Austin Community College currently has seven general education competencies: the skills, attitudes and behaviors that characterize the educated person. The competencies are taught in many different courses across the Core Curriculum, reflecting relationships across programs and between classes. As such, they help to shape the experiences of nearly every student.
The competencies are:
- Civic and Cultural Awareness
Analyzing and critiquing competing perspectives in a democratic society; comparing, contrasting, and interpreting differences and commonalities among peoples, ideas, aesthetic traditions, and cultural practices
- Critical Thinking
Gathering, analyzing, synthesizing, evaluating and applying information.
- Personal Responsibility
Identifying and applying ethical principles and practices; demonstrating effective learning, creative thinking, and personal responsibility.
- Interpersonal Skills
Interacting collaboratively to achieve common goals.
- Quantitative and Empirical Reasoning
Applying mathematical, logical and scientific principles and methods.
- Technology Skills
Using appropriate technology to retrieve, manage, analyze, and present information.
- Written, Oral and Visual Communication
Communicating effectively, adapting to purpose, structure, audience, and medium.
Meaningful assessment of these general education competencies serves to promote continuous improvement and helps guide faculty and staff in pursuing strategies to help students to succeed. Every competency should be assessed every year. Moreover, there is an expectation that the assessment data will be used to develop action plans, which will, in turn, be evaluated to determine their impact.
At the same time, there is a critical need to not overburden faculty and department chairs with demands that are overwhelming. As such, the following schedule has been created so as to promote less frequent but more meaningful assessment, while simultaneously meeting the expectations of both SACS and the Coordinating Board. Wherever possible and appropriate, disciplines may address two competencies with one assessment, e.g. a writing assignment that requires critical thinking.
The three years of assessment are labeled, respectively, “1”, “2”, or “3”. Because this schedule will be implemented beginning in the ’13-’14 academic year, that would be “Year 1”. Courses in each component area will assess the stated competency in the designated year if they teach them. For example, in Year 1, courses in:
- Communications assessed Personal Responsibility
- Mathematics assessed Critical Thinking and Quantitative and Empirical Reasoning
- Life & Physical Sciences assessed Personal Responsibility and Interpersonal Skills
- Language, Philosophy, and Culture assessed Civic & Cultural Awareness, Interpersonal Skills, and Technology Skills
- Creative Arts assessed Civic & Cultural Awareness and Technology Skills
- American History assessed Personal Responsibility
- Government/Political Science assessed Critical Thinking and Written, Oral, and Visual Communications
- Social & Behavioral Sciences assessed Technology Skills and Written, Oral, and Visual Communications
- Courses in the Component Area Option that are not also listed under Language, Philosophy, and Culture assessed Critical Thinking and Written, Oral, and Visual Communications
In each case, only those courses in which the designated competency is identified as being addressed will be expected to assess it. So, for example, only those courses in the Humanities that teach Technology Skills will be expected to assess it in Year 3.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has recently adopted new guidelines for the Core Curriculum with which institutions will have to comply by fall 2014. These include requirements that courses in certain component areas address particular competencies. These expectations are included in the accompanying chart. Green boxes are those in which every course in a given component area addresses that competency. Gray boxes are those in which at least half of the courses address that competency. White boxes indicate that relatively few courses in that component area address that competency.
General Education Competencies
Green boxes are those in which every course in a given component area addresses that competency. Gray boxes are those in which at least half of the courses address that competency. White boxes indicate that relatively few courses in that component area address that competency.