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[College of Arts and Sciences]
History and objectives. New College was established in 1970 to provide an opportunity for highly motivated undergraduates to have greater flexibility in forming a curriculum leading to a bachelor of science or bachelor of arts degree. The underlying assumptions of the New College program are
- that students are capable of accepting much of the responsibility for their own learning
- that each individual is unique, and that educational programs can be developed which reflect each student's interests and capabilities
- that significant learning can occur outside of the classroom as well as within, and that students may receive credit for such outside learning experiences
- that problem-focused, general education experiences of an interdisciplinary nature are highly desirable in a fast-changing society
The two major objectives of New College are to create an opportunity for a highly individualized education that enables students to draw from the resources of all University classes and faculty, and to serve as an experimental unit with the expectation of exporting successful innovations to other sectors of the University.
The New College curriculum has two principal elements. First is the depth study, which is the student's area of concentration. The depth study may or may not resemble a traditional major. The second element of the curriculum is a general education component, which helps to ensure that students will have an exposure to the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences beyond their depth study. Included here are six interdisciplinary seminars focusing on these three areas, offered by New College faculty. Students are expected to complete this component either through these interdisciplinary seminars or, in exceptional circumstances, through other courses in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Students are also expected to develop their own independent studies and out-of-class learning experiences to enhance their understanding of the subject of their depth studies and to add to their learning experiences.
A minimum of 120 hours is required for graduation. Many New College students earn credit through performance on proficiency examinations for prior learning experiences, in out-of-class learning, by independent study, or in other nontraditional ways.
The New College curriculum leads to a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science degree, depending on the student's depth study. The interdisciplinary experience in New College affords excellent preparation for students with ambitions for graduate study or for professional careers in various areas, including law and medicine.
Admission and Retention Requirements
Applications are available from the New College office. New College limits its enrollment to 200 students, and there is an admission process separate from and in addition to admission to The University of Alabama.
- the degree of motivation and serious intellectual independence exhibited by the applicant
- the potential for the University to meet the applicant's academic goals
- obtain from the New College office an application for admission which, when completed, will include the applicant's educational goals and a statement about his or her interest in New College
- submit three letters of recommendation pertaining to the applicant's motivation, strengths, past performance, and personality
- phone the New College office to arrange a time for an interview with students, faculty, and staff of the College for the purpose of exploring the applicant's academic objectives and the extent to which New College can serve the applicant. Interviews are conducted periodically during each semester
Contract advising. Contract advising is a team approach to student development. Upon admission to New College, each student is assigned a faculty advisor who works closely with the student to plan his or her academic program. When student interests exceed the expertise available amongst the New College faculty, an expanded advising committee may be necessary, and faculty outside of New College may be asked to serve as co-advisors.
The New College contract-advising session is one of the most important parts of a New College student's program. Fundamental educational decisions about the student's undergraduate academic career are made in the contract-advising session. The contract-advising committee is concerned with the student's course performance and other measures of academic competence, as well as with the development of the individual's needs, desires, capabilities, attitudes, social influences, and motivation. The contract-advising takes place every semester to discuss and evaluate the progress of the student and to plan future coursework and other educational experiences.
Through contract-advising students develop their own programs of education that can be modified as the students' interests develop. The program of education becomes one's contract with New College, and it includes the following features: interdisciplinary seminars, a number of electives, a depth-study program, and other experiences agreed upon by the contract-advising committee. Students are strongly encouraged to include an out-of-class learning experience and a travel/study abroad experience in their academic programs.
Interdisciplinary environmental studies minor. The objective of the minor is to provide undergraduates with interdisciplinary training in environmental studies. Drawing on the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences, this minor acquaints students with current environmental problems and the tools of analysis to identify causes and solutions.
The interdisciplinary environmental studies minor requires 18 hours, including NEW 215, NEW 230, either NEW 225 or NEW 442, and an additional 6 to 7 hours selected from the following: BSC 305, BSC 385, BSC 482, CH 107, EC 480, GEO 202, GEO 363, GEO 460, GY 410, GY 452, GY 453, GY 467, GY 484, NEW 218, NEW 226, NEW 237, REL 305. A minimum of 6 hours at the 300- or 400-level must be earned on this campus. Interested students should contact Catherine Roach, 101-F Carmichael Hall.
Out-of-class learning/independent study. There is much research to show that learning which has been individually initiated and individually implemented has many benefits. These benefits include greater retention of knowledge gained, a better ability to integrate this knowledge with other learning, an increased potential for extending this knowledge into new areas, and more insights into career decisions. New College has a strong commitment to provide students opportunities to pursue their academic interests outside of the classroom through out-of-class learning experiences for credit.
In these out-of-class learning/independent study experiences, an agreement (or contract) is made among the student, the project director, and New College. The contract is a clear, concise statement that includes the course area, topic, or problem the student intends to study, along with the bibliography, plans for evaluating the study, and the anticipated outcomes of the study.
The project director is someone who is highly qualified in the area of the out-of-class learning experience. He or she helps the student design the contract and then monitors and evaluates the experience. The project director need not be someone within the University community.
Once the out-of-class learning/independent study contract has been written, it must be approved by the coordinator of out-of-class learning and by the director of the New College program. A student enrolled in another division of the University is advised to have an appropriate faculty member from his or her division or department approve and sign the contract. The student also should ascertain the number of credits that may be applied to his or her degree program. Detailed extensive guidelines are available to help students in formulating their contracts. These guidelines may be obtained in the New College office.
Academic Potential Seminar. The Academic Potential Seminar is a 2-credit course (NEW 222) offered pass/fail and coordinated by the Center for Teaching and Learning. The Academic Potential Seminar is designed to assist students in developing practical study strategies and the attitudinal elements of college success. Topics of primary focus include self-assessment, motivation, personal responsibility, time management, memory, textbook reading, note taking, test preparation, and exam taking.
General Degree Requirements
Graduation requirements. The specific graduation requirements for students in New College are planned (usually on a semester-to-semester basis) by the students and their contract-advising committees and approved by the program director. For graduation, New College students must complete the general University of Alabama requirements (i.e., the University Core Curriculum) and
- a minimum of 120 semester hours with a 2.0 or higher GPA (both UA average and overall average)
- a depth study
- the New College seminars
- NEW 100
- a foreign language proficiency
- a demonstrated proficiency in the English language
- a minimum of 42 semester hours after enrolling in New College
Depth-study program. Students, together with their advising committees, design their individual depth studies. Depth-study content is determined by the New College student, working with his or her advising committee. The depth study comprises 30-35 semester hours. While any course from any college at the University may become a part of the student's depth study, no more than 30 semester hours of credit from a professional school may apply toward a New College degree.
Integrative seminars. The integrative seminars expose students to three great areas of knowledge—the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences—through two 4-semester-hour seminars in each area.
|Seminar||Students are responsible for seminar learning and have the opportunity in discussion format to participate, to lead, and to present. Students come to understand complex ideas derived through their readings (analysis) and then, through their discussions and writing about these ideas, form their own intelligent observations and interpretations (synthesis).|
|Integrative||Students identify and explore major concepts, paradigms, and methodologies in a variety of specific disciplines within each of the three areas as they relate to the problem, issue, or theme underlying the seminar. Students, in this context, have the opportunity to appreciate the interrelatedness of fields of knowledge and to recognize that their boundaries are permeable.|
|Problem-focused||Each seminar has a particular problem, issue, or theme that serves as a vehicle for making the seminars interdisciplinary. Problems addressed reflect enduring issues lacking simple solutions. These problems often provide opportunities for experiential learning and/or public service.|
- The humanities seminars strive to open communication among people. The seminars explore enduring questions about meaning and value in human life, ask whether some values are more worthy than others, and encourage the transformation of students, faculty, and society through risk-taking and new ways of learning.
- The social science seminars examine enduring and contemporary social issues: their historical and cultural roots, how they are understood, how and why certain decisions are made, and the consequences of various solutions for the quality of societal and individual life.
- The natural science seminars explore the natural world and the relationship among the disciplines that describe it. This may be done by reading; writing (research); discussing; taking field trips in chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy, geology, paleontology, anthropology, and ecology; and synthesizing these fields using themes such as the environment, time, space, structure, law, growth, etc.
The six seminars required for graduation are arranged in two levels. The level I seminars are designed for entering students (usually freshmen and sophomores), while the level II seminars are designed for upper-level students. All students must complete level I and level II seminars in all three areas.
Foreign language proficiency. Students must complete a two-semester sequence of a single foreign language or an equivalent experience. An equivalent experience may consist of living among a language group for a sufficient time to acquire a demonstrated language proficiency equivalent to two semesters of study.
Communication proficiency. Students must demonstrate, through their written and oral performances in the seminars, an ability to use the English language effectively in reading, writing, and speaking.
Electives. Students are encouraged to explore broad interests not developed in their depth studies and general education seminars. Students should select (with the contract-advising committees) several elective courses that are directly relevant to their depth-study programs and several others, not necessarily related to one another.
Out-of-class learning experiences. It is strongly recommended, but not required, that students plan a practical or supplementary out-of-class learning experience for the equivalent of one semester during the time they are enrolled at the University (12 credit hours maximum, unless otherwise approved by the director of New College).
Transfer students. Students who transfer from another university or from another division of The University of Alabama are required to complete a minimum of 42 hours while enrolled in New College. Students are encouraged to enter the College at the beginning of the freshman year; however, students may enroll at any time during their undergraduate careers. The later the entry to the New College program, the less flexibility there is for developing an appropriate academic plan.
Students with 80 or more semester hours will be considered for admission only after their academic plans have been reviewed by New College faculty. A major consideration by the faculty will be the likelihood of the applicant's completing a sound academic experience within a reasonable time. The faculty may stipulate specific requirements for individual students that exceed the general graduation requirements for New College. These additional requirements will be stated in the student's letter of admission.
All students admitted to New College with 80 or more semester hours must complete the following in order to graduate: (a) the six-seminar requirement with no substitutes, (b) two semesters of a single foreign language, (c) a minimum of 16 additional semester hours, which may be applicable to the depth study, and (d) any other requirements recommended by the New College faculty and stated in the student's letter of admission.
External Degree Program
The External Degree Program (EXD) is for adults whose educational needs cannot be met through traditional residential university programs. Previous academic credits transferred from regionally accredited colleges, national tests such as the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), independent studies, out-of-class learning contracts, correspondence studies, classroom work, and a limited amount of credit gained through demonstrated prior learning may be applied toward a degree.
The External Degree Program is intended to serve older, nontraditional students whose opportunities to use currently available educational resources may be limited. Applicants must be 25 years of age or older and have educational goals which can be met through the program. An applicant need not be an Alabama resident, and he or she must have a high-school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) equivalency with a minimum score of 510.
- Step l. The prospective student obtains a brochure with an application from The University of Alabama, External Degree Program, Box 870182, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0182, and requests that official transcripts from all regionally accredited postsecondary institutions attended be forwarded to this same address.
- Step 2. The applicant is placed on a waiting list and is invited to attend the three-day Foundations of Adult Learning seminar when space is available. The seminar is designed to acquaint prospective students with the program. Information about contract learning, program costs, degree planning, prior learning portfolio development, learning styles, and writing competency is provided. An applicant must have all transcripts on file in the External Degree Program office, as well as an educational goals statement, before attending the Foundations of Adult Learning seminar.
- Step 3. An applicant is formally admitted to the program after the seminar, contingent upon successful completion of seminar assignments.
Additional information may be obtained by writing The University of Alabama, External Degree Program, Box 870182, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0182, by calling (205) 348-6000, or by e-mailing requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
GENERAL DEGREE REQUIREMENTS
|Foundations of Adult Learning seminar||3 hours|
|EXD Writing Skills and Strategies||3 hours|
|Communication skills||6 hours|
|Social sciences||12 hours|
|Natural sciences||6 hours|
|Depth study||30 hours|
|Senior project||12 hours|
The remaining hours of the 120 semester hours needed for graduation may be earned in any area of the curriculum. Students can take courses which will help them achieve greater depth and meet individual needs and goals. The EXD Program differs in purpose, scope, and specificity from degrees designating professional certification. For this reason, no more than 30 semester hours of credit from a professional school may apply toward a degree through the EXD Program.
SPECIFIED CURRICULUM REQUIREMENTS
Foundations of Adult Learning seminar (3 semester hours). Students are awarded 3 semester hours' credit for attending the Foundations of Adult Learning seminar and successfully completing the seminar assignments. This credit is a part of the UA residence requirement.
EXD Writing Skills and Strategies (3 semester hours). This course is mandatory for all EXD students and is designed to help students enhance their college writing skills. This course must be completed within six months of a student's Foundations of Adult Learning seminar.
Humanities (12 semester hours). A useful definition of the term "humanities" is one that recognizes learning which has as its purpose the understanding of human creativity. Art, literature, music, dance, philosophy, and religion—as well as combinations of these forms—are all studies in the humanities.
Communication skills (6 semester hours). Students should be sure to achieve competencies in written and oral communication through their degree planning. Writing skills are especially important to a distance-learning program such as EXD. Students will communicate extensively, at a distance, with faculty.
Social sciences (12 semester hours). The social sciences are those bodies of knowledge which have as their purpose the examination of human interaction. Study of the methods and techniques that inform an understanding of these disciplines is also considered work in the social sciences. Such studies include history, economics, political science, sociology, geography, anthropology, and psychology.
Natural sciences (6 semester hours). The natural sciences should be inclusive of all learning that has as its purpose the understanding of the universe around us and the physical and chemical laws that govern the universe and the living organisms within it.
Mathematics (3 semester hours). Knowledge and practice in sets and counting, permutations and combinations, basic probability, conditional probability, matrices and their applications, and the application of these skills in problem solving.
Depth study (30 semester hours). A depth study is a student's chosen academic area of concentration. The depth study is different from a traditional major for several reasons. Students enrolled in the EXD Program will not complete a traditional major, but rather will identify 30 semester hours from interdisciplinary fields of study. A depth study may include subjects from several related fields. The student develops the depth study through the advising process. Transfer credit, traditional coursework, standardized tests such as CLEP, independent study courses, and EXD options such as out-of-class learning contracts and prior learning can be a part of the depth study. The objectives of the depth study are (a) knowledge of the content area; (b) knowledge of current readings, trends, and information on changes in the field; and (c) application of what the student knows and learns. The titles of External Degree Program depth studies are as follows:
- Interdisciplinary Studies/Humanities
Senior project (12 semester hours). The senior project is a distinctive feature of the External Degree Program. All basic curriculum requirements must be completed before the senior project is begun. The project does not have to be in the area of the depth study. Senior projects may be done for professional enhancement, development of personal interests, and/or academic preparation for graduate work. The senior project is an out-of-class learning contract, and it fulfills 12 semester hours of the 30-semester-hour residence requirement.
Each student first formulates a proposal for the senior project meeting and submits the proposal and required forms to the EXD office. The advisory review committee includes members of the EXD staff and a University of Alabama faculty/contract director who will oversee the project for the student. Additional resource people may be included as necessary.
Electives. This area of the curriculum is called electives to distinguish it from the required hours. There is no specified number of hours needed in this area. Elective hours should lead to the following:
- expansion of knowledge in general education areas beyond the minimum required hours in communication skills, humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and mathematics
- development of a "minor" area of concentration
- exploration of courses in subjects in which a student has a personal interest—courses that have no obvious link to the depth study or general education requirements
Residence is defined as the minimum number of required credits that must be completed through The University of Alabama. Following completion of the Foundations of Adult Learning seminar, External Degree Program students must earn a minimum of 30 semester hours of University of Alabama credit. Except for the required three-day Foundations of Adult Learning seminar, students do not have to be present on The University of Alabama campus. Residence is fulfilled by working under the guidance of University of Alabama faculty through distance learning.
The 30-hour residence requirement may be met through any of the following: (a) on-campus courses at The University of Alabama; (b) out-of-class learning contracts; (c) prior learning demonstrated in a portfolio; (d) University of Alabama distance education courses.
Students are encouraged to take appropriate courses at other regionally accredited institutions if they meet the goals of their degree plans. However, courses taken at institutions other than the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, will not be counted toward the minimum 30-semester-hour residence requirement, although they may be counted toward hours needed for graduation.
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