General Education at Grand Rapids Community College is comprised of two goals. The first is to expand and deepen our students’ understanding of the intellectual traditions that constitute the liberal arts and sciences. To that end, General Education courses at GRCC combine content knowledge with broadly-applicable academic skills such as critical thinking and communication. The second is to provide students with a set of courses that help meet their educational and career goals. In keeping with this goal, GRCC recognizes the Michigan Transfer Agreement (MTA) and includes General Education coursework in its transfer and workforce Associates degree programs. General Education at GRCC builds knowledge, skills, and attitudes that every college-educated person should possess.
The GRCC General Education Program is comprised of three broad areas: Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and also includes requirements in English Composition. Courses designated as fulfilling general education requirements must satisfy one of these areas.
English Composition and Communications
GRCC defines English Composition as the act of writing effectively for various audiences, purposes, and contexts as well as the study of written discourse. GRCC defines Communications as the study of how people use messages to generate meaning in contexts and situations such as personal and professional settings as well as across cultures and in the media. Writing and speaking occurs in a wide variety of modalities to communicate purpose and meaning to an array of audiences. Students will understand writing and speaking as ways to communicate with specific audiences for specific purposes. As communicators, students will learn to better understand themselves and the world, emerging as effective writers, speakers, listeners, and critical thinkers. The acts of writing and speaking empower students to enter into and engage existing conversations in meaningful, ethical, and informed ways.
In order for a GRCC course to be designated as English Composition and Communication, it must be specifically aligned with at least three of the outcomes listed below.
- Apply effective strategies to analyze and improve written, verbal, or nonverbal communication. (EC1)
- Assess self or peers’ use of effective communication principles and strategies. (EC2)
- Construct papers, projects, or speeches through recursive and reflective practices. (EC3)
- Create written or verbal communication for diverse audiences in various contexts. (EC4)
- Demonstrate the use of research strategies to gather information. (EC5)
- Explain and apply communication theories, principles, or concepts. (EC6)
- Select and integrate relevant sources to enhance writing, thinking, or speaking. (EC7)
GRCC defines Humanities as learning or literature concerned with human culture. A branch of study that deals with how people create the world in which they live, and how the world in which they live influences identity. Humanities is the study of the human condition in all its forms, including human interaction, expression, creativity, ideas, and values.
In order for a GRCC course to be designated as Humanities, it must be specifically aligned with at least four of the outcomes listed below.
- Analyze scholarly and creative artifacts and activities from the past and the present in order to understand the world and himself or herself from different points of view. (H1)
- Articulate and understand the commonalities and differences among human beings from different time periods, cultures, and demographics through the analysis of scholarly and creative artifacts and activities. (H2)
- Articulate and understand the ways in which various categories of human scholarship and creativity both shape and reflect cultural values. (H3)
- Utilize the fundamental language and/or set of concepts associated with the scholarly and creative artifacts and activities being analyzed. (H4)
- Understand the role that various categories of human scholarship and creativity play in inspiring innovation, preserving culture and encouraging empathy for all of humanity. (H5)
GRCC defines Social Sciences as learning and literature concerned with individual and societal relationships. A branch of science that deals with how people manage, interpret, or engage individuals, groups, institutions, societies and cultures. Emphasis is on the factors that influence behaviors, the analysis of societal interaction, and promotion of intellectual curiosity.
In order for a GRCC course to be designated as Social Sciences, it must be specifically aligned with at least four of the outcomes listed below.
- Apply social and human behavioral theory to explore their individual rights and responsibilities as part of a civil society. (SS1)
- Articulate a theoretical perspective guiding the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data used to investigate individual behavior, social phenomena, and/or the operation of societal institutions. (SS2)
- Comprehend how changing social conditions affect the behavior of individuals, the operation of societal institutions, and/or perception of social phenomena. (SS3)
- Identify questions and hypotheses important to understanding social phenomena, individual behavior, and/or the operation of societal institutions. (SS4)
- Use scientific evidence to describe the interplay of genes and the sociocultural context shapes the development of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors within individuals. (SS5)
- Apply social and human behavioral theory to understand alternative interpersonal or cultural perspectives. (SS6)
Natural Science and Mathematics
GRCC defines Natural Science as learning, literature and experimentation concerned with laws of the natural and physical world. Branches of science and mathematics that deal with how people measure, interpret, explain, define, hypothesize, analyze, research, apply, observe, and study the objects, phenomena, or laws of the natural and physical world.
In order for a GRCC course to be designated as Natural Sciences, it must be specifically aligned with at least four of the outcomes listed below.
- Adapt and evaluate processes to find solutions to multi-step or multi-component problems. (NSM1)
- Apply general science or mathematics principles to explain an observed phenomenon or the results of an experiment. (NSM2)
- Develop hypotheses and draw and express conclusions based on mathematical or scientific theory and/or experimentation. (NSM3)
- Discern relevant and irrelevant information when seeking the solutions to problems. (NSM4)
- Use calculation and measurement to solve problems, and use estimation to evaluate if the outcome to the problem is reasonable. (NSM5)
- Use experimentation or practice to experience and deepen understanding of scientific and mathematical theories. (NSM6)
GRCC defines Mathematics as learning mathematical concepts and developing analytical skills to stimulate curiosity, encourage quantitative thinking, and develop mathematical maturity. Students will learn mathematical reasoning and experience some of its application. This mathematical thinking contributes to the students’ development as critical thinkers; and in turn, students understand how mathematical reasoning is a uniquely effective method of describing and analyzing the human experience.
In order for a GRCC course to be designated as Mathematics, it must be specifically aligned with at least three of the outcomes listed below.
- Analyze problems to identify appropriate methods with which to solve problems. (M1)
- Communicate mathematics effectively in oral and/or written form. (M2)
- Discern relevant and irrelevant information to solve problems. (M3)
- Evaluate information presented in verbal, tabular, symbolic, or graphical form. (M4)
- Formulate mathematical models to describe phenomena. (M5)
- Interpret results from quantitative solutions. (M6)
- Relate information across verbal, tabular, symbolic, or graphical forms. (M7)
- Utilize evidence-based writing to support conclusions. (M8)
- Utilize problem-solving strategies and/or techniques to find quantitative solutions. (M9)