Section 2: SACS Core Requirement
The institution offers one or more degree programs based on at least 60 semester credit hours or the equivalent at the associate level; at least 120 semester credit hours or the equivalent at the baccalaureate level; or at least 30 semester credit hours or the equivalent at the post-baccalaureate, graduate, or professional level. If an institution uses a unit other than semester credit hours, it provides an explanation for the equivalency. The institution also provides a justification if it allows for fewer than the required number of semester credit hours or its equivalent unit for a degree. (Program Length)
Western Texas College awards the Associate of Arts degree, the Associate of Arts degree in Teaching, the Associate of Applied Science degree, and Certificates of Completion.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), as authorized by the Texas Education Code, defines each of these degrees in its Rules and Regulations, Chapter 4, §4.3, and WTC is required to adhere to these definitions in its programs.
The Associate of Arts and the Associate of Arts in Teaching degrees are described in Chapter 9, §9.183 of the THECB Rules and Regulations. The curricula leading to an Associate of Arts degree are designed for students who plan to transfer to a four-year college or university. Degree plans are required for each student but are only a suggested pathway to assist students in their preparation for some of the most common baccalaureate programs.
The Associate of Arts in Teaching degree meets the Field of Study requirements approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. As defined in §9.183 of the THECB Rules and Regulations, the “associate of arts in teaching (AAT) is a specialized academic associate degree program designed to transfer in its entirety to a baccalaureate program that leads to initial Texas teacher certification.”
To receive the Associate of Arts or the Associate of Arts in Teaching degrees, a student must complete a minimum of 62 semester hours of credit, including 46 hours of core curriculum courses. The content of the core curriculum is based upon guidelines established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and published in the Lower-Division Academic Course Guide Manual. The WTC core curriculum, which is listed in the Western Texas College Catalog 2006-2007, and described in detail in the reviews of Comprehensive Standard 3.5.1 and Federal Requirement 4.2, includes courses in the following areas: communication, mathematics, natural sciences, humanities and/or visual and performing arts, social and behavioral sciences, computer science (a locally designated option), and health/physical education.
Students seeking an Associate of Arts degree must also meet specific degree requirements, including (a) completion of a minimum of 16 hours in residence prior to graduation, (b) completion of the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) requirements, (c) earning at least a 2.0 grade point average, and (d) submission of an application to graduate.
Degree programs in workforce education have been approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in accordance with requirements set forth in Chapter 5 of the Guidelines for Instructional Programs in Workforce Education (GIPWE). The College offers six approved workforce education programs in which a student can earn the Associate of Applied Science degree. These programs include the following:
- Early Childhood Education
- Business Technology
- Criminal Justice
- Emergency Medical Services
- Golf Course and Landscape Technology
The Associate of Applied Science degree requires the student to complete 62-64 semester credit hours (depending upon the program), a minimum of 15 semester credit hours in a major field, and at least 15 semester credit hours in general education from the designated core curriculum. This requirement specifies that the student complete at least one course from each of the following areas: humanities and visual and performing arts, social and behavioral sciences, and mathematics/natural sciences. In addition, the student must complete the Texas Success Initiative requirements, earn at least a 2.0 grade point average, and complete a minimum of 16 hours in residence prior to graduation.
Western Texas College provides six certificate programs including Early Childhood Education, Business Technology-Information Management Specialist, Emergency Medical Services, Licensed Vocational Nursing, Golf Course and Landscape Technology, and Welding.
Four certificate programs are offered at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Prison Units located in Colorado City (John Wallace Unit), Lamesa (Preston Smith Unit) and Snyder (Price Daniel Unit). Those programs include Computer Maintenance Technology (Price Daniel), Heating and Refrigeration (John Wallace), Nursery-Landscape Management, and Advanced Nursery-Landscape Management (Price Daniel, John Wallace, and Preston Smith). Depending on the certificate program, the student must complete a prescribed curriculum of 15 to 30 hours in order to earn the certificate of completion, make a minimum grade point average of 2.0 in courses to be applied to the certificate, and in select programs, complete the Texas Success Initiative requirements. The catalog indicates the sequence of courses that must be completed for each certificate program.
A more thorough description of these policies and procedures is available in the review of Comprehensive Standard 3.4.1.
Evidence of Support:
Guidelines for Instructional Programs in Workforce Education
Lower-Division Academic Course Guide Manual
THECB Rules Chapter 9, §9.183
Western Texas College Catalog 2006-2007
Texas Success Initiative