The Student Experience
From the application process to your last course and beyond, University College will provide you with an unparalleled learning experience. Discover what's in store for you in the Bachelor of Arts Completion Program...
The Common Learning Experience
Most employers hope to hire and then develop graduates who are well educated in the arts and sciences. Typically, most programs provide a cafeteria of introductory courses and make students meet a set of requirements by filling out a schedule of randomly selected courses. At University College, we believe there can be a better experience.
The Common Learning curriculum includes ten carefully selected courses in five areas where we believe you can sharpen your skills and develop the understanding of essential knowledge that you need for thriving in the information age. These are not 101 courses, but instead a set of interdisciplinary courses for people who have been in the working world and are highly motivated. Interdisciplinary simply means that the perspectives and materials of several disciplines have been brought together in the design of each course. Because all students in the program will take these courses, they will have a common foundational experience so instructors in advanced courses can assume what all students can do. The Common Learning Experience will help you learn how to learn, so that you can go on to learn anything you want or need to know.
The Admission Experience
We want the admission process to be a different kind of experience for you right from the beginning. Whether you eventually enroll in the program or not, we want to provide you with an opportunity to reflect seriously on your educational and career goals, plus your motivation to complete your bachelor's degree.
From the moment you first hear about the program to your enrollment in your first course, we want you to think about where you are going, what you enjoy studying, and whether this program is the right fit for you. You will be asked to write a personal statement about yourself that will help us get acquainted with you; and we will also hold a personal admission consultation with you in person, by phone, or online.
We'd like to know about your educational background, your work experience, and your aspirations. From the ways of learning that work best for you to your support system, knowing about your life is important to us. Determining your values and attitudes, and if this program is a good fit for you, is all part of the process.
There are no "right answers" to these questions−only honest answers! We need the most accurate picture of you that we can gather. We want to give everyone a chance to succeed in this program, but we also want each student in the program to be able to work with other students who are well prepared and highly motivated. While we won't admit everyone, for those we turn away, we hope to provide useful counsel and advice on how to get admitted at some future date. This is why we think of the admission process as an experience−something that will set your life in a new direction, one way or another.
The Degree Completion Experience
The famous philosopher Alfred North Whitehead complained about "inert ideas," that is, "ideas that are merely received into the mind without being utilized, or tested, or thrown into fresh combinations." Our philosophy for this program is well summed up in Whitehead's observation: "Education is the acquisition of the art of the utilization of knowledge." For each course it's necessary to generate thoughtful descriptions of learning outcomes− what the student is going to take away from a course. To achieve these outcomes, instructors select just the right subjects, topics, readings, films, cases, problems, and other materials to be studied. That is why we have assembled a team of subject matter experts, librarians, instructional designers, assessment specialists, and technology-wise instructors to design each course. The traditional "lecture" will be used sparingly and instead, students will be given case studies, problems to solve, situations to resolve, decisions to make, and probing questions to answer. Sometimes students will work alone, crafting a personal position or suggesting their own creative solution to a problem; at other times, students will work in groups to address issues posed to them or will function as teams to pool their talents for more complex projects. In either case, they will be engaged actively in the learning process to learn "the art of the utilization of knowledge." This kind of teaching places special demands on students as well. Preparation is assumed; but students will also need to be eager to participate and willing to take a stand. Above all, they must be open to new ideas and willing to have cherished assumptions challenged.
The Writing Experience
All communication skills are important−reading, writing, speaking, and listening−but excellent writing is usually identified as the key to career advancement because it is closely related to clear thinking and persuasive argument. If you can show that you can analyze and understand complex information, develop strong arguments, and express yourself clearly and concisely in writing, you will stand out and play a major role in your organization. We want to give you the opportunity to learn the kind of writing skills that will help you become an effective writer. In fact, we think this is so important that we expect you to begin your program of study with the Writing Workshop. The Writing Workshop is worth 4 hours of credit and may be retaken any time during the course of study, online or on campus.
The Writing Workshop is specially designed to re-introduce you to skills essential for successful university study as well as workplace writing. We focus on knowledge and skills of expression that bring university study and workplace experience closer together. You'll learn a set of skills that form the basis for how you acquire knowledge and how you develop that knowledge creatively and effectively:
- Reading and interpretation
- Finding an argument and thesis of a text
- Summarizing and paraphrasing
- Grammar, punctuation, and mechanics
- Connections between writing and critical/creative thinking
- Study skills
- Connections between writing and career success
- Email communication
How will all this happen? We want to put in place for you individually, in the Writing Workshop, three important aids to writing well:
1. You will gain a Writing Partner. Writing is a public act. That is, writing is for readers, and you are most likely to improve your writing with feedback from "real" people who read your writing. So at the beginning of the Writing Workshop, you will gain a writing partner, a class member who can work with you on writing assignments through all or part of your degree program if you both agree.
2. You will organize an individual Electronic Portfolio. The Electronic Portfolio allows you to collect samples of your writing for future references, such as work from the Writing Workshop, the Effective Communication course, and your Integrative Project, along with a minimum of two other samples of your best work from other courses. The Portfolio will enable you and your instructors to evaluate your progress, as well as serve as an excellent supplement to your résumé and a resource for job applications.
3. Your instructors will offer individualized written evaluations of your work in all your courses. This begins in the Writing Workshop, where you will set the baseline for your writing achievement. Your writing diagnosis will contain suggestions for improvement and a list of advanced resources that suit your skill level.
Online courses are guided by the same academic objectives sought after in campus-based classes and University College students acquire the equivalent knowledge and skills regardless of delivery medium. To demonstrate comprehension of a subject, students may be asked to write papers, take tests and quizzes, participate in class discussions, build projects, and/or work on a real-life example or case study of a current issue. Online courses at University College follow the same ten-week quarter schedule adhered to by campus-based classes. More specific schedule information is available in your syllabus.
The Experience with Your Major
Your major builds on the Common Learning Experience, but provides a way for you to specialize and pursue your own interests. In most colleges and universities the major is synonymous with studying in an academic discipline, but at University College your major is interdisciplinary; it draws on several disciplines especially useful for exploring the topics in that major. You will become conversant with key knowledge in the arts and sciences disciplines, but it will be packaged in a way that helps you to examine key topics in an interdisciplinary field of study. The chief purpose of the major is to provide opportunities for learning how to draw on various liberal arts disciplines for addressing real world problems of organizations and society.
There are five majors from which to choose:
- Communication Arts
- Global Studies
- Leadership and Organization Studies
- Environmental Studies
- Global Commerce and Transportation
- Information Technology
You may have started on a major in your earlier studies, but those courses that transfer will be treated as electives−you don't need to match any of that work with your new major. Keep in mind that none of these majors provide an industry-specific specialization such as marketing, human resources, or project management. We believe that such specializations are more appropriate at the graduate level, and we hope that you will continue in your studies with us or elsewhere. Each major does provide, however, a slightly different set of skills and knowledge relevant to different aspects of the world of work. Each major contains important opportunities for you to relate your studies to your interests and provides three opportunities for you to design experiences that fit your interests.
- The Independent Study project allows you to follow up on topics of special interest generated in courses.
- The Service Learning project encourages you to craft a personal experience around your interests to provide needed help in some aspect of the community.
- The Integrative Project provides an opportunity to conduct an organization-based study, creative project, or extended essay in any area of interest or on a topic that adds value to your organization.