Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) Philosophy
The purpose of the Tennessee Board of Regents’ general education core is to ensure that college students have the broad knowledge and skills to become lifelong learners in a global community that will continue to change. Because courses in general education should emphasize breadth, they should not be reduced in design to the skills, techniques, or procedures associated with a specific occupation or profession. As a fundamental element of the baccalaureate degree, essential for full completion of all majors and minors, the general education core is included in lower-division courses, but universities may add general education courses at the upper-division level as well.
General education provides critical thinking skills for analysis to continue to seek truths, to discover answers to questions, and to solve problems. Specifically, educated people practice and are literate in the various methods of communication. They recognize their place in the history, culture, and diverse heritages of Tennessee, the United States, and the world. They appreciate the web of commonality of all humans in a multicultural world and are prepared for the responsibilities of an engaged citizenship. They recognize the ethical demands of our common lives. They demonstrate the skills and knowledge of the social and behavioral sciences to analyze their contemporary world. They are familiar with the history and aesthetics of the fine arts. They understand and practice the scientific and mathematical view of the world.
Finally, Tennessee’s general education core provides for its citizens the means to make a better living. It also, perhaps above all, enables its citizens to make a better life.
The General Education Program is at the core of Middle Tennessee State University’s educational mission. It provides students with a broad knowledge and appreciation of the arts and sciences as well as the intellectual skills that provide a basis for effective communication, problem solving, and evaluation. The General Education experience gives students the opportunity to use various technologies to access and analyze information and to debate competing claims of evidence and systems of thought.
The program assists students in developing an objective view and understanding of the world, its institutions, and themselves by linking the cultural legacy of the past with the technological demands and global concerns of the contemporary world. Finally, it creates in students an awareness of the diverse nature of the world while encouraging them to become active lifelong learners and participants in society.
Program Goals and Accountability
To increase accountability and maintain integrity of the General Education Program, each component course will undergo periodic evaluation to determine the degree to which the course contributes to the mission of the program. Continuous monitoring of the program will allow systematic change based upon student achievement that is relevant to the program mission. The program will foster in students the ability to think independently and critically; analyze and evaluate beliefs and attitudes, data and ideas, issues and values; gather information through various methods of inquiry; integrate and synthesize new ideas and information; communicate verbally, quantitatively, and artistically in a variety of contexts and media; weigh options and make decisions based on rational, ethical, moral, and aesthetic considerations; integrate acquired knowledge and personal experience with historical, cultural, and contemporary perspectives in a changing and diverse society; and recognize the significance of personal well-being and understand the roles, problems, and concerns of an engaged citizen.
General Education Requirements
MTSU administers the California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST) to graduating seniors each semester to measure performance in relation to General Education objectives. The test results are utilized by academic departments, the Committee on Admissions and Standards, the Committee on General Education, and academic administrators in an ongoing evaluation of the General Education Program. Listed below are the requirements in General Education which all candidates for baccalaureate degrees must meet regardless of the department or college in which they are pursuing a major. If mitigating circumstances require a substitution for any specific course listed, such a substitution must have the approval of the academic dean of the college in which the student is pursuing a major.
All full-time, degree-seeking students should be enrolled in the appropriate General Education English course and either 6 hours in General Education or 3 hours in General Education and 3 hours in their major until they have satisfied the University General Education requirements.
For additional information, go to www.mtsu.edu/gen_ed/.
Some students are not eligible to enroll in certain General Education courses until they fulfill prescribed course requirements; see University Studies for more information. Some students are eligible for advanced standing credit to meet certain General Education requirements; see the Advanced Standing section for more information. Some majors may recommend or require specific General Education courses. Please consult your college or faculty advisor for General Education planning.
Communication (9 semester hours)
The goal of the Communication requirement is to enhance the effective use of the English language essential to students’ success in school and in the world by way of learning to read and listen critically and to write and speak thoughtfully, clearly, coherently, and persuasively.
Learning Outcomes: Students will demonstrate the ability to analyze and evaluate oral and/or written expression by listening and reading critically for elements that reflect an awareness of situation, audience, purpose, and diverse points of view; distill a primary purpose into a single, compelling statement and order and develop major points in a reasonable and convincing manner based on that purpose; develop appropriate rhetorical patterns (i.e., narration, example, process, comparison/contrast, classification, cause/effect, definition, argumentation) and other special functions (i.e., analysis or research), while demonstrating writing and/or speaking skills from process to product; understand that the writing and/or speaking processes include procedures such as planning, organizing, composing, revising, and editing; make written and/or oral presentations employing correct diction, syntax, usage, grammar, and mechanics; manage and coordinate basic information gathered from multiple sources for the purposes of problem solving and decision making; recognize the use of evidence, analysis, and persuasive strategies, including basic distinctions among opinions, facts, and inferences.
A minimum grade of C- is required in ENGL 1010 and ENGL 1020 to apply toward degree requirements.
Humanities and/or Fine Arts (9 semester hours)
The goal of the Humanities and/or Fine Arts requirement is to enhance the understanding of students who, as citizens and educated members of their communities, need to know and appreciate their own human cultural heritage and its development in a historical and global context. Also, through study of Humanities and/or Fine Arts, students will develop an understanding, which they otherwise would not have, of the present as informed by the past.
Learning Outcomes: Students will demonstrate the ability to analyze significant primary texts and works of art, ancient, pre-modern, and modern, as forms of cultural and creative expression; explain the ways in which humanistic and/or artistic expression throughout the ages expresses the culture and values of its time and place; explore global/cultural diversity; frame a comparative context through which they can critically assess the ideas, forces, and values that have created the modern world; recognize the ways in which both change and continuity have affected human history; and practice the critical and analytical methodologies of the Humanities and/or Fine Arts.
Note: One course must be in literature; in order to ensure breadth of knowledge, the two other courses selected must have different rubric (course) prefixes. All three courses must have different rubric (course) prefixes.
A. The 3-hour literature requirement is to be met with one of the following:
Note: The 2000-level English courses may not be taken simultaneously with the 1000-level composition courses.
B. Excluding the literature choice in part A above, students should choose two of the following courses with different rubric (course) prefixes to meet the remaining 6-hour requirement in this area:
Social/Behavioral Sciences (6 semester hours)
The goal of the Social/Behavioral Sciences requirement is (a) to develop in the student an understanding of self and the world by examining the content and processes used by social and behavioral sciences to discover, describe, explain, and predict human behavior and social systems; (b) to enhance knowledge of social and cultural institutions and the values of this society and other societies and cultures in the world; and (c) to understand the interdependent nature of the individual, family, and society in shaping human behavior and determining quality of life.
Learning Outcomes: Students will demonstrate the ability to recognize, describe, and explain social institutions, structures, and processes and the complexities of a global culture and diverse society; think critically about how individuals are influenced by political, geographic, economic, cultural, and family institutions in their own and other diverse cultures and explain how one’s own belief system may differ from others; explore the relationship between the individual and society as it affects the personal behavior, social development, and quality of life of the individual, the family, and the community; examine the impact of behavioral and social scientific research on major contemporary issues and their disciplines’ effects on individuals and society; using the most appropriate principles, methods, and technologies, perceptively and objectively gather, analyze, and present social and behavioral science research data, draw logical conclusions, and apply those conclusions to one’s life and society; take ethical stands based on appropriate research in the social and behavioral sciences; and analyze and communicate the values and processes that are used to formulate theories regarding the social context of individual human behavior in the social and behavioral sciences.
Note: The two courses selected must have different rubric (course) prefixes.
Natural Sciences (8 semester hours)
Issues in today’s world require scientific information and a scientific approach to informed decision making. Therefore, the goal of the Natural Sciences requirement is to guide students toward becoming scientifically literate. This scientific understanding gained in these courses enhances students’ ability to define and solve problems, reason with an open mind, think critically and creatively, suspend judgment, and make decisions that may have local or global significance.
Learning Outcomes: Students will demonstrate the ability to conduct an experiment, collect and analyze data, and interpret results in a laboratory setting; analyze, evaluate, and test a scientific hypothesis; use basic scientific language and processes and be able to distinguish between scientific and non-scientific explanations; identify unifying principles and repeatable patterns in nature and the values of natural diversity and apply them to problems or issues of a scientific nature; and analyze and discuss the impact of scientific discovery on human thought and behavior.
NOTE: Two different nonsequential courses must be selected for natural science credit having different rubric (course) prefixes; at most only the first semester of any two-semester, discipline-specific sequence may count for General Education natural science credit.
Lecture and Lab = 4 hours
Mathematics (3 semester hours)
The goal of mathematics is to expand students’ understanding of mathematics beyond the entry-level requirements for college and to extend their knowledge of mathematics through relevant mathematical modeling with applications, problem solving, critical thinking skills, and the use of appropriate technologies.
Learning Outcomes: Students will demonstrate the ability to build on (not replicate) the competencies gained through the study of two years of high school algebra and one year of high school geometry; use mathematics to solve problems and determine if the solutions are reasonable; use mathematics to model real-world behaviors and apply mathematical concepts to the solution of real-life problems; make meaningful connections between mathematics and other disciplines; use technology for mathematical reasoning and problem solving; and apply mathematical and/or basic statistical reasoning to analyze data and graphs.
NOTE: 4-semester-hour courses are calculated as 3 hours for General Education and 1 hour in the major area.
History (6 semester hours)
The goal of the History requirement is to develop in students an understanding of the present that is informed by an awareness of past heritages, including the complex and interdependent relationships between cultures and societies.
Learning Outcomes: Students will demonstrate the ability to analyze historical facts and interpretations; analyze and compare political, geographic, economic, social, cultural, religious, and intellectual institutions, structures, and processes across a range of historical periods and cultures; recognize and articulate the diversity of human experience across a range of historical periods and the complexities of a global culture and society; draw on historical perspective to evaluate contemporary problems/issues; and analyze the contributions of past cultures/societies to the contemporary world.