs that require students to successfully complete a comprehensive qualifying examination and either thesis, dissertation, or performance product (e.g., History, Music Performance). A small number of graduate programs incorporate a portfolio or project (e.g., Special Education & Teaching, Educational Leadership, Public Administration). Further, professional programs generally require students to successfully complete internships, practica, or professional residencies for degree completion (e.g., Geographic Information Systems, Nursing, Professional Counseling). 

Although less direct, compliance with Comprehensive Standard 3.6.2 is further supported by the accreditation of programs by discipline specific professional organizations.  Detailed explanations of each discipline specific accreditation (as well as curriculum requirements) may be accessed through the Graduate Studies website [7]. However, accreditation by discipline is provided in Table 3.6.3b.

Table 3.6.2b

Post-Baccalaureate Programs by Professional Organization Accreditation

 

Program Area

Master’s

Specialist

Doctorate

Accounting

AACSB

 

 

Art Teacher Education

NASAD,

NCATE

 

 

Business Administration

AACSB

 

 

Business Education

NCATE

NCATE

 

Criminology

 

 

 

Early Childhood Education

NCATE

NCATE

 

Educational Leadership

NCATE

NCATE

 

English

 

 

 

French Language Teacher Education

NCATE

 

 

History, General

 

 

 

Media

NCATE

NCATE

 

Middle Grades Education

NCATE

 

 

Music Performance

NASM

 

 

Music Teacher Education

NASM, NCATE

 

 

Nursing

CCNE

 

 

Nursing Education

 

 

CCNE

Physical Education

 

NCATE

 

Professional Counseling

CACREP

 

 

Public  Administration

 

 

 

Reading Instruction

NCATE

 

 

School Improvement

 

 

NCATE

Secondary Education

NCATE

NCATE

 

Sociology

 

 

 

Spanish Language Teacher Education

NCATE

 

 

Special Education and Teaching, General

NCATE

NCATE

 

Speech-Language Pathology

CAA/ASHA

 

 

Teaching

NCATE

 

 

Teaching (collaborative)

NCATE

 

 

AACSB = Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

CAA/ASHA = Council on Academic Accreditation/American Speech-Language Association

CACREP = Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs

CCNE = Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

NASAD = National Association of Schools of Art and Design

 

As seen depicted in Table 3.6.2b, nearly all graduate programs at the University of West Georgia are accredited by one or more professional organizations.  A large proportion of graduate programs are offered in support of the preparation of education professionals and, thus, these graduate programs are considered when the unit is evaluated for accreditation by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).  Similarly, graduate programs in Business are evaluated during review by the Association to Advance Colleges and Schools of Business (AACSB).  Specialized disciplinary accreditation is also granted in Art (National Association of Schools of Art and Design), Counseling (Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs), Music (National Association of Schools of Music), Nursing (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education),  Public Administration (National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration), and Speech-Language Pathology (Council on Academic Accreditation/ASHA). While discipline specific accreditation is based upon many factors, it does reflect recognition by professional peers of the quality, integrity, and rigor of programs, and provides additional though indirect evidence of compliance with Comprehensive Standard 3.6.2. 

The University of West Georgia ensures compliance with Comprehensive Standard 3.6.2 through: (1) an extensive review/approval process for new programs or program changes and (2) regular comprehensive program reviews.  Evidence of compliance by programs is found in: (1) published courses of study, (2) student learning outcomes, (3) matriculation requirements and, more specifically, (4) individual course syllabi.  Accreditation of post-baccalaureate programs by discipline specific bodies further supports compliance with Comprehensive 3.6.2.

Supporting Documentation: