Reinhardt University SACSCOC Compliance Certification

4.2 Program Curriculum

The institution’s curriculum is directly related and appropriate to the purpose and goals of the institution and the diplomas, certificates, or degrees awarded. (Program curriculum)

Judgment check box Compliance

 

Narrative

Reinhardt’s curricula are directly related and appropriate to the purposes and goals of its mission and to its Strategic Plan. Three key principles are 1) the purpose to “educate the whole person,” as asserted in the University’s mission statement, 2) the goal to “develop programs and pipelines for growth,” as stated in the Strategic Plan, and 3) the goal to “deepen academic relevancy” of the curricula, as stated in the Strategic Plan.
The Mission Statement

Reinhardt’s mission is to “educate the whole person by developing the intellectual, social, personal, vocational, spiritual, and physical dimensions of its students.” [1]  The institution describes itself as a “comprehensive university firmly grounded in the liberal arts” and as such offers degree programs for traditional undergraduate students and adult learners, the latter through online and face-to-face degree-completion programs as well as a select number of graduate programs. [2]  Reinhardt University is also affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

The Strategic Plan

Reinhardt University carries out its mission through the execution of a Strategic Plan. [3]  Two strategic objectives, guided by the institution’s mission, are directly linked to the academic development of the curriculum:

  1. Develop programs and pipelines for growth, and
  2. Deepen academic relevancy.

The strategic objective to “develop programs and pipelines for growth” includes initiatives to establish online degree-completion programs as well as online and face-to-face master’s degree programs to support the growing number of adult and professional learners in our region.  Such programs are further linked to the mission by providing students with options to expand or deepen their “intellectual,” “personal,” and “vocational” development.

The strategic objective to “deepen academic relevancy” ensures that Reinhardt’s curricula serve the knowledge-needs of the labor market while maintaining academic standards.

Undergraduate Curricula

The undergraduate traditional and professional, degree-completion programs are guided by a set General Education Student Learning Outcomes [4] that reflect the University’s mission.

The general education curricula

Reinhardt University’s traditional undergraduate programs require a general education curriculum of 48-50 semester credit hours, [5] which reflects the University’s mission “to educate the whole person by developing intellectual, social, personal, vocational, spiritual and physical dimensions of its students.” The curriculum addresses these dimensions by requiring course work within each of four overarching domains of the General Education Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Communication
  • Critical Thinking/Inquiry
  • Knowledge of Self, Society, and Culture
  • Values/Ethics.

The design of the General Education Curriculum ensures a breadth of knowledge to contribute to the development of the “the whole person” while allowing for some individual choice within each domain to deepen academic relevancy for an individual student. For example, the domain “Critical Thinking/Inquiry” includes the requirement of a science course with a lab, yet students may choose from biology, chemistry, and physics.  The domain, “Knowledge of Self, Society, and Culture” requires courses in literature, history, and religion, yet students may choose from American, English, or World literature, [6] and may choose from American, Western, or World History.  The General Education Curriculum also includes required courses in communication skills as well as a choice of courses that address values and ethics. Taken together, this curriculum reflects the mission to develop “the whole person,” including intellectual and spiritual dimensions.

Similarly, the professional studies programs, which include the distance education programs, address the General Education Student Learning Outcomes with a general education curriculum of 36 semester credit hours requiring courses in each of the following [7]:

  • Communication and Technology
  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences
  • Mathematics and Natural Sciences
  • General Education Electives.

The professional studies degrees require a substantial general education core that reflects the mission “to educate the whole person.”

Undergraduate degree programs

Associates Degrees

Reinhardt University’s associate degrees directly support the mission and the Strategic Plan of the University.  As explained in the Reinhardt University Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2016-2017, an associate degree might serve as “a two-year transfer degree that indicates the completion of a student’s lower division general education requirements.” [8] As such, the associate’s degree indicates intellectual development and may provide a pipeline for growth if the student chooses to continue study at Reinhardt.  An associate’s degree may also be “a specialized terminal degree designed to prepare a student for entry into a particular occupation” which would provide vocational development and deepen the academic relevancy of Reinhardt’s programs.  Reinhardt University offers one Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree in Liberal Studies and four Associate of Science (A.S.) degrees in Criminal Justice, Fire Management, Pre-Education and Pre-Nursing.  They all correspond to the purposes outlined in the University’s mission and the goals identified from the University’s Strategic plan.

For example, the A.S. in Criminal Justice addresses vocational development, academic relevancy and a potential pipeline for growth.  Most students enrolled in the A.S. in Criminal Justice degree are adult learners who have some professional experience in the field.  Many are also seeking to earn a Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) Certificate. The School of Professional Studies, under which the program is offered, makes a special effort to encourage students enrolled in the A.S. in Criminal Justice to return to Reinhardt to complete a Bachelor of Criminal Justice (B.C.J), one of Reinhardt’s distance education programs.

As a second example, Reinhardt’s A.S. in Pre-Nursing provides intellectual and vocational development while serving to deepen the academic relevancy of Reinhardt’s degrees.  The A.S. in Pre-Nursing is designed as a transfer program for students who want to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.).  Reinhardt maintains two academic articulation agreements, one with Emory University and the other with LaGrange College, which allow Reinhardt students who earn the A.S. in Pre-Nursing and meet the transfer college’s admission requirements, to continue study toward the B.S.N. degree.  The success of Reinhardt’s program in pre-nursing has prompted the University to launch a B.S.N. degree in Spring 2018.

Traditional bachelor’s degrees

Reinhardt offers bachelor’s degree programs through six academic schools: the McCamish School of Business, the Price School of Education, the School of Arts and Humanities, the School of Mathematics and Sciences, the School of Performing Arts, and the School of Professional Studies.  The traditional degrees are offered by the first four.

The programs of the McCamish School of Business focus upon intellectual and vocational development, within the context of the liberal arts tradition to prepare students for a diverse world in which they may join large multinational corporations, manage and/or own a small business, or pursue graduate education. For traditional undergraduate students, the school offers a Bachelor’s of Science (B.S.) degree in Business Administration, but the student may choose a concentration in accounting, marketing, or management.   With a direct connection to business careers, these programs are directly related to the University’s goal of academic relevancy. These programs may also become a pipeline for the growth of the Reinhardt Master of Business Administration (MBA).

The Price School of Education teacher preparation programs are aimed at producing reflective, problem-solving teachers who respond to the diversity of student needs through differentiated instruction driven by ongoing assessment and adjustments within a nurturing environment. The school offers the B.S. degree in five programs (Early Childhood Education, Middle Grades Education, and Secondary Education in Biology, English/Language Arts, and Mathematics), a Bachelor of Music Education, and a non-teacher education program in Sport Studies. These programs address the intellectual development, and, with the emphasis on diverse learning styles, the social and ethical awareness of students. The teacher education programs are approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC) [9] to prepare students for initial certification as professional teachers.  As such, the programs are directly related to the mission of vocational development while reflecting the goal of academic relevancy for a college degree.

Through the degree programs offered by the School of Arts and Humanities, students develop an appreciation for the diversity of cultures as expressed through art, literature, media, world languages, history, philosophy and religion.  Therefore, these programs align directly the University mission to “educate the whole person,” intellectually, socially, and spiritually.  Students in the arts and humanities develop the ability to write and think critically, and students in the art programs also develop creative expression.  Although the programs are not directly linked to specific careers, they prepare students to adapt strong communication and critical thinking skills in a variety of careers for vocational development.

The programs in the School of Mathematics and Sciences create a framework to explore the highly dynamic and diverse areas of modern science. Careers in biology and mathematics require students to be skilled intellectually and creatively. Within a framework of social commitment and the liberal arts, students may also develop vocationally to prepare for a range of specific careers in political science, psychology and sociology.

Finally, programs in the School of Performing Arts offer students a variety of learning opportunities and challenges to become well-trained musicians and actors, prepared to pursue graduate studies or a professional career. The school offers the following Bachelor degrees: B.A in Theatre, Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Musical Theater, and the Bachelor of Music (B.M.) in Music Performance, in Sacred Music, and in Music Education. These degree programs engage with and develop various dimensions of the “whole person” so that students develop intellectually, socially, physically, and spiritually. These performance degrees are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). [10]  As they prepare students for performance careers, they support vocational development. The School of Performing Arts also aggressively supports the cultural life of the university and community by sponsoring music and theatre events –with professional and student performers. The performances contribute to the development of the whole person for all members of campus.

Reinhardt University ensures that new and current degree programs have academic relevancy and may become pipelines for growth. A new program proposal form includes comparative data or market research.  For example, in 2016, the School of Mathematics and Sciences proposed two new concentrations for the Bachelor of Science in Mathematics:  Cyber Security and Computer Forensics. [11]   The academic relevancy of this proposal was supported by market research initiated by the president of the university in a 2015 New Programs Report (pp. 72-76). [12]  In the same year, an external review of of the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Communications and Media Studies (CMS) (pp. 13-14) [13] resulted in a reorganization of the CMS Programs in spring 2017 (esp. pp. 7-11) [14] to deepen academic relevancy by preparing students for a constantly changing industry.

Professional studies and distance education programs

Since Reinhardt University’s mission is “to educate the whole person,” the curricula of its professional degree-completion programs balance general education core requirements with professional course work and electives to develop graduates who are informed professionals and citizens of the world.  These programs reflect Reinhardt’s mission by providing a means for adult students to develop intellectually and vocationally.  In addition, these programs are directly related to the Strategic Plan by providing pipelines for growth and academic relevancy for an increasing online academic market.

For example, Reinhardt’s Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management and Leadership (B.A.-OML) began in 2003 as a program to address the vocational development of adult students.  Since 2003, Reinhardt has awarded 329 B.A. in OML degrees for an average of 23.5 a year.  In 2007, Reinhardt began offering a Master of Business Administration (MBA).  Since then, 24 of the 132 (18%) MBA graduates have been B.A.-OML graduates. [15]  These results confirm that the B.A.-OML allows students to develop vocationally and intellectually, and that the degree provides a pipeline for growth in Reinhardt’s MBA.  An 2016-2017 external review [16] concluded that the B.A.- OML “is providing a quality and relevant learning experience for adult students” (p. 3)

For another example, in November 2015, the McCamish School of Business proposed converting its Bachelor of Arts in General Business Studies (B.A.-GBS) for adult learners to a distance education program, a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.).  The proposal noted that the B.A.-GBS was undersubscribed and that a number of comparable institutions offered fully online programs, the comparative data using two data bases, thebestschools.org and affordablecollegesonline.org [17] to support the academic relevance of the conversion.

As a final example, Reinhardt Bachelor of Healthcare Administration (B.H.A.) [18] was proposed in 2011 as a face-to-face degree-completion program, but it has become a distance education, degree-completion program.  The proposal links the program learning outcomes with the Reinhardt General Education Student Learning Outcomes (p. 5) and provides a curriculum map of how program learning outcomes are addressed throughout the curriculum (p. 7).  By training healthcare professionals for management, the Reinhardt B.H.A. reflects the University’s mission to provide vocational, social, and intellectual development for students.  In addition, the proposal notes that the degree provides a pipeline for growth from “students holding an associate degree from Chattahoochee Technical College and other SACS[COC] accredited regional technical and community colleges which currently offer two-year healthcare programs” (p. 1). The B.H.A. is relevant because healthcare is a fast growing field.

The Purposes and Goals of Graduate Curricula

Reinhardt’s graduate curricula are appropriate for the purposes and goals of the master’s degree.  Reinhardt identifies “The Purposes of Graduate Study” [19] in the Reinhardt University Graduate Academic Catalog:

I.          Mastery of the current literature, prevailing knowledge, and/or skill set of a
specific discipline;
II.         Mastery of critical thinking through the practical application of theory;
III.       Mastery of skills to research a topic thoroughly;
IV.       The ability to foster new knowledge in a discipline; and
V.        The strong communication skills necessary to present research.

These guiding “Purposes” directly relate to the University’s mission by providing the intellectual and vocational advancement of professionals.  The graduate programs are also linked to the Strategic Plan by providing “new programs and pipelines for growth” and by serving to “deepen academic relevancy” of Reinhardt curricula for adult and professional students.

Each graduate program has discipline-specific learning outcomes that are appropriate for the “Purposes” and goals of graduate study.   For example, the Master of Business Administration (MBA) identifies six learning outcomes tied to the Purposes of Graduate Study [20]:

M1      Critical Thinking, Analytical and Problem-Solving Skills (Purposes II, IV)
M2      Interpersonal, Teamwork, Leadership, and Communications Skills ( Purpose V)
M3      Ethical Issues and Responsibilities  (Purposes III, IV)
M4      Business Skills and Knowledge  (Purpose I)
M5      Awareness of Global and Multicultural Issues  (Purpose I)
M6      Research Methodologies (Purpose III)

Courses in the MBA curriculum [21] are tied to these learning outcomes, which are directly related to vocational growth.  Some examples are BUS 601 – Managing the Organization (M1,M4), BUS 625 – Managerial Accounting (M1, M3, M4, M6), and BUS 680 – Global Business (M1, M5, M6).

In addition, the Master of Public Administration (MPA) [22] and the Master of Arts (MAT) in Teaching in Early Childhood Education [23] provide means for students to change or advance in their careers.

In February 2015, the faculty of the School of Arts and Humanities proposed a new graduate program, the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing. [24]  The proposal addresses the mission to develop the “whole person” in individual and vocational ways: students “will receive individual attention from faculty in small class settings and personal online communication” and will be prepared “for careers as professional writers or as university creative writing teachers” (p. 3).  In addition, the program provides vocational development because “teachers certified in Georgia [may] upgrade an existing teaching certificate through the study of a specialization” (p. 3)  Vocational development in the MFA also reflects the objective of the Strategic Plan to “deepen academic relevancy” by providing a means of career advancement. The proposal includes a contrast with other MFA programs in the state of Georgia to demonstrate the academic relevancy of Reinhardt’s program design (p. 4).

Reinhardt’s graduate programs are also under continual academic scrutiny by the faculty, guided by the University’s mission, Strategic Plan, and the “Purposes of Graduate Study.”  For example, in 2015, the MPA Program Director added a second methods course to the curriculum in order to strengthen the vocational development, academic relevancy and advanced research skills of students.  “MPA 611 – Applied Statistics” [25] was designed to make the curriculum more “competitive in the public and nonprofit sectors.”  The course proposal added that “competitive programs in Georgia (the University of Georgia, Kennesaw State University, Georgia State University, and the University of North Georgia) all require MPA graduates to complete two methodological courses."

Directly related to diplomas, certificates and degrees awarded

Except in one case, all courses offered at Reinhardt University fulfill a requirement for a diploma, certificate or degree.  The one exception is ENG 497 -  MFA Special Topics, [26] a non-degree course for MFA participants who enroll for enrichment purposes but not for the MFA degree. This course cannot be used towards a degree. However, it can be defended on grounds of academic relevancy: ENG 497 encourages community members to attend the public readings by nationally recognized authors, to participate in the workshops and to have their creative work evaluated by a professional author.

Otherwise, Reinhardt does not offer courses that do not fulfill a degree requirement.

Conclusion

Throughout its traditional undergraduate programs, its distance education programs, and its graduate programs, Reinhardt’s curricula are directly related and appropriate to the purposes and goals of the institution—as defined by the University’s mission, Strategic Plan, and Purposes of Graduate study—and to the degrees awarded.

 

Supporting Documents

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

[2] Reinhardt University History, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Catalog 2016-2017, p. 7-8

[3] Reinhardt University Strategic Plan, April 2017

[4] General Education Student Learning Outcomes, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Catalog 2016-2017, p. 8-9

[5] General Education Curriculum, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Catalog 2016-2017, pp. 56-58

[6] General Education Core Options, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Catalog 2016-2017, pp. 59-62

[7] Professional programs General Education Curriculum

[8] Definition of Associate degrees, Reinhardt University Undergraduate Catalog 2016-2017, p.8

[9] Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC) approval of Reinhardt’s  Education programs, 2010 and 2009

[10] NASM Commission Action Reports, 2012

[11] Cyber Security proposal

[12] President’s market research:  New Programs Demand and Assessment by STAMATS, 2015

[13] Program review:  Communication and Media Studies (CMS)

[14] CMS Program changes, spring 2017

[15] OML to MBA statistics

[16] Program review:  Organizational Management and Leadership (OML)

[17] B.B.A. Program Proposal

[18] 2011 BHA Prospectus

[19] Purposes of Graduate Study, Reinhardt University Graduate Catalog 2016-2017, p. 7

[20] MBA Learning Outcomes, Reinhardt University Graduate Catalog 2016-2017, p. 33

[21] MBA degree requirements, Reinhardt University Graduate Catalog 2016-2017, p. 34

[22] MPA degree requirements, Reinhardt University Graduate Catalog 2016-2017, pp. 55-61

[23] MAT degree requirements, Reinhardt University Graduate Catalog 2016-2017, pp. 35-40

[24] MFA Creative Writing Proposal 2015

[25] MPA 611 – Applied Statistics proposal 2015

[26] ENG 497 course description, Reinhardt University Graduate Catalog 2016-2017, p. 68