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Expanded Degrees Offered at Belmont College

St. Clairsville, OH (May 23, 2012)  With this fall’s formal launch of the transition to semesters, faculty at Belmont College have been working diligently to refresh existing courses and create a wide range of new courses as part of the general-education curriculum at the College. This expanded coursework is offered through Belmont’s Associate of Arts (AA) and Associate of Science (AS) degrees. 

Coinciding with the College’s first fall semester beginning on August 27, the AA and AS degrees will offer an expanded range of courses across the general-education disciplines.  Over 30 new courses have been developed to support Belmont College’s status as a comprehensive community college.   With the integration of the new courses into the AA and AS degrees, students will now have greater access to the courses needed to fulfill the core curriculum requirements in place at many four-year colleges.   Students can prepare themselves for two years at Belmont College, in an environment conducive to their success, for entry into the third year of a four-year bachelor’s program.

In the Fall of 2009, Belmont announced the introduction of the two new Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees.  The degrees were part of an expanded mission for the College, to provide liberal-arts programming in addition to the technical programs historically in place.   The new degrees offered students the opportunity to complete the first two years of their bachelor’s degree close to home, saving considerable money in the process.

The AA and AS degrees have gained popularity over the last three years that they have been offered, even though the range of courses available was limited to general-education courses already within Belmont’s curriculum.  The new courses fill out the curriculum to create liberal-arts programs with a global focus.

The new and expanded courses belong within the general-education categories of English and Communications, Arts and Humanities, Mathematics, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Natural and Physical Sciences.  Most of the courses are focused on global concerns, the range including such courses as Interpersonal Communications, three history courses in Eastern Civilization, Global 20th-Century Literature, Traditions in World Music, World Religions, International Studies, and Cultural Anthropology, to name a few.   There are several new introductory sequences in Chemistry, Biology, Physics, and Natural Sciences, as well as new courses in Math designed for the AS students.

One new option is the Math for the Liberal Arts course, which allows AA students and students in certain technical programs the opportunity to develop an understanding of the applications of mathematics to real-world situations and problems. 

Another opportunity for students is the new course called Humanities.  This course combines the disciplines of philosophy, literature, history, and religion in one place, allowing explorations about human heritage without commitment to the rigors and demands of one isolated discipline.

Dr. May Charles, Assistant Dean, Arts and Sciences, explained how these course developments became possible: “The variety of new courses to be offered [beginning in the fall] is a direct result of the interdisciplinary strengths of the faculty employed at Belmont College.  Without the expertise of faculty, both full-time and adjunct, development of the courses would have been impossible.  Our students will reap the rewards of this diverse faculty knowledge, in the choices of courses made available to them and in the actual conduct of the individual courses.”

One of the instructors involved in course development, Dr. Jon Stansell, Assistant Professor of English, commented about the value and relevance of the new course offerings: “Many local residents might be curious about the world and its cultures; the AA degree and courses like Cultural/Diversity Studies help to connect life as a student lives it with intriguing and even inspiring pictures of life in other places.  That new vision allows a questioning of life—how we make decisions, how we perpetuate traditions, and how we feel shaped by culture.”

Dr. Charles pointed out the value of such courses for students in the technical programs: “There is a bonus to the development of the new courses for the AA and AS degrees—the courses increase general-education electives for our students in the technical programs.  Their options will be so much more varied and exciting. We hope to see, within any one class, students representing a variety of programs.  The result will be a great interchange of perspectives.”

The next step for the AA and AS degrees at Belmont College will be the introduction of concentrations in specific subject areas.  

For more information about the new courses or the AA/AS degrees please contact Jane Black, Transfer, Articulation, and Academic Advisor, at 740.699.3813.

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Current students Joseph Hora (left) and Sarah Schmidt (right), visit with Dr. May Charles, Assistant Dean, Arts and Sciences

Current students Joseph Hora (left) and Sarah Schmidt (right), visit with Dr. May Charles, Assistant Dean, Arts and Sciences before attending Belmont College’s Student Awards Banquet, which took place on May 18th. Dr. Charles presented both students with academic excellence awards at the event. Hora, an AA student, has been accepted at Point Park University for the fall, where he will major in Cinema Production; and Schmidt, an AS student, is hoping to complete a Bachelor of Science degree and enter a program in Veterinary Medicine.

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