Section 4: Federal Requirements
The institution maintains a curriculum that is directly related and appropriate to the purpose and goals of the institution and the diplomas, certificates or degrees awarded.
Western Texas College offers courses, degrees, and certificates that are directly related to the mission of the college. The mission statement for Western Texas College presents a comprehensive approach to serving both the needs of the local community it represents, and the larger worldwide community of learners. The college is situated in a state-designated 9,000-square-mile service area comprised of 10 counties with a total population of fewer than 90,000 persons. Thus, its geographical location challenges the college to provide quality learning opportunities through a variety of methods.
The college’s mission statement states that “Western Texas College is a comprehensive community college which provides open access and equal educational opportunity as it supports the lifelong needs of a multicultural society. The College is committed to educational excellence as it challenges students to reach their full potential in the following:
- Developing critical thinking skills,
- Communication proficiency,
- Appreciation of arts and culture,
- An understanding of their role and responsibilities in a democratic society.”
In addition, the mission statement provides that the college will provide “pre-professional and general education courses leading to the Associate of Arts degree and/or transfer to four-year colleges and universities, . . . technical-vocational programs leading to certification or the Associate of Applied Science degree, and preparation of individuals for careers in the business, industrial, and professional communities, [and] . . . a program of distance learning instruction which is equivalent in quality to main-campus instruction.”
These philosophical goals and purposes are supported by a core curriculum that addresses the various needs of all students in occupational, academic, pre-professional, and adult learning programs of study. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) establishes guidelines and requirements for colleges to establish approved core curricula. These guidelines are included in a document titled “Core Curriculum: Assumptions and Defining Characteristics,” which is included in the appendix to the Lower Division Academic Course Guide Manual, pp. 163 – 171. In it, the THECB states guidelines for core curricula, characteristics of basic intellectual competencies in core curricula, and the learning outcomes expected for specific disciplinary areas. Western Texas College carefully observes these THECB guidelines in its core curriculum.
The Associate of Arts and the Associate of Arts in Teaching degrees at Western Texas College require completion of 62 semester hours of credit, which includes 46 hours of core requirements taken from 9 institutionally-designated areas including the following:
- English composition
- Natural sciences
- Visual/performing arts
- Behavioral sciences
- Computer science
- Health and physical education.
The core curriculum requires that students demonstrate the intellectual competencies of reading, writing, speaking, listening, critical thinking, and computer literacy—all of which are supported by the college’s mission statement.
The Higher Education Coordinating Board also establishes requirements for workforce education programs in its Guidelines for Instructional Programs in Workforce Education, Chapter 3. The Associate of Applied Science degrees at Western Texas College comply with these requirements. Each A.A.S degree requires a 15-hour core of general education courses. These requirements are listed in the 2006-2007 College Catalog. Specific and detailed departmental requirements for all WTC Associate of Applied Science degrees are also listed in the College Catalog, pp. 91 – 117.
Evidence of Support:
Western Texas College Mission Statement
Lower Division Academic Course Guide Manual
Guidelines for Instructional Programs in Workforce Education
2006-2007 College Catalog
Western Texas College Service Area Map