General Education Program: Philosophy, Scope, and the College of the Ozarks Journey
The Triune God who has revealed himself to humanity in the Bible and the created order is the starting point for the College’s General Education Program. Truth, goodness, and beauty exist in him and are reflected in his creation, including human beings who are made in his image. Our sin and rebellion against God marred his image in us and deeply impaired our capacity to perceive and practice these virtues; also, humanity’s fall subjected the earth and all human endeavors to corruption, decay, and death (Romans 8:20-21). God did not abandon his creation; he acted to restore human beings and all creation through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. When we surrender to his Lordship and authority, we are called to embody his kingdom rule in every dimension of our lives and to become visible expressions of his truth, goodness, and beauty in this fallen world. Furthermore, we are empowered to perceive these virtues in the created and human order, to apprehend their value (Philippians 4:8), and to craft works of truth, goodness, and beauty.
The foundation of a college experience is a common group of courses and experiences called the College’s General Education Program, which is required of all students. As the foundation of the College of the Ozarks undergraduate experience, the General Education Program encompasses academic courses, Christian life on campus, the Work Education Program, travel opportunities, convocations and special activities; consequently, the General Education Program integrates the entirety of a student’s education. At College of the Ozarks the General Education Program purposefully unites the students and the College community around the five-fold mission of the College.
- To provide a sound education, based in the liberal arts. (Academic Goal)
- To promote a strong work ethic, encouraging the development of good character and values. (Vocational Goal)
- To foster the Christian faith through the integration of faith with learning, living, and service. (Christian Goal)
- To encourage an understanding of American heritage, civic responsibilities, love of country, and willingness to defend it. (Patriotic Goal)
- To cultivate an appreciation of the fine arts, and understanding of the world, and adherence to high personal standards. (Cultural Goal)
Through this five-fold mission College of the Ozarks seeks to develop citizens of Christ-like character, who are well-educated, hardworking, and patriotic. (Vision Statement)
One of the key distinctions of a Christian institution is its theological foundation. At College of the Ozarks the General Education Program plays a role in the full restoration of students to what it truly means to be a human being created in the image of God. Within the General Education Program, students will be taught to recognize and pursue key virtues in the Christian and Western traditions by faculty and staff who understand a Christian worldview and how it provides the lens for understanding their academic disciplines, work, and life choices.
Through its General Education Program the College seeks to fulfill the following objectives and learning outcomes, which primarily relate to the College’s Academic Goal of providing a sound education, based in the liberal arts:
- Students will understand, recognize the value of, and critically assess the Western liberal arts tradition.
- Students will demonstrate competency in the core subject matter of the General Education curriculum that provides the foundation for future learning and a life of flourishing in God’s creation.
- Students will develop and critically apply a biblically informed Christian worldview to their academic learning.
- Students will show evidence of essential skills and abilities that mark a person as being educated, including:
- the ability to communicate effectively in writing, speaking, and other creative endeavors;
- the ability to think critically in solving problems;
- the ability to gather, evaluate, interpret, and use information.
In order to communicate the goals, emphases, and outline of the General Education Program more effectively, the College has chosen the metaphor of a journey. The destination of students who take this journey is to become citizens of Christ-like character, who are well-educated, hardworking, and patriotic. As they journey toward this destination, their guides - truth, goodness, and beauty - will take them to key observation points that will guide their journey and help make it successful. These observation points include historical and theological foundations, the study of the created order, the study of human creativity and flourishing, essential skills, and patriotic education.
General Education Requirements:
Historical and Theological Foundations (21 credit hours)
Biblical and Theological Studies: 6 credit hours
The Created Order (10-12 credit hours)
Mathematics: 3-5 credit hours
Natural Science: 4 credit hours
- Any Biology BIO, Chemistry CHE, or Physics PHY course in the catalog.
Social Science: 3 credit hours
One of the following: 3 credit hours
Human Creativity and Flourishing (8 credit hours)
Fine Arts: 6 credit hours
One of the following: 3 credit hours
One of the following: 3 credit hours
Physical Education: 2 credit hours
PED Activities elective: 1 credit hour
Patriotic Education (3 credit hours)
Essential Skills (7-10 credit hours)
New Student Orientation: 1 credit hour
Composition: 3 credit hours
Information Management: 0-3 credit hours **
One of the following: 3 credit hours
* Students enrolled in ENG 013 , ENG 103 , or MAT 013 may not drop the course. They will be allowed a maximum of two opportunities to pass these courses and demonstrate the required level of competency.
** A proficiency test may be taken to meet this General Education requirement; however, passing the test will not result in credit for any of the courses. (EXCEPTIONS: Education majors must enroll in EDU 243 and Nursing majors must enroll in CSC 253 and may not complete this requirement by passing the proficiency test).
Total General Education Program: 49-54 Credit Hours
BA/BS Distinctions: 6-8 credit hours
In addition to the above requirements, candidates for the B.S. degree will select one course from two of the following areas (6-8 total hours): Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Science, Mathematics (excludes MAT 013 ), Computer Science (excludes CSC 113 , CSC 123 or CSC 253 ) and/or Agriculture (AGR 103 or AGR 213 or AGH 133 only).
B.A. degree candidates will take two courses in one foreign language (Chinese, Greek, Hebrew or Spanish, as available): 6 hours. SPA 113 , SPA 123 , or SPA 143 may count for only one of these two courses. Students completing one of these courses should then take SPA 153 . Students beginning with SPA 153 should then take SPA 203 ; those beginning with SPA 203 should then take SPA 213 .
Minimum GPA for General Education program, including the BA/BS Distinction, must be 2.0
Required Placement Testing in Math and Writing
College of the Ozarks now requires all entering, full-time students with 23 or fewer hours of college credit to take the ACT® Compass® placement test. The results of this test are used to place students in the appropriate math and writing classes.
The College offers the test for students enrolled in the summer Work Education Program and during Character Camp. Students may also take the test at remote test centers located throughout the United States. For information on the ACT® Compass® test, please visit http://www.act.org/compass/student/. Information on remote testing centers can be found at http://www.act.org/compass/sites/.
Students interested in taking the test at a remote test site, and students not enrolled in the summer Work Education Program who are interested in taking the test at the College during the summer, should email the Registrar’s office at email@example.com for information.
The Keeter Center for Character Education:
Founded in 1997, The Keeter Center for Character Education at College of the Ozarks was created to provide programs and activities to enhance the development of character and good citizenship. In so doing, the Center reflects the principle upon which the College was established: that character in young people is best developed from an education of the head, the heart, and the hands.
The Center serves as the programmatic arm of The Keeter Center facility on campus. Both students and community members benefit from the wide variety of programs. The Gittinger Community Convocation Series has brought noted speakers to campus including Margaret Thatcher, Colin Powell, Franklin Graham, Benjamin Netanyahu, Sarah Palin, and Laura Bush.
The Center hosts a forum each spring with a theme that rotates among the topics of character, citizenship, and the work ethic. In addition to a group of the College’s students and those of visiting colleges and universities, cadets and staff from each of the U.S. Military Academies benefit from small group discussions and a question and answer session with each distinguished speaker. Spring forum speakers have included Tommy Franks, Ken Starr, Bob Dole, J. C. Watts, Newt Gingrich, and George W. Bush.
The Center developed and oversees a character education initiative called First PLACE! (Partners Linking Arms for Character Education). First PLACE! is a partnership among the homes, school, and communities of Stone and Taney Counties and focuses on intentionally teaching and modeling good character. Over 500 First PLACE! partners support the initiative which is present in every school building in both counties and is being used as a model around the state of Missouri.
The S. Truett Cathy Poverty Summit provides an opportunity for the College and the greater community to learn about the issue of poverty and gain valuable tools for helping people in poverty learn how to transition effectively into the middle class.
In 2009, College of the Ozarks began the Patriotic Education Travel Program, designed to provide once-in-a-lifetime experiences for students and veterans. The program pairs College of the Ozarks students with veterans, taking them back to the battlefields of Europe, the Pacific, Korea, and Vietnam. The effort is designed to reinforce the patriotic mission of the College by honoring the veterans and educating the younger generation about the sacrifices of American soldiers so that their stories will never be forgotten.
Other programs include School of the Ozarks Laboratory School, Character Curriculum, the College of the Ozarks Academy of Lifestyle Leadership, the Joan Kalimanis Citizens Abroad Program, Character Camp, and Camp Lookout.
School of the Ozarks
A Laboratory School of the College of the Ozarks
As a department of the College, School of the Ozarks plays an important role in the mission of the College of the Ozarks. It exists to encourage excellence and creativity with a distinctly Christian worldview in a K-12 setting. As a member of the International Association of Laboratory Schools, the School seeks to be a leader and an example of what is best for American education. Traditionally, a laboratory school’s commitment has been to assist in preparing teachers while delivering quality instructional programs for students in the classroom. These schools are affiliated with a college or university for specific purposes that go beyond the scope of traditional public and private institutions. Over the years, the laboratory schools have changed to reflect the diverse needs of the teaching professional and have often led the way in improving the science and art of teaching. Operating under the Keeter Center for Character Education, the School provides numerous opportunities for faculty and students from various departments to interface with the School on a regular basis.