Recommended High School Level Background Courses
- *General Math
- *Algebra I
- *Algebra II
* Courses available in the Academic Achievement Center or the
High School Completion Center.
Basic Skills in the Program and on the Job
Challenging reading assignments are typical of courses in this program.
Textbooks, written at the college level, often present abstract concepts and
introduce many technical terms. Twenty- to forty-page reading assignments per
class period are typical. Instructors do not necessarily spend lecture time
explaining the text; rather, they expect students to integrate what they have
read with the supplementary information presented in lectures.
In addition to their
texts, students may use laboratory manuals in their science courses. In many
courses, they may also be required to read related books and articles from
professional journals. Projects involving library research are common, as are
assignments based on current newspaper and news magazine articles.
Students who transfer to
four-year institutions can expect reading assignments of increasing length
and complexity. Reading requirements on the job will vary according to the
nature of the work, ranging from business correspondence and computer
software manuals to professional journals.
View more information on reading skills in the Liberal Arts program.
Strong communication skills are important to success in this program. To
complete an Associate in Arts degree, students must take one speech course: Fundamentals
of Oral Communication (SPC 101) or Interpersonal and Small Group Communication
(SPC 126). Speaking requirements in other courses include oral reports, class
discussions, and group projects. Although not every graduate will engage in
public speaking on the job, nearly every work assignment will require
cooperation with coworkers and many also involve one-to-one interaction with
customers or clients.
Two writing courses are
required for an AA degree: Composition I (ENG 105) and either Composition II
(ENG 106) or Composition II: Technical Writing (ENG 108). Assignments in
these courses include personal narrative, explanatory, and persuasive
writing. Assignments involving research will require standard documentation
of sources. In other classes, writing activities include essay tests,
summaries and analyses of newspaper or journal articles, lab reports, and
research papers. Many assignments require students to apply concepts taught
in class. In the work place, writing responsibilities generally increase as
individuals progress in their professions. Activities may range from business
correspondence to project proposals and case notes.
View more information on language skills in the Liberal Arts program.
A strong general math and algebra background is important for students in
this program. To meet AA degree requirements, students must complete one
college-level math course. Students planning a career with low math
requirements typically take Finite Math (MAT 141), for which one year of high
school algebra is a prerequisite. Those planning a career in a math-based
field such as engineering will take a sequence of courses including
Trigonometry, Precalculus, and Calculus I and II. The first course in the
sequence has two years of high school algebra as a prerequisite, as does
Statistics (MAT 157), which is taken by many students entering the business
and social science fields. In their science coursework, students will apply
basic math and algebra skills such as using metric measurements and applying
formulas. Math skills are also fundamental in interpreting statistical data presented
in professional journal articles.
View more information on math skills in the Liberal Arts program.
Strong study skills are expected of students in this program. Most lecture
courses require a minimum of two hours of study for each hour spent in class;
many science and math classes take three to four hours of study. Students
must take notes from both texts and lectures, integrating the information as
they prepare for tests.
One of the fundamental
goals of a liberal arts education is to refine students' higher level
thinking skills. For instance, sequencing skills are important in coursework
ranging from science labs to history classes. Students often compare and
contrast related items, such as molecular structures, historical periods, and
sociological theories. They must apply abstract concepts to specific cases in
humanities, math, science, and social science courses. Cause-effect thinking
and problem-solving are also central to many subject areas. As they develop
some familiarity with the contents of a discipline, students are expected to
analyze and evaluate the merits of position statements on controversial
issues and to take well-reasoned positions themselves. These skills help them
prepare not only for professional careers but also for responsible
View more information on learning skills in the Liberal Arts program.
Basic familiarity with keyboarding and word processing skills will be helpful
to liberal arts students, as most instructors expect written assignments to
View more information on computer skills in the Liberal Arts program.
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