General Education Requirements

General Education Distribution Requirements

Certain core subjects and competencies are integral to student success both within the chosen field of study and in fulfilling a responsible role as an educated member of society, regardless of the program or major, the student is pursuing. Rhodes State College balances its technical curricula with General Education and Basic Related courses. To that end, each program and/or degree has established its own particular set of General Education and Basic Related coursework designed to enhance student performance and to ensure a breadth of knowledge. All students earning an associate degree from Rhodes State College must also fulfill a common core of General Education distribution requirements. These distribution requirements mandate that all graduates will complete English Composition and program designated coursework in Mathematics and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Depending upon the student’s major, an additional distribution as identified in either Humanities or Life and Physical Sciences will be required. (See specific program curriculum and/or admission requirements for details.)

The following list enumerates college-designated General Education courses and their discipline groupings. Please consult your advisor for possible additions to this list.

Writing/Communication/Public Speaking
COM 1110 English Composition3
COM 1140Technical Writing3
COM 1200Writing in the Sciences3
COM 1980Research and Writing1
COM 2213Verbal Judo3
COM 2400Composition and Literature3
COM 3110Advanced Composition3
Humanities (Humanities, Literature and Ethics)
COM 1801Creative Writing: Fiction3
COM 2110Public Speaking3
HST 1011Western Civilization I3
HST 1012Western Civilization II3
HST 1610 American History to 18773
HST 1620American History Since 18773
HST 2300Technology and Civilization3
HST 2510History of Latin America3
LIT 1450Introduction to Film3
LIT 2210Introduction to Literature3
LIT 2215Native American Literature3
LIT 2250The American Short Story3
LIT 2260Fantasy Literature3
LIT 2227Literature of Graphic Novels3
LIT 2301British Literature I3
LIT 2305Introduction to Shakespeare3
LIT 2310Literature and the Holocaust3
LIT 2450Themes in Literature and Film3
MUS 1010Music Appreciation I3
PHL 1011Introduction to Philosophy3
THR 1010Introduction to Theatre3
Mathematics (Mathematics)
MTH 1151Quantitative Reasoning3
MTH 1190Finite Mathematics/Business3
MTH 1210Mathematics I3
MTH 1260Statistics3
MTH 1370College Algebra4
MTH 1430Trigonometry3
MTH 1711Calculus I5
MTH 1721Calculus II5
MTH 2660Calculus III4
MTH 2670Differential Equations4
MTH 2680Elementary Linear Algebra4
Social and Behavioral Sciences (Psychology, Sociology, Economics, Geography and Political Science)
PSY 1010 General Psychology3
PSY 1730Abnormal Psychology3
PSY 2150Lifespan Psychology3
PSY 2200Social Psychology3
PSY 2301Educational Psychology3
ECN 1410Macro Economics3
ECN 1430Micro Economics3
SOC 1010 Sociology3
SOC 1200Death and Dying3
SOC 1210Family Sociology3
SOC 1320American Cultural Diversity3
SOC 2300Social Problems3
POL 1010Introduction to Political Science3
ANT 2411Cultural Anthropology3
Life and Physical Sciences (Anatomy, Physiology, Chemistry, Physics and Microbiology)
BIO 1090Concepts in Biology4
BIO 1110Anatomy and Physiology I4
BIO 1120Anatomy and Physiology II4
BIO 1400Microbiology4
BIO 2121Introduction to Human Genetics4
CHM 1110Introductory General Chemistry4
CHM 1120Introductory Organic and Biochemistry4
GLG 1000Physical Geology4
GLG 1004Historical Geology4
PHY 1120Physics I4
PHY 1130Physics II4

Portfolio Course

Basic/Related Courses

Basic related courses are non-technical; however, they are foundational for a specific major and basic to the technical field and closely related to the technical specialty. For example, COM 1170 Police Communications.

Technical Courses

Technical courses are identified as those that teach technical skills, technical proficiency, and the knowledge required for career competency. Generally, technical courses at Rhodes State are taught by technical faculty members and carry a technical prefix. For example, an IT faculty member teaching CPT 1120 Introduction to VB Programming.

Institutional Academic Assessment

(General Education: Core Skills and Abilities)

Rhodes State College fosters the professional and intellectual growth of students and faculty by offering contemporary curricula that are taught by a qualified faculty comprised of lifelong learners who provide a supportive environment intended to develop critical thinking, an appreciation of global diversity, and the capacity for life-long learning. Rhodes State College has implemented an assessment process for measuring student academic achievement; this assessment process is used to identify opportunities for:

  1. improving teaching and learning
  2. aiding student retention
  3. verifying the job preparedness of graduates

It is our belief that we add value and enhance the personal growth of our students, which is essential to changing lives, building futures, and improving communities through education. Therefore, Rhodes State College has chosen five General Education core skills and abilities to be assessed at the course, program and academic institutional level. The General Education core skills and abilities are:

  1. Writing
  2. Global and Diversity Awareness
  3. Critical Thinking
  4. Information Literacy
  5. Computation Skills

The College expects students to demonstrate growth in these five areas and will document the extent of that growth. Our ability to affect growth is realized only through a systematic and on-going process of collecting, sharing, and interpreting data in a cooperative effort. The following are the General Education student learning outcomes:

Core Skills and Abilities


Graduates’ written documents reflect their ability to think critically about a topic; to organize and develop ideas effectively; to present those ideas in an appropriate, mechanically correct, professional style; and to follow a standardized documentation format (when specified by the assignment).

Critical Thinking

Graduates can understand and interpret data, analyze and synthesize information, and draw unbiased, logical conclusions after fairly considering all-important aspects of a situation.

Global and Diversity Awareness

Graduates of Rhodes State College will demonstrate:

  1. Appreciation for others as measured through effective interpersonal and collaborative skills with individuals and groups.
  2. Awareness of the interdependence and interactive effects of such factors as culture, history, sexual orientation, psychological functioning, education, economics, environment, geography, language, politics, age, gender, ethnic heritage, physical challenges, social class, social skills and religion.

Information Literacy

Graduates will “recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” They will also demonstrate the ability to extract appropriate information from hard-copy and electronic media, to manipulate current software and hardware to access and communicate information appropriately and to have a basic understanding of copyright rules and the ethics of extracting, sharing and citing source information. (Association of College Research Libraries, 2006)

Computation Skills

Graduates of Rhodes State College will demonstrate computational skills in the context of solving real-world problems by following some or all of these competencies:

  1. Read and understand the situation to determine a solution strategy.
  2. Set up the problem with the pertinent information.
  3. Solve the problem with the given data using appropriate technology, such as calculators or computers, as needed.
  4. Check the computational results for accuracy and reasonableness.
  5. Communicate or utilize the results.

Assessment of General Education

Rhodes State College has instituted four means to assist with communication and measurement of assessment activities targeting General Education core skills and abilities.

  1. General Education Assessment
    All students are required to demonstrate their abilities in Writing Skills, Critical Thinking, and Mathematics at the end of their academic program. This is accomplished by a required General Education Assessment exam, usually given as part of a capstone course. Scores on this exam, when compared to placement test scores, provide a valuable pre- and post-program snapshot of student growth in these General Education core skills and abilities.
  2. First-Year Experience Course
    New students are required to take the one-credit hour course, SDE 1010 First Year Experience. This is a general college requirement taken as a part of all programs or as a prerequisite to program admission. This course is required for graduation. Delivered in both online and traditional in-class formats, the course contains helpful instruction about study skills, time management, Rhodes State policies and procedures, and assessment protocols. Detailed information about the e-portfolio and capstone course requirements is provided in the assessment discussions. Students will have a clear understanding of assessment activities as they complete the requirements for this course.
  3. E-portfolio
    All students enrolled in designated courses will submit writing samples to Rhodes State’s electronic portfolio database. Six writing assignments are designated for each academic major in the following courses:

    1. SDE 1010 First Year Experience (Global and Diversity Awareness)

    2. COM 1110 English Composition

    3. PSY 1010 General Psychology or SOC 1010 Sociology

    4. a paper written in a course early in the student’s technical program

    5. a paper written in a course late in the student’s technical program

    6. a self-growth essay addressing global and diversity awareness while taking the capstone course experience. The self-growth awareness essay is submitted before the completion of the capstone course and all other portfolio submissions are course assignments. Courses are designated with a pencil symbol.

  4. Capstone Course
    Students petitioning to graduate must successfully pass a capstone course before graduating from Rhodes State College. Completed near the end of the student’s educational program, the course is a culminating experience that works to display an integration of program technical skills with General Education core skills and abilities. Capstone courses have a minimum two credit hour requirement and must contain written, oral, and hands-on components. Individual student completion of the e-portfolio and the General Education Assessment test is completed in the capstone experience. Courses are designated with a graduation cap symbol.

Developmental Education

The “open door” policy at Rhodes State College provides access to students with a wide range of academic preparation, but to prevent its becoming a “revolving door,” a comprehensive and effective developmental program is necessary. Developmental Education is intended to bridge the gap between the performance abilities of some entering students and the minimal performance standards generally expected of students pursuing college-level work, and ultimately of college graduates entering the workplace.

Developmental Education encompasses remedial work in areas where the student’s mastery is insufficient, but it is not limited to that role. In addition, Developmental Education also describes course work designed to provide a broadening foundation of knowledge, learning skills and behaviors essential to the successful progression through higher education and into the workforce. This multi-focal basis of Developmental Education requires a college-wide philosophy of Developmental Education and the articulation of its various goals.


  • Developmental Education must efficiently, but thoroughly, prepare students for additional college experiences.
  • Developmental Education must strive to avoid creating educational dependency, recognizing that the role of education is to enable increased empowerment and independent functioning, a vital characteristic of any professional career path.
  • Developmental Education must challenge students, but should simultaneously seek to produce increased self-confidence and improved attitudes towards learning in them.
  • Developmental Education must focus selectively on providing those discreet pieces of competence explicitly required for success in future courses, which were not attained in previous educational experiences.
  • Developmental Education must facilitate frequent one-to-one interaction between students with varied problems and the course instructor; therefore dictating reasonable class sizes (typically smaller allocations than for corresponding freshman-level courses).
  • Developmental Education is not limited to discipline-specific instruction, but should also concern itself with building and enhancing broader core skills and abilities, such as critical thinking and problem solving, which apply in many disciplines and contexts.