PHILOSOPHY OF GENERAL EDUCATION

Southwestern holds that general education should accomplish two major objectives. The first objective is to provide students with knowledge that will help them attain their full potential as informed and responsible members of society. General education courses offer knowledge that enables students to communicate effectively, to explain relationships among societies, to articulate what it is to be human, to develop artistic expression, to analyze the natural world, and to make informed decisions about physical and mental health. The second objective of general education is to equip students with the mental skills they must possess if they are to learn independently. Mental skills such as listening, speaking, writing, computing, analyzing, synthesizing, and deliberating logically will enable students to learn on their own throughout their lives.

Southwestern intends that students who complete general education classes shall possess the knowledge and the mental skills essential if they are to develop their potential as individuals and as citizens. General education requirements are aimed at conveying to students the knowledge that each person is valuable and that communities of people are valuable. They are designed to prepare students to promote their own personal well being and that of society.

A core of general education instruction permeates each of the college’s five degrees (AAS, AGS, AA/OT, AS, ASOT-BUS), offering students many opportunities to acquire the knowledge and mental skills they must possess to become lifelong learners and responsible citizens. The General Student Learning Outcomes (GSLOs) are listed in the first section of the catalog, program/discipline level student learning outcomes are listed in the catalog with each degree/certificate and the course outcomes are listed on the course outlines and course syllabi.  

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Associate of Arts - Oregon Transfer Degree (AA/OT)

The Associate of Arts/Oregon Transfer Degree (AA/OT) is a program of study that community college students can follow to fulfill all their lower division general education requirements for a bachelor's degree at an Oregon University System (OUS) institution. It is an agreement between the Oregon State System of Higher Education and Oregon's community colleges to provide transfer of community college coursework to an OUS institution.

Completion of the AA/OT degree can lead to junior standing, for registration purposes, for any student admitted to a university in the OUS (University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Portland State University, Western Oregon University, Southern Oregon University, Oregon Institute of Technology, and Eastern Oregon University). The AA/OT does not necessarily meet specific institutional, departmental, or major requirements with regard to courses to grade point average. Students may transfer between 108 and 128 community college credits to four-year OUS institutions. Students should plan carefully with the four-year institution to which they plan to transfer in order to meet individual institutional requirements. Students considering transfer to private and out-of-state institutions will find the AA/OT to be excellent preparation for upper division study.  

Upon enrolling at Southwestern, students need to be ready for college-level mathematics, writing and science in order to complete the AA/OT in two years. If students lack the necessary skills, Southwestern offers excellent preparatory courses and tutorial assistance to help them get on track quickly.

OTM Oregon Transfer Module

The OTM allows for institutional recognition of the completion of one-year (full-time equivalent) of General Education coursework. Once awarded, the OTM is recognized by all of the public institutions of post-secondary education in the state.  

The OTM may lead to an Associate of Arts/Oregon Transfer (AA/OT) degree or an Associate of Science/Oregon Transfer - Business (AS/OT-Bus) degree, from a community college, or to a baccalaureate degree from a university. The OTM is neither a certificate nor a degree. After completing the module, students are still obligated to take additional, institution-specific, General Education coursework if they pursue an AA/OT, an AS/OT-BUS, or a baccalaureate degree.  

Any student completing an OTM that conforms to the guidelines below will have met the requirements for the OTM at any Oregon community college or institution in the Oregon University System. Upon transfer, the receiving institution may specify additional course work that is required for a major, for degree requirements, or to make up the difference between the OTM and the institution’s total General Education requirements.  

The OTM includes coursework chosen from the courses approved for the categories below by the institution issuing the credit. In the case of community colleges, these are courses approved for the AA/OT degree; in the case of universities and four-year colleges, they are courses approved for the General Education portion of a baccalaureate degree.

Associate of Science Degree 

The AS degree is designed for students who plan to transfer and complete a Bachelors of Science degree at a four-year institution. The degree requirements allow students more flexibility in course selection, allowing them to focus on their discipline requirements.  

NOTE: Completion of this degree does not guarantee that all lower-division General Education requirements have been met for a baccalaureate degree (i.e., this is not a block transfer degree as is the AA/OT ). In selecting courses for this degree, students are highly encouraged to consult the specific transfer curriculum pages in this catalog, the faculty advisor, and the institution to which they intend to transfer to determine if it is an appropriate choice.

Associate of General Studies Degree 

The purpose of the AGS degree in general studies is to provide students an opportunity to pursue a broad general education during the two years at a community college. It is intended as a flexible program for the student who is not pursuing a specified curriculum in the lower division transfer or career-technical area. The general studies degree may, in addition to including the number of hours in the divisional areas as listed below, include courses in lower division collegiate transfer, occupational education, and career-technical education. Because of the flexibility and broad approach of this degree, a student may find that it may not fulfill all of the requirements of full junior standing when transferred to a four-year institution.

AS Oregon Transfer in Business

Any student who holds the AS/OT-Bus degree that conforms to the following guidelines and who transfers to any institution in the Oregon University System, (University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Portland State University, Western Oregon University, Southern Oregon University, Oregon Institute of Technology and Eastern Oregon University) will have met the lower-division general education requirements of that institution’s baccalaureate degree programs. Students transferring with this degree will have junior standing for registration purposes.

AS Oregon Transfer in Computer Science

Any student having the Associate of Science Oregon Transfer- Computer Science (AS/OT-CS) degree recognized on an official college transcript will have met the lower division general education requirements of baccalaureate degree programs of any institution in the Oregon University System (OUS).  Students transferring under this agreement will have junior status for registration purposes.  Courses, class standing or GPA requirements for specific majors, departments or schools are not necessarily satisfied by an AS/OT-CS degree. 

A Career Pathways Certificate of Completion is an Oregon community college credential comprised of 12-44 credits that are wholly contained in an approved Associate or Applied Science (AAS) Degree/Option or an independent Certificate of Completion (45+ credits).  

For more information on Career Pathways Certificates and Roadmaps, see the Career Pathways website.

Certificate of Completion is awarded for a specific curriculum of fewer than 90 credits and is approved by the State Board of Education. Programs that are at least 45 credits are considered One-Year Certificates of Completion and are eligible for federal financial aid. Programs that are fewer than 45 credits are considered Less Than One-Year Certificates of Completion. These programs are state approved but may not be eligible for federal financial aid.

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