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General Education Goals

The associate degree programs offered by Virginia’s Community Colleges support a collegiate experience that meets the general education requirements of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). The following general education core competencies shall be included in the catalog of each college (VCCS Policy
Civic Engagement is the ability to contribute to the civic life and well-being of local, national, and global communities as both a social responsibility and a life-long learning process. Degree graduates will demonstrate the knowledge and civic values necessary to become informed and contributing participants in a democratic society.

  • Identify civic, social, environmental, historical, or economic challenges at local, national, or global levels. Identify forms of governance and leadership both nationally and globally. Give examples of the connections between founding documents of modern governance and national and local issues.
  • Formulate a plan to participate in government, community, and/or campus action. Evaluate the ethical implications of individual, community, and civic actions. Summarize historical knowledge and current issues that are necessary to be an informed, contributing citizen.
  • Present arguments, both for and against, regarding issues or events critical to participating as an informed citizen in a democratic society. Evaluate the outcomes of civic actions undertaken. Describe how diverse opinions, values, perspectives, and life experiences shape and characterize a society or community.

Critical Thinking is the ability to use information, ideas and arguments from relevant perspectives to make sense of complex issues and solve problems. Degree graduates will locate, evaluate, interpret, and combine information to reach well-reasoned conclusions or solutions.

  • Identify and evaluate relevant and diverse points of view. Identify logical fallacies, propaganda techniques, opinions, stereotypes, and assumptions. Identify conclusions based on empirical evidence.
  • Evaluate source materials for rigor, validity and authenticity.
  • Use sources to develop rigorous arguments and analyze problems. Use deductive and inductive reasoning to draw conclusions based on data.

Professional Readiness is the ability to work well with others and display situationally and culturally appropriate demeanor and behavior. Degree graduates will demonstrate skills important for successful transition into the workplace and pursuit of further education.

  • Recognize appropriate workplace and classroom habits, demeanor, and behavior. Identify the qualities of an ethical decision.
  • Collaborate with others on a task to achieve a common goal. Cultivate skills to communicate effectively and professionally.
  • Set goals, and implement a plan for personal, professional, and/or academic achievement.

Quantitative Literacy is the ability to perform accurate calculations, interpret quantitative information, apply and analyze relevant numerical data, and use results to support conclusions. Degree graduates will calculate, interpret, and use numerical and quantitative information in a variety of settings.

  • Distinguish between quantitative and qualitative analysis. Identify numerical information presented in relevant equations, graphs, diagrams, tables, and words.
  • Interpret quantitative information to draw relevant conclusions. Evaluate numerical information for usefulness, accuracy, and significance.
  • Calculate and convey information into relevant equations, graphs, diagrams, tables, and words.

Scientific Literacy is the ability to apply the scientific method and related concepts and principles to make informed decisions and engage with issues related to the natural, physical, and social world. Degree graduates will recognize and know how to use the scientific method, and to evaluate empirical information.

  • Identify the components of scientific inquiry (observation, hypothesis, independent variable, dependent variable, methodology, results, and conclusions) leading to evidence-based knowledge.
  • Design an experiment to test a hypothesis.
  • Conduct an experiment to test a hypothesis, analyze the results, and communicate the findings.

Written Communication is the ability to develop, convey, and exchange ideas in writing, as appropriate to a given context and audience. Degree graduates will express themselves effectively in a variety of written forms.

  • Identify key components of sentence and paragraph structure. Discern the purpose and context of a variety of written communications and their intended audience.
  • Construct sentences, paragraphs, essays, and documents with clear, concise, and appropriate language according to conventional English usage, grammar and mechanics.
  • Use clear, appropriate, and relevant language to convey or support a main idea or hypothesis with evidence.
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