Reinhardt University SACSCOC Compliance Certification

2.7.3 General Education  

In each undergraduate degree program, the institution requires the successful completion of a general education component at the collegiate level that (1) is a substantial component of each undergraduate degree, (2) ensures breadth of knowledge, and (3) is based on a coherent rationale. For degree completion in associate programs, the component constitutes a minimum of 15 semester hours or the equivalent; for baccalaureate programs, a minimum of 30 semester hours or the equivalent. These credit hours are to be drawn from and include at least one course from each of the following areas: humanities/fine arts, social/behavioral sciences, and natural science/mathematics. The courses do not narrowly focus on those skills, techniques, and procedures specific to a particular occupation or profession. If an institution uses a unit other than semester credit hours, it provides an explanation for the equivalency. The institution also provides a justification if it allows for fewer than the required number of semester credit hours or its equivalent unit of general education courses. (General Education)

Judgment check box Compliance

Narrative

In each Reinhardt University undergraduate degree program, the General Education component (1) is a substantial component of each undergraduate degree, (2) ensures breadth of knowledge, and (3) is based on a coherent rationale.

Substantial Component

The General Education core curriculum comprises a substantial component of a student’s degree requirements in each undergraduate program.

Students in associate degree programs must take 36-49 semester credit hours in general education courses, depending on the program.  Students in traditional bachelor degree programs must take 48-50 semester credit hours of general education courses. Professional programs, including distance education programs, require 36 semester credit hours in the General Education curriculum. As shown in the table that follows, the General Education component is 58%-80% of a Reinhardt associate degree and 35%-40% of a Reinhardt bachelor degree.

Table 2.7.3-1 Degree Program General Educational Requirements 2016-2017

Degree Program General Education semester credit hours required Total semester
credit hours
required
General Education percentage of degree requirements
Associate of Arts (A.A.) [1] 45-47 64 70%-73%
Associate of Science (A.S.) – Pre-Education [2] 49 61 80%
Associate of Science (A.S.)- Pre-Nursing [3] 39 65 60%
Associate of Science (A.S.) – Criminal Justice [4] 36 60 60%
Associate of Science (A.S.) in Fire Management [5] 38 65 58%
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) [6] 48-50 120 40%
Professional Bachelor’s degree (B.B.A., B.C.J., B.H.A., B.A. in OML [7] 36 120 35%

Breadth of Knowledge

All undergraduate programs—associate, traditional bachelor, and non-traditional degree-completion (distance education)—address a set of General Education Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) that are tied to the university’s mission “to educate the whole person by developing the intellectual, social, personal, vocational, spiritual and physical dimensions of its students.” [8] The curricula address these dimensions by requiring course work within the four domains of the General Education SLOs [9]:

Domain I: Communication—Students will demonstrate

  1. Effective expression of ideas through writing, speech, and a variety of arts experiences.

Domain II: Critical Thinking and Inquiry—Students will demonstrate

  1. Integrative, critical thinking and inquiry-based learning using evidence, logic, reasoning, and calculation.
  2. Informational, technological, and scientific literacies; and knowledge of research methods.
  3. Independent thought and imagination; preparation for lifelong learning.

Domain III: Self, Society and Culture—Students will demonstrate

  1. Knowledge of the traditions of Western civilization and their global context.
  2. Knowledge of the diversity of societies and cultures; the ability to view themselves and the world from cultural and historical perspectives other than their own.

Domain IV: Values and Ethics—Students will demonstrate

  1. Integrity and ethical responsibility.
  2. Understanding of and commitment to physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness.
  3. Stewardship and civic engagement, coupled with the ability to work with others both collaboratively and in leadership roles.

Traditional degree programs

Traditional programs require courses from each domain, as shown by the advising grid. [10]  These requirements ensure a breadth of knowledge in the 48-50 semester hours, including at least,

  • 12 semester credit hours of communication skills (requiring 6 in collegiate
    composition, 3 in speech, and 3 in arts experience)
  • 3  semester credit hours of collegiate mathematics
  • 4  semester credit hours of a lab science
  • 3  semester credit hours of social science
  • 12 semester credit hours in knowledge of self and society (requiring
    3 in literature, 6 in history, and 3 in religion)
  • 2  semester credit hours of health and wellness
  • 3  semester credit hours of ethics

Beyond these 39 credit hours, students also have additional elective choices, allowing for personal development.

Some degree programs require a few specific general education courses.  For example, the domain, “Knowledge of Self, Society, and Culture” includes courses in literature, history, religion, and social/behavioral science.  Music majors [11] must choose MUS 321 – Music History I and MUS 322 – Music History II (6 semester credit hours), although they may add other history courses as general education electives. Education majors [12] must choose PSY 101 – Introduction to Psychology (3 semester credits) as part of this domain. Students in other majors may have more choices.

However, the way the general education curriculum is designed, a student can never take more than 18 credit hours in courses related to a single major; at least 30 semester credits must be drawn from course work outside of a single academic discipline.

For example, the music major might take a music course for “Arts Experience” (3 semester credits) and Music History I and II for history  in “Knowledge of Self, Society, and Culture” (6 semester credits), but to complete the general education component, this student would still be required to complete 39-41 semester credit hours of courses other than music courses.

As a maximum scenario, an English major might take the required 6 semester credits in composition skills for “Communication,” then choose 3 semester credits in creative writing for “Arts Experience,” and potentially take up to 9 semester credits in literature (which could not be counted toward the major) for the domain “Knowledge of Self, Society, and Culture.”  The total of 18 semester credits still leaves at least 30-32 semester credits in general education course work outside of writing and literature.

The design of the General Education Curriculum ensures a breadth of knowledge while allowing for individual choice and development.

Professional studies and distance education programs

Professional degree programs include the Associate of Science (A.S.) in Criminal Justice, the Associate of Science (A.S.) in Fire Management, and the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Organizational Management and Leadership.

Professional degree programs also include Reinhardt’s distance education programs: the Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.), Bachelor of Criminal Justice (B.C.J), and the Bachelor of Healthcare Administration (B.H.A.)

These programs, which serve a population of non-traditional aged students, have a general education curriculum of 36-credit hours including at least the following [7]:

  • 12 semester credits in communication skills (6 in collegiate composition, 3 in speech, and 3 in computer skills)
  • 6 semester credits in humanities (literature, history, religion, philosophy)
  • 6 semester credits in social sciences
  • 3 semester credits in mathematics
  • 3 semester credits in natural sciences

In addition to these 30 semester credits, students must choose an additional 6 semester credits in general education electives. These requirements ensure a breadth of knowledge in the general education curriculum in addition to the skills, techniques, and procedures specific to a particular occupation or profession that students learn in major course work.

Minimum Requirements

Even though with the course distribution requirements discussed above, Reinhardt’s General Education component is based on student learning outcomes (SLOs).  Students may achieve and advance SLOs through introductory and survey courses as well as upper level courses.  Since upper level courses have prerequisites, a student often must begin with the broader introductory course before taking the upper level course. To this end, the list of acceptable general education options divides each SLO into courses without prerequisites and courses with prerequisites. [13]  These courses do not narrowly focus on  skills, techniques, and procedures specific to a particular occupation or profession.  They are liberal arts courses that address knowledge of civilization.

Both traditional and professional undergraduate general education curricula include at least one course from each of the following areas: humanities/fine arts, social/behavioral sciences, and natural science/mathematics.

Table 2.7.3-2 - Traditional Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees – Core requirement: 48-50 semester credit hours

Core Area Reinhardt University General Education SLO Domain Requirement
Humanities/Fine Arts Domain III –Knowledge of Self, Society and Culture,
Students must choose at least one literature course from English, American or World literature survey or Introduction to Critical Analysis (3 semester credits). [14]  The student who chooses to take more than one literature course must begin with one of these courses as a prerequisite. So all students must take at least one of these. These are “pure” humanities courses about literature within a particular historical period and place, not courses in writing skills:ENG 203, ENG 204, ENG 223, ENG 224, ENG 240, ENG 271, or ENG 272 [15]
Natural Sciences/ Mathematics Domain II – Critical Thinking and Inquiry,
Students must select at least one lab science (4 semester credits).  A student who chooses to take more advanced lab courses must begin with one of these as a prerequisite.BIO 120/121, BIO 122/123, CHE 180/181, PCS 110/111, or PCS 112/113 [16]
Social/
Behavioral Sciences
Domain II – Critical Thinking and Inquiry,
Students may select a social/behavioral science, in addition to the lab science in Domain II – Critical Thinking and Inquiry.Students who do not include a social/behavioral science in Domain II must choose a social/behavioral science course in Domain III - Knowledge of Self, Society, and Culture, including the following [10]:
POL 101, PSY 101, or SOC 105; in Domain III, a student may also choose BUS 206- Economics [17]Students must take PSY 101 as a prerequisite for many advanced psychology courses; however students may choose from a number of political science and sociology courses without prerequisites.

Two specialized associate degrees have more restricted core requirements

Table 2.7.3- 3 Associate of Science (A.S.) Pre-Education [2] and Associate of Science in Pre-Nursing [3]

Core Area Reinhardt University General Education Requirement
Humanities/Fine Arts Students must choose at least one literature course from English, American or World literature survey (3 semester credits):

ENG 203, ENG 204, ENG 223, ENG 224, ENG 271, or ENG 272 [15]

Natural Sciences/ Mathematics Pre-Education:  BIO 122/123 - Introduction to Organismal Biology/Lab [18]

Pre-Nursing:  BIO 120/121 – Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology

Social/
Behavioral Sciences
PSY 101 – Introduction to Psychology [19]

 

Table 2.7.3-4 Professional/Distance Education Degree Programs – 36 semester credit hours [7]

Core Area Reinhardt University General Education Requirement
Humanities/Fine Arts Students must choose at least one humanities course from literature, history, or religion (3 semester credits).
Natural Sciences/ Mathematics MAT 102  - College Algebra (3 semester credits) or above
Social/
Behavioral Sciences
Students must choose at least one social science course from political science, psychology, or sociology

Coherent Rationales

Programs for traditional students

Since 2004, the mission of the faculty General Education Committee has been to review, assess, and revise the general education curriculum.  From 2004-2006, this committee developed the set of undergraduate General Education Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) that includes the current four domains. [20] Next, the General Education committee developed a curriculum of 48-50 credit hours based on the approved SLOs, a curriculum that the Faculty Senate approved in April 2009. [21] In 2013, further minor revisions, discussed and approved by the Faculty Senate, added some flexibility to the General Education Curriculum. [22]

The rationale for the General Education component states that because “Reinhardt’s mission is to educate the whole person, the goal of a Reinhardt education is not only to prepare students for successful careers, but also to support and encourage their spiritual, ethical and civic growth.” In addition, “one of the most important tenets of Reinhardt’s general education curriculum is choice. Students should be able to identify and follow their passions.” [23] As a result, to complete the general education curriculum, students may choose courses that build on the required courses in humanities and fine arts, social and behavioral sciences, and natural science and mathematics.

Distance education/ degree completion programs for non-traditional students

In 2002, the Faculty Senate approved the curriculum for a face-to-face degree completion program, the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Organizational Management and Leadership, with a general education curriculum of 36 semester credits discussed above.

Today, Reinhardt offers three additional professional degree completion programs as distance education programs: the Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.), the Bachelor of Criminal Justice (B.C.J.), and the Bachelor of Healthcare Administration (B.H.A.).

The mission for professional studies states that since Reinhardt University’s mission is “to educate the whole person,” its professional bachelor degree programs are designed to balance general education core requirements, major [professional] coursework, and electives “to provide students with a theoretical and practical educational foundation” that prepares students for vocational opportunities and/or intellectual advancement through graduate studies. [24]

In 2015-2016, the General Education Task Force, a subset of the General Education Committee, began reviewing and revising the general education curriculum and rationale for the professional studies, degree completion programs.  The revision raises the number required general education semester credits from 36 to 42 to bring these degrees in line with the associate degree general education requirements at other regionally accredited institutions. This rationale was approved by the Faculty Senate in November 2016. [25]

General Education Course Equivalency and Transfer Credit

All transfer and distance education students must satisfy Reinhardt’s General Education requirements.  They must provide official transcripts that are reviewed during the admissions process to determine course equivalencies. The Reinhardt University Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2016-2017 addresses the specific requirements for course equivalency.

For transfer credits, [26] a total of 40 semester hours (including 15 semester hours of alternative credit) may be applied toward a Reinhardt associate degree and a total of 80 semester hours (including 30 semester hours of alternative credit) may applied toward a Reinhardt bachelor degree.  Students who have completed a two-year degree designated as transferable to a four-year degree (A.A. or A.S.) from a regionally accredited institution enter Reinhardt University with their General Education Curriculum fulfilled.

Transfer credits for general education requirements may include a limited number of alternate ways of earning credit [27] like the Advanced Placement Program Examination (AP), the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) subject tests, the Proficiency Examination Program (PEP) and the subject tests of the American College Testing Service (ACT).

All transfer and alternate credit is subject to the approval of the Registrar before it can be used to fulfill requirements in the General Education Curriculum. All forms of transfer credit are reported on a student’s transcript. [28]

Conclusion

At Reinhardt University, the importance of the General Education Curriculum is a focus of administration and faculty.  In the associate and bachelor degree programs, the general education requirement (1) is a substantial component of each program, (2) ensures breadth of knowledge, and (3) is based on a coherent rationale. In addition, there are processes in place to ensure the integrity of transfer and alternative forms of credit.

 

Supporting Documents

[1]       Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree requirements, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2016-2017, p. 110

[2]       Associate of Science (A.S.) in Pre-Education degree requirements, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2016-2017, p. 86-87

[3]       Associate of Science (A.S.) in Pre-Nursing degree requirements, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2016-2017, p. 162

[4]       Associate of Science (A.S.) in Criminal Justice, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2016-2017, pp. 187-88

[5]       Associate of Science (A.S.) in Fire Management degree requirements, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2016-2017, pp. 189
[6]       Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.), traditional programs General Education advising grid, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2016-2017, p. 58
[7]       Professional degree general education requirements:
Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.), Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Organizational Management and Leadership, Bachelor of Criminal Justice (B.C.J.), and Bachelor of Healthcare Administration (B.H.A.), - Reinhardt University Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2016-2017, pp. 73, 74-75, 190-91, 192

[8]       Reinhardt University Mission Statement, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2016-2017, p. 8

[9]       Reinhardt University Student Learning Outcomes, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2016-2017, pp. 8-9

[10]     General Education Curriculum advising grid, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2016-2017, p. 58

[11]     Music Major general education requirements, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2016-2017, pp. 149-51

[12]     Education major general education requirements, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2016-2017, pp. 89-90

[13]     General Education core options, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2016-2017, pp. 59-62

[14]     English core courses, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2016-2017, p.p. 59-61

[15]     English literature survey (ENG) course descriptions, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2016-2017, p. 225

[16]     Natural Sciences course descriptions, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2016-2017,
Biology- BIO 120/121, 122/123 – pp. 200-201
Chemistry – CHE 180/181 – p. 208
Physics –  PCS 110/111, 112/113 – p. 254

[17]     Social/Behavioral Science course description, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2016-2017,
Political Science – POL 101 – p. 257
Psychology – PSY 101 – p. 259
Sociology – SOC 105 – 264
Economics – BUS 206 – 204

[18]     Biology course descriptions, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2016-2017, pp. 200-201

[19]     Psychology 101 course description, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2016-2017, p. 259

[20]     Faculty Senate minutes, August 2006 and a proposal for the four domains of the General Education Curriculum

[21]     Faculty Senate minutes, April 2009 and a proposal for the courses of the General Education Curriculum

[22]     Faculty Senate Proposal, April 2013, General Education Revisions

[23]     Traditional Studies General Education Rationale, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2016-2017, pp.56-57

[24]     Professional Studies Mission Statement, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2016-2017, p.184

[25]     Professional Studies Programs Revision 2016

[26]     Reinhardt University Transfer Credit Policies, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2016-2017, p. 18-19

[27]     Reinhardt University Alternative Credit Policies, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2016-2017, pp. 44-46

[28]     Sample student transcripts with transfer and alternative forms of credit.