Troy University
SACS Reaffirmation of Accreditation
2.7.3 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)
 
X Compliance   Partial Compliance   Non-Compliance

Narrative:  

Troy University is in compliance with this Core Requirement.

As part of the integration of the Troy State University system campuses into a single organizational Troy University in 2005, the general education requirements for the University were reviewed and a new general education curriculum was adopted. Prior to the 2005 merger, the separately accredited campuses of Troy-Dothan, Troy-Montgomery and Troy-Troy (including Phenix City and University College) had similar but not identical general education requirements. With the creation of the new general education requirements in 2005, all Troy University students now complete a common set of classes with common student learning outcomes and assessment rubrics. This creation of a new general education curriculum for the University is described in greater detail in a section below.

The Rationale and Notes section of The Resource Manual for the Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement elaborates on these requirements in emphasizing five key principles for general education courses:

  1. That the general education courses are college-level;
  2. That these courses present a breadth of knowledge to promote intellectual inquiry;
  3. That general education be based on a coherent rationale;
  4. That each course or experience be evaluated within the institution’s overall rationale for general education; and
  5. That the general education component constitute a minimum number of semester hours

This section of the report is organized in accordance with the above five key principles.

1. The college-level nature of the general education courses.

Affirming and sustaining the college-level nature of the University’s general education courses is accomplished through two external and two internal mechanisms:

  • The first external mechanism consists in the 1994 legislatively mandated, peer-based oversight by the Alabama Articulation and General Studies Committee (AGSC) of the academic approach, scope, content, and nature of all general studies courses of all public institutions of higher education in the state, including this University. This oversight is meant to ensure the transferability of general studies courses among the participating institutions by validating, through an extensive and rigorous process, the college-level quality of these courses.
  • The second external process consists in the use of two nationally normed tests: the Collegiate Assessment of Academic Productivity (CAAP, Troy campus) and the Measure of Academic Proficiency and Progress (MAPP, all campuses). While the AGSC oversight noted above validates the college-level nature this University’s general studies program vis-à-vis other programs within the state, the CAAP and MAPP validate and assess on a national level the competencies of students who take general studies courses, and thereby provide a national assessment of the college-level nature of the courses that make up the general studies program.
  • The first internal mechanism consists of the very detailed process through which the new general studies program was formed in anticipation of the formal consolidation of Troy University in August 2005. The comprehensive and in-depth nature of this process, which was specifically designed and supervised by the University Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost, is described below.
  • The second internal mechanism lies in the establishment of a University-wide General Studies Committee tasked to review periodically the quality of individual courses and the overall general studies program. This committee is accountable to the Undergraduate Academic Council and, through that council, to the Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost. The Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost is represented on this Committee by the Associate Provost/Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

Collectively these mechanisms, each of which is detailed below, attest to the University’s commitment to maintaining and sustaining the college-level nature of its general studies program and to ensuring that its general education courses are worthy of college-level standing.

Oversight by the Alabama Articulation and General Studies Committee (AGSC)

The AGSC was created in March of 1994 by the Alabama State legislature through ACT 94-202 and is made up of ten legislatively appointed members representing the public institutions of higher education. Its purpose is to develop, implement and maintain a statewide general studies and articulation program that facilitates the transfer of course credit between public institutions of higher education. To achieve these goals, the AGSC broadly defines the approach, nature, scope and content of the courses that make up the four broad disciplinary areas of the general studies curriculum, designated as Areas I-IV respectively: English composition, the humanities/fine arts, the natural sciences and mathematics, and history/social sciences/behavioral sciences. The AGSC also develops guidelines for credit hour distribution of general studies courses across Areas I-IV of the general studies curriculum. Additionally, the AGSC and its various disciplinary committees monitor the balance between these general studies requirements and the specific requirements of certain majors or pre-professional programs that are designated as Area V courses.

Further, the AGSC established General Studies Academic Committees (GSACs) to oversee the quality and standards of general studies courses for 21 specific academic disciplines. The responsibilities of the GSACs include the following: on-going review and recommendation for approval/disapproval of new and revised courses; review of all previously approved courses in the discipline every three years; annual review of discipline-specific guidelines; bi-annual review of the discipline templates (which describe the nature of the four General Studies Academic Areas —written composition, humanities/fine arts, natural sciences/mathematics, and history/social and behavioral sciences—and specify the general studies courses within each of those areas that a student must complete) and development of new templates as necessary; and approval and periodic review of the syllabus of each general studies course. Each of the 21 GSACs consists of a representative from each baccalaureate institution (appointed by that institution’s chief academic officer) that has a major program in the discipline, along with an equal number of representatives from the non-baccalaureate institutions (appointed by the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education). All GSAC members must be qualified to teach in the particular discipline as defined by SACS standards and must be actively teaching in the discipline.

Hence, by virtue of its mission, the AGSC is committed to maintaining the college-level quality of general studies courses throughout Alabama’s public institutions of higher education. The impact on Troy University’s general studies courses is clear: each of these courses is reviewed and ratified by the external, peer-reviewed and legislatively-mandated scrutiny of the AGSC, both with respect to the overall distribution of semester hours across Areas I-IV of general education (i.e., English composition, humanities/fine arts mathematics/biological sciences, and history/social/behavioral sciences), and with respect to the review of each general studies course syllabus in particular. In short, Troy University’s general studies courses must be ratified as acceptable college-level courses through the collective judgment and periodic reviews of the AGSC members, and these courses must be of a level consistent with the general studies courses of other AGSC institutions to ensure their transferability among these institutions. A comparison of Troy University’s general studies requirements with the requirements of regional, non-Alabama universities in academic domains similar to Areas I-IV is contained in Table 3. This chart reveals broad across-the-board consistency between the requirements of Troy University those of other universities outside Alabama with regard to the number of semester hours required in these general studies program areas.

The oversight exercised by the AGSC over the University’s general studies program is also enhanced by the close integration between the AGSC executive office and staff and the University’s physical and academic infrastructures. For example, the AGSC program’s Executive Director and staff members are physically located on the Troy University campus. This proximity facilitates consultation and coordination among the AGSC executive group and its counterparts on the Troy University faculty and staff, such as the Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost, Associate Provost/Dean of Undergraduate Studies, and relevant and faculty/committee members as the need arises. Additionally, the AGSC Executive Director is a member of Troy University’s Academic Steering Committee that serves in an advisory capacity to the Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost and whose members include the following University officials:

  • Deans of all colleges (Arts and Sciences, Business, Communication and Fine Arts, Health and Human Services, Education)
  • Dean of University Libraries
  • University Registrar
  • Campus Vice Chancellors: Dothan, Phenix City, Montgomery
  • Global Campus Vice Chancellor
  • Dean of First Year Studies
  • Associate Provost/Dean of Undergraduate Studies
  • Associate Provost/Dean of the Graduate School
  • Associate Vice Chancellor for Institutional Research, Planning, and Evaluation

Service on the Academic Steering Committee thus allows periodic interaction, both formal and informal, among the AGSC Director and the senior university officials listed above, and it reinforces the already considerable impact of the AGSC on ensuring the college-level quality of Troy University’s general education courses.

The use of nationally normed instruments: the Collegiate Assessment of Academic Productivity (CAAP, Troy campus) and the Measure of Academic Proficiency and Progress (MAPP, all campuses)

Where the AGSC oversight helps validate the quality of Troy University’s general studies program with respect to other programs within Alabama, the CAAP (on the Troy campus) and MAPP (on all campuses) validate and assess on the national level both the college-level nature of the general studies program and the competencies of students who take general studies courses. While the use of these assessment mechanisms will be examined in detail in Comprehensive Standard 3.5.1, it is useful to note here that these tests compare the competencies of students in Troy University’s general studies courses to national norms. Troy University students taking general studies courses, therefore, will be compared nationwide with students from other colleges and universities with respect to in achieving the goals of Troy’s general studies program, i.e., in being effective communicators and critical thinkers who can speak, read, write and compute effectively. Hence, the CAAP and the MAPP together constitute an on-going check on the college-level nature of this University’s general studies courses by measuring the competencies of students who take those courses.

The CAAP is administered on the Troy campus to first-year students in selected general studies courses (e.g., biology, English composition, English literature, and pre-calculus algebra) three times per year (in the fall, spring, and summer semesters). The MAPP is offered on all campuses to rising juniors 18 times per semester, and its completion is a graduation requirement for all students.

The comprehensive and detailed process used to create Troy University’s consolidated General Studies Program

In November 2003, in anticipation of the merger of the three separate Troy State University general studies programs—each of which was an accredited, fully functioning and tested program—into one consolidated program, the Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost named an ad hoc committee of representatives from the General Studies Councils of Troy State University-Montgomery, Troy State University-Dothan, and Troy State University-Troy. This initial and exploratory effort to compare and contrast these separate general studies programs was followed by the Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost's memorandum of Feb. 23, 2004 and associated documents laying out in substantive detail the procedures to be followed in building the new general studies program. Because this memorandum, along with its attachments, was at the heart of the very inclusive and detailed process to review the existing general studies programs and create a single university-wide program, it is provided as a link to this section of the report and its highlights are recapitulated here.

This memorandum was addressed to the committee and council chairs at various levels who were charged with creating a new general studies program, and it spoke explicitly to the necessity for (1) “operating within the guidelines of the Articulation and General Studies Committee,” and (2) “ensuring that we have the very best possible general studies program...as we proceed to the OGU [One Great University].” The Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost’s concern for the overall quality and the need for an inclusive, intensive and systematic review by the University community—and with ensuring the college-level nature of general studies program—is clear in its concluding portions:

The TSU [Troy State University] general studies program comprises one of the most critical elements of a student’s academic experience at this University. The GSP embraces over 40 percent of a student’s entire academic program. Ensuring we have the best possible GSP represents one of our most critical challenges as we proceed to the OGU….I am deeply committed to three facets of this process: first, that the faculties of the various departments, schools, and colleges must participate in this review for both intellectual and organizational integrity; second, that the process must be expeditious; and third, that the review process involves a broad programmatic context that must reach far beyond individual courses or disciplines….In reviewing our general studies program, we are retooling our collective intellectual identity.

The systematic and broadly participatory nature of the entire review process is revealed in the diagram and associated timeline in Attachment 6 of the Provost’s memorandum. A short review of its details here reveals the iterative and inclusive nature of the process, including a variety of checks and balances to ensure that all elements of the University were consulted and participated in the creation of a viable college-level general studies program.

The review process consisted of a series of sequential assessments begun by the ad hoc committee noted above. This review, which entailed a detailed comparison of the three General Studies programs, was followed by analyses by “Review Groups” representing colleges (i.e., Business, Arts & Sciences, Education, Health and Human Services, and Communication and Fine Arts) from across the Troy State University system. The results of these analyses were then evaluated by the full General Studies Councils of Troy State University-Montgomery, Troy State University-Dothan, and Troy State University-Troy. The inputs and recommendations of these councils were further reviewed and summarized by the OGU Steering Committee. The Steering Committee sent its findings back to the Academic Councils of Troy State University-Montgomery, Troy State University-Dothan, and Troy State University-Troy. The findings of these bodies were then reviewed and voted upon by the OGU Transitional Academic Council, returned for further evaluation to the OGU Steering Committee, and then submitted to the Chancellor’s Cabinet. The AGSC Director maintained an early and continual involvement in this process to ensure that appropriate AGSC guidelines were followed. This work of the General Studies review committee resulted in a single General Studies program for all Troy University students at all campuses and locations. This General Studies program was initiated, along with the University’s reviewed and revised undergraduate and graduate degree program curricula with the 2005-06 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs. These curricular changes, including those to the General Studies program, were the result of work done by the Transitional Undergraduate Academic Council and the Transitional Academic Council. Both groups worked for an extended period of time, in advance of the August 2005 merger date to synthesize and standardize the undergraduate and graduate curricula. Their proposals, involving faculty from across the University campuses and sites, were formally adopted by the Transitional Academic Steering Committee in early 2005. Following University approval, these curricular changes, including those of the new General Studies program were approved by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education as part of the University’s consolidation activities which resulted in a single organizational Troy University on August 1, 2005. The Commission on Colleges approved the University’s Substantive Change for this merger in 2006, completing the final approval of the transformation of the Troy State University system with its three different curricula, and three different General Studies programs, into a common General Studies program and common curricula for all undergraduate and graduate majors. Evidence of the activities of the Transitional Undergraduate Academic Council as it worked through this process of standardizing the curricula, including the general studies program, for a single Troy University, is provided for review.

Establishment of a new Troy University-wide General Studies Committee

The creation of a single Troy University in August 2005 brought about the consolidation of the three Troy State University General Studies Councils into one General Studies Committee, creating a second internal mechanism to monitor the college-level quality of its general studies courses. The General Studies Committee, with representatives appointed from across the University, meets periodically throughout the calendar year, with video teleconference capability ensuring the participation of geographically separated members. Each member of the General Studies Committee holds an advanced degree from an accredited college or university and meets the SACS criteria for teaching at the university level. In addition to incorporating members from across the University, the General Studies Committee also includes the Associate Provost/Dean of Undergraduate Studies and the newly appointed Dean of First Year Studies who serve as non-voting advisers to the committee.

Additionally, the General Studies Committee is administratively subordinate to the Undergraduate Academic Council. This Council advises the Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost concerning all phases of the undergraduate academic program, including the general studies program, and specifically on long-range planning, curriculum review, development and revision, and policy decisions. The Council’s agenda is prepared by the Associate Provost/Dean of Undergraduate Studies in consultation with the Chair of the Undergraduate Academic Council for the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost. The Chair of the General Studies Committee sits as a nonvoting member on the Undergraduate Academic Council.

Hence, the General Studies Committee’s broad representation from across the University and its integration in the academic and administrative organization provides a vital infrastructure that helps the University establish and maintain college-level quality for its general studies offerings.

2. These courses present a breadth of knowledge to promote intellectual inquiry.

Troy University’s commitment to courses that “present a breadth of knowledge to promote intellectual inquiry,” as opposed to courses designed to prepare students for a specific profession or academic major, is longstanding. The explicit articulation of a mandatory, common educational experience known as a general education core separate from the more specialized preparation required for an academic major has been part of Troy University’s educational philosophy and experience since 1940. (Documentation is available in the Bulletin of the Troy State Teachers College, Troy, Alabama, Vol. XXVII, No. 1, July, 1940, p. 37 and subsequent University bulletins and catalogs. These documents are available in the Office of the Registrar. Bulletins and catalogs published during the ensuing decades changed the name of the “general education core” to “general education” (1955) and “general education curriculum” (1967). The current “general studies” designation was first used in the 1970-1971 Troy State University Bulletin, p. 88.)

Beginning in 1940, this general education core became a standard feature of the experience of every first and second year student. The general education core was comprised of a series of comprehensive courses and related experiences (Bulletin of the Troy State Teachers College, Troy, Alabama, Vol. XXVII, No. 1, July, 1940, available on request) “planned to produce the sound scholarship and cultural background needed by the student (1) in solving his own personal problems on a sound social basis; and (2) in dealing as a citizen with the community, regional, national, and world problems which confront him in current activities, use of resources, social and economic situations, and changing values.” The general education core constituted 20-30 hours of courses and was, for first-year students, grouped under two major categories. The first category was entitled “Bio-Social Development of the Individual” and included courses in biology, health, psychology, and the social studies (one of whose topics was, interestingly enough, the “origin of national, race, and religious prejudices”). The second category, “The Arts in Individual Development,” included literature, drama, plastic and graphic arts, music, and dance. The sophomore portion of the general education core was comprised of courses grouped under the rubrics of “Man and His Physical Environment” (i.e., geography, environment, and science); “Regional and National Socio-Economic Problems” (incorporating material from economics, politics, psychology, and geography); and “Regional and National Developments in the Arts” (which focused on the interaction of forms with “prevailing industrial, social and economic conditions”).

It is also noteworthy that the general education core was conceptually and administratively distinct from the “professional education core,” whose purpose was to prepare the student with the necessary courses and background needed as a teacher. While earlier catalogs had outlined various standardized courses of instruction for all students seeking teaching degrees, the July 1940 catalog is exceptional in its articulation of a purpose for a general education core for all students and in its separation of this core from the professional education core focused on preparing teachers. This distinction may be seen as the precursor to the current University’s general studies program, particularly in its offering of a common intellectual experience to all its students, regardless of major, location or campus.

This early commitment to a common, broadly based curriculum continues to be the most prominent feature of the current general studies program. As noted above, the AGSC, in consultation with its member institutions, develops the guidelines that the University follows for distribution of general studies courses across Areas I-IV of the general studies curricula (i.e., English composition, the humanities/fine arts, the natural sciences and mathematics, and history/social sciences/behavioral sciences, respectively). To ensure breadth of knowledge in its general studies program and compliance with AGSC guidelines, Troy University allocates semester hours in its general studies courses across these areas as shown in Table 1:

Table 1: Semester Hour Distribution of General Studies Courses Across Academic Areas

Area I: Written Composition

Area II: Humanities / Fine Arts

Area III: Math / Science

Area IV: History / Social & Behavioral Science

Area V: Pre-Professional, Majors & Elective Courses

Total Requirements

6

13

11-12

12

4*

46-47

 

 

 

 

14-18**

60-65

*Includes IS 2241 (or equivalent) and TROY 1101 (or COM 1110 for students conditionally admitted at the Montgomery campus), taken by all students regardless of major

** Includes pre-professional/majors/elective courses that vary by major

A chart showing the distribution of general studies semester hours across each academic major and program for Areas I-IV is provided.

Additionally, students are encouraged to complete 36 semester hours of general studies courses before registering as juniors. A statement to this effect is placed on each student’s academic evaluation and is included in the general studies section of the Troy University Undergraduate Catalog. The purpose of this statement is to encourage students to broaden their intellectual horizons by exposing themselves to areas of knowledge with which they may be unfamiliar but which they might find of interest.

3. General education [should] be based on a coherent rationale.

The rationale for the general studies program rests on the following principles:

  • University mission and institutional goals,
  • Compatibility with Alabama Articulation General Studies Committee (AGSC) guidelines and comparability with regionally accredited universities outside Alabama, and
  • Consistency with the University’s goals for the general studies program.

University Mission and Institutional Goals

The University mission statement affirms “Troy University’s dedicated faculty and staff promote discovery and exploration of knowledge and its application to life-long success through effective teaching, service, creative partnerships, scholarships, and research.” The sixth Institutional Goal of the Troy University mission—“Promote and exploration of knowledge dedicated to life-long learning success”—complements this section of the mission statement and stands as a principal area of institutional development.

This section of the University mission and its sixth institutional goal provide the fundamental rationale for the general studies program. Additionally, the academic breadth of the general studies program, as outlined above, provides a critical foundation for future academic study for each Troy University student, regardless of major. As noted above, exposure to this broad range of disciplines early in students’ university careers stimulates their interest in previously unfamiliar areas and widens their intellectual horizons. Over the longer term, the general studies program seeks to prepare students to become effective communicators and critical thinkers who can speak, read, write and compute effectively—i.e., to develop those attributes, measured by the CAAP (on the Troy campus) and MAPP (on all campuses), that are essential for students who will change professions frequently during their careers and/or who do not find employment in their academic major. Thus, the University regards the scope and diversity of its general studies program as providing students a more fundamental and enduring “shelf life” than that offered by any particular major or technical skill; further, the University regards the organization, composition, and diversity of general studies program as evidence of its commitment to lifelong learning for its graduates.

Compatibility with Alabama Articulation General Studies Committee (AGSC) guidelines and comparability with regionally accredited universities outside Alabama.

More specifically, the rationale of the general studies program rests on its integration with and adherence to the guidelines of the Alabama Articulation General Studies Committee (AGSC). As detailed above, this committee was legislatively created to facilitate the transfer of coursework among all Alabama public colleges and universities. To this end, the AGSC developed and implemented a statewide general studies and articulation program. The organization, content and breadth of Troy University’s general studies program are consistent with the guidelines mandated by the AGSC, which maintains continual monitoring and oversight of the articulation program. As noted above, Troy University hosts the AGSC Executive Director and staff members on the Troy campus in the Adams Administration building, an arrangement that facilitates timely and face-to-face consultations with the Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost, Associate Provost/Dean of Undergraduate Studies, and other faculty members and committees as necessary. Additionally, the AGSC Executive Director is a member of the University’s Academic Steering Committee.

A comparison of Troy University’s general studies requirements with AGSC guidelines and the requirements of other AGSC schools for Areas I-IV reveals this University’s consistency with AGSC’s general studies requirements and with those of similar public higher education institutions in the State:

Table 2: Semester Hour Requirements in General Studies Courses

(Baccalaureate Degrees)

AGSC- Areas I-IV 

Area I

Area II

Area III

Area IV

Total

 AGSC Guidelines

6

12

 11

 12

 41

Troy University

6

13

11-12

12

42-43

Alabama A&M University

6

13

11

12

42

Alabama State University

6

13

11

12

42

Auburn University

6

13

11

12

42

Auburn University-Montgomery

6

13

11

12

42

Jacksonville State University

6

13

11

12

42

University of Alabama

12

18

11

12

53

University of Alabama-Birmingham

6

12

11

12

41

University of Alabama-Huntsville

6

25

11

18

60

University of Montevallo

18

18

11

12

59

University of North Alabama

6

12

11

12

41

University of South Alabama

6

12

11

12

41

University of West Alabama

6

15

15

12

 48

 

Of note here, a comparison of Troy University’s general studies requirements with the requirements of non-Alabama universities in academic domains similar to Areas I-IV also reveals consistency:

Table 3: Semester Hour Requirements in General Studies Courses—Baccalaureate Degrees—Equivalent to AGSC Areas I-IV

Troy University

42-43

Clemson University

37

University of Central Arkansas

47

Georgia Southern University

42

University of North Carolina-Charlotte

37-40

University of Southern Mississippi

40

University of Tennessee-Chattanooga

40-41

University of West Florida

36-37

Valdosta State University

42

The University also goes to substantive lengths to maintain the rationale and integrity of its general studies program for students transferring from a non-AGSC participating institution (i.e., in-state private or out-of-state institutions of higher education) by requiring such students to complete substitution request forms. Students and their academic advisers must complete this form, which requires a justification and rationale for the course substitution and is reviewed and signed by the Chair (or designated representative) of the General Studies Committee and by the Dean of the appropriate college (plus the Dean of the College of Education, if students are preparing for a teaching career). As part of this review, the General Studies Committee representative reviews a course description and a syllabus (if available) if the course was taken from a non-AGSC participating institution (i.e., an in-state private or out-of-state institution of higher education). These forms are also reviewed by the University Records Office and maintained in the student’s file.

In short, procedures are in place help ensure that each Troy University graduate—whether he or she is a transfer or native student, and regardless of major, program, campus, site or location—fulfills the requirements, or certified equivalents, of the University’s general studies program.

Consistency with the University’s goals for the General Studies Program

The rationale for the general studies program also rests on the program’s goals, which are as follows: The general studies program is an interdisciplinary program that educates and empowers students to become effective communicators and critical thinkers. The rationale behind the creation and evolution of these goals is treated in detail in the following section.

4. Each course or experience [should] be evaluated within the institution’s overall rationale for general education.

Following the approval of the new general studies program by the Chancellor’s Cabinet in June 2004, the General Studies Council noted the importance of continuing the effort, begun in academic year 2003-2004, of formulating and articulating goals and objectives for the program that would integrate and provide coherence for the program, serve as a way to measure its effectiveness, and improve its quality in the coming years. In Feb., 2004, the Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost authorized publication of a general studies page on the Troy Web site with a specific area devoted to two versions of the draft goals and objectives. All faculty, staff and students were invited to comment on these goals and objectives. The Web page remained operative until the establishment of a new Troy University General Studies Web page in March, 2005. The Council appointed a committee charged with refining the goals and objectives statement and making an appropriate recommendation to the entire Council.

In Oct., 2004, this committee presented its deliberations and recommended that peer-to-peer feedback would be helpful in determining the final statement. Solicitation of such feedback continued throughout October and November.

The feedback and ensuing discussion among the Council members highlighted the importance of articulating and aligning the program’s goals and objectives with the general studies courses that comprised the new program. Consequently, the Council recommended creation of a matrix to allow the Council to see if, and how, the proposed objectives were being addressed by each existing general studies course. The Council appointed a committee to examine these general studies course syllabi and tentatively identify which objectives were met by each of the courses. The committee completed its work in Jan., 2005.

As part of its recommendations, the committee proposed that the completed matrix be sent to each of the respective departments for input. The Council chair prepared a transmittal memorandum to each of the relevant departments and deans at the Troy, Montgomery, Dothan and University College (now known as Global Campus) components requesting input on the following questions:

  1. Do you agree that the courses address the objectives, as indicated on the matrix?
  2. If so, does the course in question address the objective in a major/significant or a minor/peripheral way?
  3. If so, how is this objective indicated in your syllabi?
  4. Do any of these general studies courses address objectives that are NOT included in the matrix, but which you feel are essential to a robust general studies program? In other words, have we missed any objectives? If so, what are those objectives?

Responses to these questions were received and collated in late Feb., 2005 and presented to the General Studies Council in March. Following a discussion of the inputs, the General Studies Council unanimously approved the following goals:

The general studies program is an interdisciplinary program that educates and empowers students to become:

  • Life-long learners and knowledge seekers
  • Critical thinkers and evidence-based decision makers
  • Informed and ethical participants in democratic and global societies
  • Effective communicators and intelligent consumers of information

The Council further proposed that the above statement should introduce the general studies program portion of the Troy University Undergraduate Catalog. The Council also suggested that the chair should seek the advice of the Associate Provost/Dean of Undergraduate Studies in determining how these goals and objectives should be incorporated into official University policy and strongly recommended that the ensuing process be executed under the purview of the faculty.

As this process moved forward through 2005-2006, and in light of the requirement that each of the goals be measurable, the goals were subsequently examined by the One Great University General Studies Committee, refined, and reduced. In Jan., 2007 the General Studies Committee redrafted the program’s goals as follows: The general studies program is an interdisciplinary program that educates and empowers students to become effective communicators and critical thinkers.

These revised goals were submitted to the Undergraduate Academic Council in April 2007 with the notation and recommendation that outcomes regarding diversity and ethical participation in a democratic society be revised and added at a later date. The Undergraduate Academic Committee approved these revisions in May, and these goals and associated student learning outcomes are examined in Comprehensive Standard 3.5.1.

5. The general education component [should] constitute a minimum number of semester hours.

This guideline mirrors to a lesser extent the statement in Section 2.7.3 of the Principles of Accreditation that the general studies program should comprise “a substantial component of each undergraduate degree...”

The general studies component of the Troy University curriculum constitutes more than one-third of each undergraduate degree program and must be completed by every student, regardless of major. General studies program requirements, including specific course requirements, are published annually in a dedicated section of the Troy University Undergraduate Catalog. Additionally, a description and overview of the general studies program and a link its component courses are available on the Troy University Web site.

As previously noted, the University’s general studies program is divided into five separate areas: English composition, humanities/fine arts, mathematics and sciences, history/social/behavioral sciences, and pre-professional/majors/elective courses. The courses which make up Areas I-IV, along with two courses in Area V (University Orientation—or COM 1110 for students conditionally admitted to the Montgomery campus—and Computer Concepts & Applications or its equivalent), comprise the “core” of the general studies curriculum—i.e., 46-47 semester hours of general studies coursework, or 38% of the 120 semester hours required for graduation by most academic programs.

The remaining Area V courses include pre-professional, majors and elective courses—that is, an additional 14-18 semester hours of courses which are major-specific. When these additional requirements specified by the major are included, the general studies program comprises between 50-53 percent of the 120 semester hours required for graduation by most academic programs. Each academic major and program distributes the semester hours for general studies courses across Areas I-V as shown in the attached chart.

Comprehensive Standard 2.7.3 also stipulates that “For degree completion in associate programs, the [General Education] 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.”

General studies “core” courses in Areas I-V for the baccalaureate degree programs, as previously noted, comprise a minimum of 46 semester hours, exceeding by 16 semester hours the minimum designated. Further, as noted above, these courses are drawn from the disciplines of English composition, the humanities/fine arts; history and the social/behavioral sciences; and the natural sciences and mathematics.

Troy University offers associate degree programs in five areas: business, computer science, general education (Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees), and nursing. The general studies courses required for each of these degrees are drawn from the same disciplines as for the baccalaureate program: English composition, the humanities/fine arts; history and the social/behavioral sciences; and the natural sciences and mathematics. Each of these associate programs requires at least nine semester hours more than the mandated 15 semester hours of general studies courses for degree completion. These requirements, which are listed in the Troy University Undergraduate Catalogue, are apportioned among the AGSC areas as follows:

Table 4: Semester Hour Requirements, General Studies Courses: Associate Degrees

 

Area I

Area II

Area III

Area IV

Area V

Total

Business

6

5*

7

3

4

25

Computer Science

6

5*

7

3

4

25

General Education—AA

6

11*

7

3

4

31

General Education—AS

6

5*

7

3

4

25

Nursing 

3

3

11**

6

1

24

*The Montgomery location currently requires an additional three  semester hours in COM 1110, Effective Communication for conditionally admitted students there

**Includes BIO 3347/L347  as a substitute for BIO 1100/L110, and BIO 3372/L372

Comprehensive Standard 2.7.3 further notes that “The [general education] courses do not narrowly focus on those skills, techniques, and procedures specific to a particular occupation or profession.” The scope and diversity of the general studies program courses are designed to expose students to a range of academic fields and prepare them for any academic major offered by the University. As noted above, the University views the shelf life of its general studies program as substantially broader and more enduring than any particular skills, techniques, or procedures specific to any single occupation or major. Hence, the University prohibits general studies courses from meeting requirements for both the general studies program and a major or minor academic program. Likewise as note above, the University encourages students to complete the bulk of their general studies courses—at least 36 semester hours—before registering as juniors. Finally, the general studies program is designed to emphasize and assess student accomplishment in the areas of effective communication and critical thinking, not in any specific technical skill or procedure.

Troy University has a comprehensive and common general education program which reflects the best practices of its peer institutions and is governed by both external and internal policies and procedures.

Troy University is in compliance with this Core Requirement.

 

Supporting Documentation Location
Academic Steering Committee Minutes for May 4, 2004 http://sacs.troy.edu/reference/02-07-03/ASC-Minutes-05-04-2004.pdf
Alabama Articulation and General Studies Committee (AGSC) http://stars.troy.edu/agsc/agsc.htm
Clemson University http://www.registrar.clemson.edu/publicat/catalog/2007/gened.pdf
Comprehensive Standard 3.5.1 http://sacs.troy.edu/reports/03-05-01.html
Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost's Memorandum of Feb. 23, 2004 and Associated Documents http://sacs.troy.edu/reference/02-07-03/memorandum/
General Studies Matrix http://sacs.troy.edu/reference/02-07-03/GS-Matrix.pdf
General Studies Requirements for Each Major http://sacs.troy.edu/reference/02-03-07/General-Studies-Requirements-for-Each-Major-as-of-3-July-1400.pdf
Georgia Southern University, p. 605 http://www.collegesource.org/displayinfo/catalink.asp?
pid={A31F7494-6D4F-4108-BEA5-D9542CC1B0B0}&
oig={95D44C4B-63E7-41FE-849D-A5A19A8E37DE}&vt=5
General Studies http://www.troy.edu/generalstudies/
Mission Statement http://www.troy.edu/mission.htm
The Resource Manual for the Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement http://www.sacscoc.org/pdf/handbooks/Exhibit%
2031.Resource%20Manual.pdf
Transitional Academic Council Materials https://sacs.troy.edu/reference/02-07-03/tuac-materials/
Troy University: VISION 2010 A Strategic Plan 2005-2010 http://sacs.troy.edu/reference/Vision2010.pdf
Undergraduate Academic Council http://stars.troy.edu/troy_website/uac.html
Undergraduate Catalog, 2008-2009 http://www.troy.edu/catalogs/0809undergrad_pdf/
University of Alabama-Huntsville, pp. 169-171 http://www.uah.edu/main/catalogs/
University of Central Arkansas http://www.uca.edu/ubulletin/02/207.html
University of Montevallo http://www.montevallo.edu/undergrad/acpp.shtm#General_education
University of North Carolina-Charlotte, pp. 33-34 http://www.provost.uncc.edu/Catalogs/2005-2007/2005-2007UndergraduateCatalog.pdf
University of Southern Mississippi, pp. 378, 380. http://www.usm.edu/registrar/bulletins/undergraduate/2007/
Division%20of%20Undergraduate%20Studies.pdf
University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, pp. 62-65. http://www.utc.edu/catalogs/Undergraduate/
UndergraduateCatalog-2007-08.pdf
University of West Alabama http://academicaffairs.uwa.edu/advising/default.asp
#Written%20Composition
University of West Florida http://uwf.edu/catalog/acadgeneral.htm
Valdosta State University http://www.valdosta.edu/catalog/0607/ugrad/documents
/ugrad_089-101.pdf

 

Last Updated: 09/08/2008