The undergraduate program is designed to provide students with a substantial, coherenst, and articulated exposure to the broad domains of knowledge.
The Commission encourages a tripartite structure for baccalaureate and academic or transfer associate degree programs: (1) general education requires students to master competencies for independent learning and to develop an awareness of the fundamental areas of knowledge; (2) the major requires students to achieve a knowledge base in a specific area of concentration; and (3) electives provide the opportunity for students to pursue other intellectual interests. The instructional program, as a whole, is based on a clear rationale with the component parts designed to reflect that rationale. Degree and certificate programs are characterized by clarity and order which are discernible in model curricula shown in official publications and are recorded in official student records of actual programs pursued.
Baccalaureate and academic or transfer associate degree programs include a substantial core of general education instruction with identifiable outcomes and require competence in (a) written and oral communication, (b) quantitative reasoning, (c) critical analysis and logical thinking, and (d) literacy in the discourse or technology appropriate to the program of study.
Associate degree programs are designed to prepare students for careers in vocational and technical fields, and for transfer to a senior institution. Accordingly, the educational requirements for these degrees must be carefully determined in order to fulfill their respective purposes.
Programs of study for which applied or specialized associate degrees are granted, or programs of an academic year or more in length for which certificates are granted, contain a recognizable body of instruction in three program-related areas: (1) communication, (2) computation, and (3) human relations described in Policy 2.1 General Education/Related Instruction Requirements.
2.C.1 The institution requires of all its degree and pre-baccalaureate programs a component of general education and/or related instruction that is published in its general catalog in clear and complete terms.
2.C.2 The general education component of the institution’s degree programs is based on a rationale that is clearly articulated and is published in clear and complete terms in the catalog. It provides the criteria by which the relevance of each course to the general education component is evaluated.
2.C.3 The general education program offerings include the humanities and fine arts, the natural sciences, mathematics, and the social sciences. The program may also include courses that focus on the interrelationships between these major fields of study.
2.C.4 The institution’s policies for the transfer and acceptance of credit are clearly articulated. In accepting transfer credits to fulfill degree requirements, the institution ensures that the credits accepted are comparable to its own courses. Where patterns of transfer from other institutions are established, efforts to formulate articulation agreements are demonstrated.
2.C.5 The institution designs and maintains effective academic advising programs to meet student needs for information and advice, and adequately informs and prepares faculty and other personnel responsible for the advising function.
2.C.6 Whenever developmental or remedial work is required for admission to the institution or any of its programs, clear policies govern the procedures that are followed, including such matters as ability to benefit, permissible student load, and granting of credit. When such courses are granted credit, students are informed of the institution’s policy of whether or not the credits apply toward a degree. (See Glossary, Ability to benefit)
2.C.7 The institution’s faculty is adequate for the educational levels offered, including full-time faculty representing each field in which it offers major work.
2.C.8 In an effort to further establish an institution’s success with respect to student achievement, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities shall require those institutions that offer pre-baccalaureate vocational programs to track State licensing examination pass rates, as applicable, and job placement rates.