Judgment of Compliance: The College certifies COMPLIANCE.
The general education and degree requirements for Wayne Community College (WCC) educational programs are defined and published annually in the WCC General Catalog, in program brochures, and as individual student degree plans. These degree requirements may also be found online in the WCC Online Catalog as well as in each academic department's area at the WCC website. Program requirements conform to commonly accepted standards and practices of collegiate institutions, are compatible with the college's mission, and are appropriate to higher education. Each associate degree program offered at Wayne Community College complies with the North Carolina Community College System's Curriculum Standards (Link requires internet connection.) and is based on fields of study appropriate to higher education.
In keeping with the North Carolina Community College System curriculum standards, WCC offers associate in applied sciences degrees (AAS) that require a minimum of fifteen semester hours of general education, including six semester hours in English, three hours in humanities/fine arts, three hours in social/behavioral sciences, and three hours in natural sciences/mathematics. Associate of applied science degrees range from 65 to 76 total semester hour credits.
The associate in arts (AA), associate in science (AS), and associate in fine arts (AFA) programs require completion of a minimum of 65 semester hour credits. These degrees are also part of the North Carolina Comprehensive Articulation Agreement (CAA). The CAA addresses the transfer of students between institutions within the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) and the constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina. WCC outlines this agreement for its students in the General Catalog (page 71) and on the WCC website: View the North Carolina Comprehensive Articulation Agreement (Link requires internet connection.). WCC's associate in arts, associate in science, and associate in fine arts degrees meet the standards agreed upon by the NCCCS and the University of North Carolina General Administration (Comprehensive Articulation Agreement for NCCCS Transfer Students [Link requires internet connection.]).
New programs are established in response to local and regional labor market needs and student demand. The local community college first designs and develops the curriculum with input from employers and advisory committee members and then sends an application for approval to the State Board of Community Colleges. The State Board, following a regular curriculum approval process, examines each application and then approves the new program or denies approval. Once the State Board approves a new program, it is the responsibility of the WCC faculty and administration to implement and monitor the program.
Wayne Community College ensures that general education requirements conform to accepted collegiate standards and practices. The general education courses included in the programs of study at WCC are designed to ensure breadth of knowledge and are not narrowly focused on the skills, techniques, and procedures peculiar to a particular occupation or profession. Students from all programs of study take courses in English, humanities, social sciences and math areas. Syllabi samples validate that course outcomes and content in general education courses are broad and not limited to a particular profession. All degree programs contain a minimum of 15 semester hours of general education core courses and include at least one course from each of the following areas: humanities/fine arts, social/behavioral sciences, and natural sciences/mathematics. Degree programs also contain a minimum of six semester hours of English. The courses offered by WCC and identified as general education courses are selected from the NCCCS Common Course Library (CCL) (Link requires internet connection.). These courses are developed and taught based on a course description in the NCCCS CCL.
The standards for general education as well as the major program requirements for WCC programs and those of all other institutions in the NCCCS were developed during the system's 1995 1998 reengineering initiative. Committees of faculty, administrators, and advisors within the appropriate disciplines provided input in these decisions (Reengineering for Student Success) (Link requires internet connection.). Criteria for Curriculum Standards are established by the State Board of Community Colleges and are located in the North Carolina Administrative Code.
In sum, to ensure that major program requirements conform to accepted collegiate standards, WCC employs the following methods for the systematic review of all degree programs:
- All WCC programs conform to accreditation or degree program standards for the discipline, as outlined by the State Board of Community Colleges.
- All associate degree programs meet the NCCCS requirements of a minimum of 64 credit hours.
- All degree programs are evaluated in accord with a published cycle and with procedures mandated by the NCCCS and WCC (Wayne Community College 2005-2010 Strategic Plan Guide). In addition, some of WCC's programs, including Nursing, Dental Hygiene, Dental Assisting, and Cosmetology, are reviewed and approved by various state boards. All programs not represented by an accrediting or licensing agency undergo a periodic external review process through advisory committees and an internal review through the college's Program Review process. Findings from reviews are used to make program improvement through budget and staffing decisions, curriculum refinements, and faculty development activities.
A proposed change in the Public Services area (Criminal Justice) provides a good example of how information from the program review process and advisory committees affect curriculum change and follows the mandated degree program standards and processes outlined by the NCCCS. A review of the 2003-2004 Criminal Justice Program Review and advisory committee minutes indicated that local law enforcement and emergency management agencies supported implementation of a new curriculum, Emergency Preparedness Technology (EPT), to better meet community needs in this area. EPT is a curriculum within the NCCCS Programs of Study. WCC faculty members had to use this standard to develop the local curriculum but could adapt courses to meet local needs. Following those guidelines, a completed package for the EPT program of study was presented to the WCC Curriculum Committee, a standing committee that reviews and recommends program changes. This package included the Emergency Preparedness Standard from NCCCS Curriculum Standards, the WCC proposed program of study and degree plan, and proposed new courses to be added to the WCC Catalog. After approval by the Curriculum Committee, the package was reviewed and accepted by the Curriculum Committee of the WCC Board of Trustees and subsequently approved by the entire WCC Board of Trustees (board minutes). The EPT curriculum was then sent to the NCCCS for State Board review and response. Approval is anticipated and the curriculum will be implemented in the Fall semester 2005. All documents validating this process can be accessed at Emergency Preparedness Technology documents.