In order to be awarded an associate’s degree from Northwest College, individuals must:
- Complete at least 64 credits of college-level coursework with an overall grade point average of at least 2.0;
- Take 15 of the last 30 credits to be applied toward the degree from Northwest College;
- Successfully complete a capstone course;
- Meet all general education requirements for the specific degree.
All Northwest College graduates complete a capstone course as a part of their degree requirements. In capstone courses, students:
- Demonstrate their understanding of and ability to apply important knowledge and skills in their field,
- Demonstrate application of their general education knowledge and achievement of general education outcomes in writing, speaking, analysis, and multiple points of view, and
- Expand their skills through feedback on their work from professionals beyond the instructor.
General Education Outcomes
Northwest College is committed to outstanding learning outcomes for students. NWC adopted an assessment plan to learn about how well students do relative to expected learning outcomes at four levels: course, program, general education, and all-college. Outcomes for each program are available from the Academic Affairs Office. Course outcomes are included in each syllabus.
- Isolate a pertinent question or problem.
- Identify appropriate problem-solving strategies.
- Use mathematical approaches when warranted.
- Access and evaluate data effectively and efficiently.
- Draw warranted, logical conclusions.
- Present convincing evidence to support conclusions.
Multiple Points of View
- Identify differences in the attitudes, values, core beliefs, data and/or assumptions that shape multiple points of view in relation to a particular problem, project, or topic (e.g., alternative theories or theorists, competing models, different modes of representation, dynamics of differences in culture, ethnicity, national origin, gender, economic status, generational association, and other social issues).
- Integrate this recognition of multiple points of view in a variety of academic tasks.
- Articulate multiple points of view through writing and speaking.
- Compose messages for oral communication that utilize standards of organization, analysis, and adapt to various audiences.
- Display effective oral presentation techniques.
- Demonstrate active listening techniques including feedback, demonstrating appropriate audience behavior, and identifying main ideas in a spoken message.
- Produce informative, analytical, and critical prose to respond to a particular task or audience.
- Produce writing that conforms to discipline-specific conventions.
- Use appropriate research skills in at least one substantial writing assignment.
- Observe the conventions of standard written English.
Information and Technology Literacy
- Apply appropriate technological resources to a specific task.
- Utilize technological equipment connected to their area of interest.
- Access and evaluate print and electronic information effectively and efficiently to address a particular problem, project, or activity.
- Demonstrate and apply an understanding of many of the legal, ethical, and educational issues surrounding access to and the use of information.
Statements for Distribution Requirements
College education prepares a student both for life and for making a living. It blends the practical application of knowledge with the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. When successful, education balances the sometimes contradictory claims of social service and individual ambition.
A good general education fosters freedom’s values and nurtures individual growth. It lays the foundation for further learning in a discipline or vocation, provides the tools to navigate change, and prepares one for lifelong learning.
The purpose of general education at Northwest College is to shape the development of students according to these values and to meet the outcomes listed below.
American & Wyoming Government
Wyoming Statute, Title 21, Chapter 9, Section 102, mandates that all public institutions “…give instruction in the essentials of the United States constitution and the constitution of the state of Wyoming, including the study of and devotion to American institution and ideals,…” and no student shall receive a post-secondary degree from a Wyoming institution of higher education without having been instructed in the above. An understanding of politics and government is fundamental to good citizenship and contributes to the foundation of scholarly knowledge expected of college graduates.
Students may fulfill this requirement in one of three ways:
Courses fulfilling the American and Wyoming Government Distribution Requirement at Northwest College must comply with state statutes and meet all of the following student outcomes.
- Demonstrate the ability to analyze and evaluate the formal and informal principles, processes, and structures of the U.S. and Wyoming constitutions and political systems.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the historical development and cultural context of these constitutions and political systems.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the relationship between understanding of the institutions by which they are governed and their roles as responsible citizens in a democratic system.
Comparative Cultural Awareness (CCA)
A primary focus of a Comparative Cultural Awareness course is cultural analysis that includes an explicit comparison of cultures in context. Culture is defined as “the totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought characteristic of a community or population.” In these courses, students will understand and apply this general definition of culture.
Courses with the Comparative Cultural Awareness designation meet the following course criteria:
- A primary focus of a Comparative Cultural Awareness course is cultural analysis that ensures an explicit comparison of culture-in-context.
- In the course, students will understand and apply the general definition of culture (see above).
- The pedagogical intention of the course is stimulating awareness through comparison of cultures, one of which may be the contemporary culture, explicitly analyzed.
- Comparative Cultural Awareness courses will also examine the contextual influences that shape culture (e.g., history, economics, arts, religion, common practices, social and political institutions).
Learning outcomes will vary from course to course, but courses with the CCA designation must meet the following learning outcomes:
- Apply general definitions of culture.
- Recognize how culture influences individual and social values, goals, and identity.
In addition, all courses with the CCA designation should meet at least two of these outcomes:
- Examine the products and expressions of cultures (e.g., history, art, music, religions, common practices, social, and political institutions).
- Compare how cultural elements (e.g., gender, power, spirituality, aging, death) vary in meaning between cultures.
- Evaluate how cultures interact and influence each other.
- Identify how cultural perceptions and attitudes are transmitted.
Northwest College maintains that the abilities to read critically and write well are fundamental to academic success in college and pursuit of a subsequent career. Consequently, each student must complete two courses that meet the English General Education requirements.
The initial composition course ensures that students write competently and understand the nature of academic writing. The second course refines analytical writing skills by either introducing students to the study of literature or helping them develop specialized writing skills (e.g., research, technical writing, etc.).
For students meeting AAS degree requirements, the second-level course will focus primarily on the second and fourth outcomes listed below.
- Produce informative, analytical, and critical prose in response to a particular task or audience.
- Produce writing that conforms to task specific conventions.
- Use appropriate research skills.
- Observe the conventions of standard written English.
Humanities courses examine and seek to understand human experience, human aspirations and achievements, and human expressions, such as written, oral, and/or visual texts, artifacts, and cultural practices. These courses approach their subjects from an interdisciplinary perspective and within the historical context of human values, thought, and interaction. Humanities courses provide students with the tools for logically analyzing, discussing, and debating moral questions, ethical issues, and human values.
- Demonstrate the ability to analyze and discuss humanities texts (including cultural artifacts and practices).
- Demonstrate an awareness of different moral and ethical points of view.
- Reason, present, and write clearly and persuasively about humanities topics.
- Describe how culture affects human interaction.
Science courses provide students with an introduction to the processes and principles that scientists typically use in understanding the natural world. Laboratory courses require practice in understanding relationships between events and observing the effects that result from experimental activities. These courses emphasize the collection and interpretation of data, using mathematics, statistics, and the fundamental laws of the natural sciences.
- Describe and apply currently accepted fundamental theories in at least one discipline of a biological or physical science.
- Apply the scientific method.
- Collect and correctly interpret experimental data using sound scientific principles.
- Follow written protocols to complete a natural science experiment.
- Use lab equipment safely and appropriately.
At Northwest College, Mathematics courses study systems and processes that focus on using symbolic representation in problem solving and on drawing conclusions from numeric data by inductive and deductive reasoning. These courses elevate students’ abilities to analyze quantitative and symbolic patterns and relationships, enabling them to function competently in an increasingly numeric society. The first two outcomes apply to courses meeting the AAS degree requirements. Courses that satisfy the AS or AA degree requirements must contain all five outcomes.
- Apply the mathematical skills necessary to be successful in the subsequent coursework required for their chosen profession.
- Choose the appropriate mathematical problem-solving technique within the context of a practical situation and interpret the results.
- Apply and demonstrate an understanding of numeric and symbolic manipulation to algebraic expressions, relations, and functions.
- Describe the constraints of an abstract mathematical situation, and derive a solution by identifying the appropriate algorithmic strategy.
- Employ college-level mathematical reasoning and terminology to explain, interpret, and represent mathematical situations in a variety of ways.
Graduates of Northwest College will understand and be familiar with human social conditions. Using empirical methods, the Social Sciences analyze past and present behavior of people in an attempt to discover patterns and principles. The Social Sciences explore the physical environment; social, political, and economic institutions; the development and understanding of societal evolution; human experiences; and the development of ideas and culture in a social context. Social Science courses offer opportunities to enhance our understanding of human behavior and sharpen our perceptions of the social world.
Students successfully completing a social science distribution course(s) will achieve the following student learning outcomes:
1. Knowledge Base
1.1 Identify or describe major course vocabulary/concepts.
1.2 Identify or describe relevant theories and/or perspectives within respective departments.
1.3 Recall or discuss evidence-based empirical research relevant to course content.
2. Research Methods and Values
2.1 Identify or apply discipline-specific research methodologies, such as qualitative and quantitative approaches to either data collection, analysis, interpretation or presentation.
2.2 Recognize or explain ethical principals in research and practice appropriate to the respective social science discipline completing coursework in.
3. Critical Thinking
3.1 Apply or use critical and creative thinking, skeptical inquiry and/or the scientific method to analyze questions or generate investigation related to the social sciences.
4. Practical Application
4.1 Apply course terms, concepts, or skills learned in the classroom to historical or contemporary real-world examples, hypothetical situations, or relevant research questions.
5. Information and Technical Skills
5.1 Demonstrate the ability to access relevant academic research and use computers and/or other technology to create an academic or professional product.
Visual and Performing Arts
Visual and Performing Arts involve visual, musical, theatrical, and other artistic expressions of a culture. Often examined for their own characteristics and history, the arts also provide insight into cultural attitudes and values. The stories artists tell through music, images, drama, text, and other artistic means provide symbolic ways of examining the world. Such expressions explore notions of what is, what has been, and what should be in a culture. The arts expand a student’s personal and social frame of reference. Through study of the arts, students develop such capacities as their imagination, intellect, emotions, creativity, physical skills, analytical abilities, historical knowledge, and cultural understanding. After taking classes that satisfy Visual and Performing Arts requirements, students should see, hear, and understand the world differently.
- Utilize appropriate terminology from art, music, theater, or other artistic media in discussions and writings.
- Evaluate artistic works and performances using knowledge of appropriate design elements.
- Draw on their own individual experiences, creativity, and imagination to create or write about artistic or musical works.
- Articulate reasons for their emotional reactions to artistic works or performances.
- Relate ideas expressed through artistic media to history and expression of those ideas in other disciplines.
- Express in writing, presentation, or performance, ways that the arts reveal cultural functions, values, and beliefs.
Graduates of Northwest College should understand how behavior can influence health and wellness and the impact of physical activity and inactivity. Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity; wellness is an active, lifelong process of becoming aware of and making choices about a healthier and more fulfilling life. Active living and physical activity for health constitute major components of a healthy lifestyle and general health promotion and protection. The knowledge and experience gained from Wellness Education courses will enable students to make informed decisions about their own health as it relates to their quality of life and longevity.
Wellness courses fall into two categories:
Activity-based Courses — Activity-based courses aim at promoting physiological health, as reflected in cardiovascular functioning, muscular strength and conditioning, motor coordination skills, and flexibility. Activity-based courses involve regular participation in the activity.
Nonactivity-based Courses — Nonactivity-based courses focus on the integration of cognitive and experiential learning, connecting experience with strategies for reflection, integration, and continuation.
Students may fulfill the Wellness Requirement in one of three ways:
- By completing two credits of any activity-based course.
- By completing one credit of any activity-based course and one credit of any approved nonactivity-based course.
- By completing one of the following:
- Demonstrate competency in developing and participating in a personal fitness program.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the principles specific to attaining and maintaining good health and fitness throughout life.