2.7.2 Program Content

The institution offers degree programs that embody a coherent course of study that is compatible with its stated mission and is based upon fields of study appropriate to higher education.

 

JUDGMENT: Compliant

STATEMENT OF RATIONALE FOR JUDGMENT OF COMPLIANCE

Southwest Texas Junior College (SWTJC) offers degree programs, whether delivered through face-to-face instruction or through distance education technology, that embody a coherent course of study that is compatible with its stated mission and is based upon fields of study appropriate to higher education.

 

Compatible with Mission Statement

The mission of Southwest Texas Junior College is as follows:

Southwest Texas Junior College is a comprehensive, public college serving eleven counties in Southwest Texas. The College provides accessible, affordable, high-quality education that prepares students to successfully transfer to senior colleges and universities; enter the job market; pursue their professional and personal goals; and contribute to the economic growth of the region.

Southwest Texas Junior College’s mission statement reflects the statutory Role and Mission of Texas public two-year colleges, which is provided in Title 3 of the Texas Education Code and includes: “Texas public junior colleges shall be two-year institutions primarily serving their local taxing districts and service areas in Texas and offering vocational, technical, and academic courses for certification or associate degrees.”

 

In support of its mission, SWTJC offers the Associate of Arts, the Associate of Science, the Associate of Arts Teaching, a number of Associate of Applied Science degrees, as well as a number of Certificates. All degree and certificate programs are approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB).

To be awarded the Associate of Arts, the Associate of Arts Teaching or the Associate of Science degree, a student is required to complete 60 semester credit hours, 42 hours of which are chosen from the College’s General Education Core Curriculum. SWTJC policy EFAA (Legal) includes the Legislative and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board definitions, policies, and guidelines that were used to shape the College’s General Education Core Curriculum. By State statute and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Policy, a student completing the 42-hour Core curriculum at a Texas public institution of higher education can transfer the entire block of courses to any other Texas public college or university toward fulfillment of its Core requirements. To complete transfer degree requirements at SWTJC, the student completes 18 semester hours of electives, which are chosen with the assistance of an academic advisor and tied to the student’s interests and transfer intent.

Southwest Texas Junior College offers a large number of Technical/Vocational programs leading to either Certificates or to an Associate of Applied Science Degree. While these programs are designed to provide students with education and experiences that lead to employment, some SWTJC Associate of Applied Science degrees are taken in transfer by specific Texas senior colleges via transfer articulation agreements. To earn an Associate of Applied Science degree, a student must successfully complete 60 semester credit hours; fifteen of those hours must be chosen from general education courses.

 

Appropriate to Higher Education

All transferable courses taught at SWTJC are described in the Texas Lower Division Academic Course Guide Manual (ACGM). This document is compiled and approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. It lists all courses which SWTJC, as a public two-year community college, is authorized to offer; it lists all required course pre-requisites and foundational student learning outcomes. SWTJC adheres to standards provided under the authority of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and described in Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Rule 9.183 and in TAC Rule 9.73 for the development of its degree programs.

SWTJC develops all Technical courses and programs according to the Guidelines for Instructional Programs in Workforce Education (GIPWE). This document, provided by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, describes State guidelines, including program elements, general institutional and personnel requirements, the new program approval process, and components of program revision applications. All technical/vocational courses which SWTJC is eligible to offer are listed and described in the Texas Workforce Education Course Manual (WECM). This Manual is developed and approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for all State colleges. Course descriptions include pre-requisites as well as basic learning outcomes.

All academic and technical degree programs at SWTJC are aligned with post-secondary programs throughout Texas and the United States.

 

Coherent Course of Study

All SWTJC degree and certificate programs¬†are designed to lead students through an increasingly rigorous sequence of courses. When appropriate, course sequences incorporate pre-requisites provided in either the Texas Lower Division Academic Course Guide Manual or the Workforce Education Course Manual. Pre-requisites are clearly stated in the SWTJC Catalog under “Course Descriptions.”

Additionally, the 42-hour General Education provides coherency to programs of study. The Texas Education Code, Section 61.821, defines ‘Core Curriculum’ as “the curriculum in liberal arts, humanities, and sciences and political, social, and cultural history that all undergraduate students of an institution of higher education are required to complete before receiving an academic undergraduate degree.” SWTJC’s State-approved core curriculum comprises courses that reflect consistently the components and values of a liberal education. Furthermore, SWTJC evaluates the core curriculum according to a set of criteria provided by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Students in all core courses will experience assignments and projects intended to challenge and enhance their Critical Thinking and Communication skills. Selected core courses will incorporate projects and assignments intended to enhance particularly students’ quantitative skills, sense of personal responsibility, sense of social responsibility, or teamwork capacities. Students enrolled in multiple core courses will have these core objectives highlighted repeatedly in a given semester.

Program development, including required courses, course sequencing, and core curriculum composition, is reviewed by the SWTJC Curriculum Committee to keep program content relevant, current, and sequenced appropriately. In addition, faculty in each SWTJC technical/vocational program meet annually with an Advisory Committee comprising professionals working locally in the program field. Committee members make general and specific program recommendations to faculty to help them keep program offerings current with employer needs and professional standards.


Evidence

Texas Education Code 130.0011: Public Junior Colleges: Role and Mission
SWTJC Catalog, 2014-2016, p. 107
SWTJC Policy EFAA Legal: Instructional Programs and Courses: Academic Courses
Texas Administrative Code 4.28: Core Curriculum
Texas Education Code 61.821: Definitions
SWTJC Catalog, 2014-2016, pp. 130-184
Transfer Articulation Agreements
SWTJC Catalog, 2014-2016, p. 107
Academic Course Guide Manual
Texas Administrative Code 9.183: Degree Titles, Program Length, and Program Content
Texas Administrative Code 9.73: General Provisions
Guidelines for Instructional Programs in Workforce Education
Workforce Education Course Guide Manual
SWTJC Catalog, 2014-2016, pp. 130-184
SWTJC Catalog, 2014-2016, pp. 186-230
Texas Education Code 61.821: Definitions
SWTJC Program Review Wildlife Management

 

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