General Education Program
“Bergen Community College recognizes that a general education is composed of two inextricably related components: (1) a set of processes that involves the gathering, interpretation, and presentation of knowledge and (2) a body of knowledge that is common to all well-educated individuals. Although some courses will focus on process activities (e.g., English Composition I and II and Speech Communication) and other courses will focus on presenting a discrete body of knowledge (e.g., courses in the Natural Sciences, Mathematics, the Humanities, the Social Sciences, History), there is a fundamental interaction between the process and content levels of education, which is evident throughout the general education program at Bergen Community College.” (Introduction to the Goals and Objectives of BCC Gen Ed Program, Approved by BCC Senate Feb 3, 1988, Revised summer 2013)
General Education requirements refer to a program of courses that students seeking degrees must take in order for them to be considered well-rounded in their education. In September of 2008, the State of New Jersey enacted the Lampitt Bill which pertains to the transfer of credits from two-year colleges to four-year institutions in New Jersey. This Bill has had an impact on the shaping of the general education at BCC as well as other community colleges in the state.
General education programs have been criticized for requiring students to take widely varied groups of courses that appear to have little or no connection to one another. It appears that there is little or no effort to synthesize and integrate within and across courses and disciplines in the general education program. The general education courses are too often taught as a simplified introduction to a discipline rather than as courses that are part of a program providing a liberal arts foundation (Luckenbill and McCabe, 18).
Bergen Community College recognizes the importance of synthesizing and integrating the information and processes taught in its general education courses. This concern for integration is an integral part of the program and is reflected simultaneously on two separate levels:
- The content and process components of a general education are largely inseparable, and courses will systematically present both levels of knowledge, and
- The content of a general education includes overlapping bodies of knowledge that may be presented in a variety of courses with a variety of foci and a variety of emphases.
Students and faculty will endeavor to recognize and understand the significance of these overlapping substantive areas. In addition, the goals of the general education program at Bergen Community College have been aligned with the LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes (Approved by the Faculty Senate in April 2013).
College general education programs assist students in the development of skills and knowledge that will aid them in their life’s journey. There is no finality to the tasks that are engaged in by college students; they are tasks that were started before entering college and that will be continued throughout the remainder of the individual’s life. Thus, the goals and objectives of the GE Program are steps in a learning process that is a lifetime activity.