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Virginia Community College System Policy Manual

Section 5.0.2 General Education

As of January 2019, the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) revised their Policy Manual, including Section 5 (Educational Programs). Provided is the excerpt regarding General Education (Section 5.0.2) and the Core Competencies set by VCCS:

5.0.2.0 Associate degree programs provide a coherent, shared experience for students to develop the general education core competencies expected of them as college-educated individuals. General education, as an integrated and cohesive whole, provides the educational foundation necessary to promote intellectual and personal development. Upon completion of the associate degree, graduates of Virginia's Community Colleges will demonstrate competency in student learning outcomes (SLOs) determined and assessed by each college in 1) civic engagement, 2) critical thinking, 3) professional readiness, 4) quantitative literacy, 5) scientific literacy, and 6) written communication. 

Collectively, these general education core competencies distinguish graduates of Virginia's Community Colleges as individuals with a breadth of knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to pursue further education and their careers, continue to develop as learners, and contribute to the well-being of their communities. The six competencies are defined in policy with aspirational statements of learning goals for graduates. Each community college will determine and assess specific learning outcomes based on the definitions and aspirational statements. 

5.0.2.1 The associate degree programs within the Virginia's Community College System 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.

Civic Engagement is the ability to contribute to the civic life and well-being of local, national, and global communities as both as 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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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 us the scientific method, and to evaluate empirical information. 

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. 

5.0.2.2 Each college with the Virginia Community College System will be responsible for identifying appropriate learning outcomes relative to each of the six general education core competencies defined above, and for assessing those outcomes in accordance with SACSCOC accreditation standards and SCHEV policy. 

Access the complete Policy Manual.

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