Union County College
Union County College is an open admission, public community college. It is one of nineteen community colleges in the State of New Jersey. Open admissions means that anyone with a high school diploma, a high school equivalency diploma, or eighteen years of age or older is admitted to Union County College.
Community Colleges serve multiple missions and have become the largest segment of higher education in America. They are the gateway for the future of America.
The Educational Missions of Union County College
Union County College has at least ten distinct educational missions. These are to provide:
1. Basic Skills Testing. As an open door institution, one of the most important functions of the College is the placement testing of incoming students. Many students, even those with high school diplomas, do not have “college-level” skills. They are unable to read and understand college textbooks, cannot write grammatically correct sentences and paragraphs in English, and cannot speak the English language fluently. Their mathematics skills have often not progressed beyond simple arithmetic of the sixth grade. They cannot do fractions, percentages, or simple algebra. Basic Skills testing is necessary to place students in the appropriate courses and programs.
2. Developmental Courses. Depending on their Basic Skills test scores, students are placed in developmental English and developmental Mathematics courses. There is a hierarchy of these courses. The goal is to reach English 101 and 102 (Freshman English) and Mathematics 117, 119, or other College-Algebra based Mathematics courses. It is inadvisable to take college credit courses while still enrolled in developmental courses.
3. English Courses for Speakers of Other Languages (ESL). America is a nation of immigrants and the flow of immigrants continues to be strong. The New York-New Jersey Metropolitan Area is an immigration hub. Many of these new immigrants and their children speak English as a second language and need further English language training. Union County College has the largest ESL program in New Jersey. ESL courses do not carry college credit and, like developmental courses, are pre-requites for credit programs.
4. Career Programs. UCC offers a considerable number of career programs in the technologies, business, and health professions.
The term “career programs” is ambiguous and confusing. Ultimately, all college programs lead to careers. Nonetheless, a distinction is made between career programs and transfer programs.
In its narrower sense, career programs are programs whose intent is to prepare students for a job immediately after graduation from UCC. The primary intent is not to transfer. However, most career programs at UCC have their counterparts at four year colleges. Most career programs have “career ladders” that link the two year college programs to four year programs. Many careers in nursing fall into this category. There is also a linkage between technologies and engineering programs. The Criminal Justice program at UCC helps graduates find jobs in law enforcement; but Criminal Justice Majors can also transfer to many four year programs.
5. Transfer Programs. Transfer programs are programs where it should be clear to students from the beginning of their matriculation that their primary goal is to transfer to a four year college. A bachelor’s degree or higher professional degree is the goal. The ultimate career goal may be to become a lawyer, doctor, pharmacist, biologist, engineer, architect, accountant, psychologist, historian, or whatever. These professions require professional degrees after completion of a Bachelor’s degree. Transfer programs at community colleges provide the first two years of a four year college education.
While at UCC, transfer-oriented students should familiarize themselves with the available four year institutions. They should assure themselves that their courses at UCC will transfer into their program of choice at the four-year institution. Four year schools do not have open door admissions even for community college students with associate degrees. Tuition and other costs at four year colleges are significantly higher than at two year schools. This is one of the reasons why it makes sense to take your first two years of college at a community college.
6. Associate Degrees, Diplomas, and Certificates. Community Colleges offer a variety of degrees, diplomas, and certificates according to the regulations of the Commission on Higher Education of the State of New Jersey. Community Colleges offer two-year degrees which are called Associate degrees. There are three types of Associate degrees: the Associate in Arts (AA), Associate in Science (AS), and the Associate in Applied Science (AAS). All three degrees require from 64 to 66 college credits for graduation.. Developmental credits do not count in this total. The differences between these degrees have become confused. AA degrees are awarded primarily for transfer-oriented programs, but AS, and even AAS, degrees may transfer to certain programs and colleges. For example at UCC, the Engineering degrees offer AAS degrees but they usually transfer to NJIT.
One chief remaining difference between these associate degrees is the number of general education credits required. AAS degrees require 24 general education credits; AS degrees, 30; and AA degree program entail a minimum of 45 general education credits.
In general, you are advised to complete your degree program at UCC before entering your career full-time or transferring to a four year school.
7. General Education. All college programs (career- and transfer-oriented programs) have a general education component in addition to the specialization courses particular to the career or major. The number of general education courses required depends on the degree which is awarded upon completion of your chosen program. As noted above, you need 45 general education credits for the AA; 30 for the AS; and 24 for the AAS.
According to State regulations, these general education courses must be distributed across various academic disciplines.
8. Continuing Education. An increasingly important mission of community colleges is to provide continuing education to individuals and the community. Continuing education courses do not generally earn college credits, though they may earn CEU credits for your profession or a certificate of completion. They are fee based. They are flexible and do not follow a normal semester format. Continuing education courses may cover any subject and purpose for which there is a demand from recreation, hobbies, skills training, and professional upgrading.
9. Community Service. Community colleges should be cultural centers for their service areas, usually a county.
10. Educational and Career Counseling. Appropriate educational and career counseling are an essential responsibility of community colleges.
1. Developmental Education. The effectiveness of developmental courses and the ESL program is measured by the number of students who reach college credit English and Mathematics courses and successfully pass those courses. ENG 101 and ENG 102 are the Freshman English courses at UCC and the gateways to College level work. MAT 117, MAT 119, MAT 125, or MAT 127 are college-level mathematics courses.
2. Career Programs. The effectiveness of career programs is measured by the number of students who complete the program, are placed in full-time positions in their chosen career field, or transfer to four-year schools into related career ladder programs.
3. Transfer Programs. The effectiveness of transfer programs is measured by the number of students who transfer successfully to four year colleges or who graduate with an associate’s degree and then transfer.
4. Other Outcomes. Many community college students do not matriculate into programs but take various courses to enrich their lives, upgrade their knowledge base, or to meet demands of employers. Some have already completed degrees. Survey instruments are used to determine the subjective level of satisfaction of these students with their UCC experience.
Transfer Programs at UCC.
Union County College offers 28 Transfer programs leading to the AA degree. The list follows below:
General Education Requirements for the Associate in Arts Degree.
Associate in Arts degree programs require 45 general education credits. These credits must be distributed as follows:
The purpose of general education courses is to provide students with a broad educational base. College educated men and women should have a basic understanding of the American society and the world in which we live. The first two years of a four year college education are supposed to provide an overview of knowledge in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Specialization towards a major begins during the Sophomore year and continues thereafter.
At an earlier time and continuing at many institutions, these general education courses used to be called liberal arts courses. Liberal Arts Colleges continue this broad based academic education. At UCC, the Liberal Arts Curriculum continues this liberal arts tradition. Almost all the 64 credits in that program can also be considered as general education courses. Successful completion of this program should allow you to transfer to most four year institutions.
The general education distribution requirements for the AA degree are as follows:
You need nine credits in Communications. This requirement is met through ENG 101, ENG 102, and one other approved 3-credit course in the communications category of the general education foundation.
You need twelve credits in the Mathematics, Laboratory Science, and Technology Category. At least four credits must be in college-level mathematics. College-level mathematics means that it is based on Algebra. (See my Web page on the Mathematics Courses at UCC.) Another four credits must be in a laboratory science: biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy. This leaves four credits to fill. You may pick a technology course, but you don’t have to. Computer literacy is a growing necessity in all of education. If you don’t already understand how to use the Internet, write WORD documents, or use EXCEL spreadsheets, you might want to bring yourself up to speed.
The Social Sciences are a very broad field of academic disciplines. They include Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Economics, and Government or Political Science. Requiring only six credits in this category does not give you an overview of this broad field. Our liberal arts program at UCC requires 15 credits in this category.
The Humanities are another broad area. They include foreign languages, art, literature, and history. Nine credits are required by the State. Our Liberal Arts program requires 12 credits in a foreign language and six credits in English literature for a total of 18 credits.
The State requires six credits in history. History courses can also be counted as humanities courses according to the State. HIS 101 and HIS 102 meet the history requirement for the Liberal Arts program at UCC.
The state also requires three credits in what are called diversity courses. GOV 207 and GEO 201 meet the diversity requirement at UCC.
With 45 general education credits required by state regulations for AA degrees, there are only 21 to 23 credits left for specialized courses, additional liberal arts courses, or courses that do not meet general education definitions. 64 to 66 credits is the maximum number that may be required for most Associate degrees.
In the Liberal Arts program, almost all the
courses in the program meet the general education definitions. At the moment,
PSY 102 is the only course that is not a general education course. The State
views PSY 102 as too specialized.
The Liberal Arts Program at UCC
Union County College was founded in 1933 as a junior college. Junior Colleges try to prepare students for transfer into a baccalaureate program at a four year college. That was their primary mission. Three broad transfer programs were created in 1933: a business program, an engineering program, and a liberal arts program. This liberal arts program continues in existence today and it remains the main highway for transfer. The liberal arts program provides the base for majoring in history, government, economics, sociology, psychology, languages, English literature, and fine arts.
Union County College has added many other educational missions since 1933. (See above). We are now a broad based community college but the transfer function remains as one of our functions.
Many program options have been spun off from the basic liberal arts program. Most of these options start the process of majoring in a particular area of concentration while still at the community college. UCC offers two education options and six fine arts options. The Communications Program contains many courses that can also be taken by Liberal Arts majors. The regular Liberal Arts program remains, however, the broad highway that leads to transfer in the liberal arts at four year colleges.
The Liberal Arts program at UCC requires the following courses:
1. English 101, English 102, English 128 or 129; and six credits in English literature.
2. At least four credits of College-level Mathematics
3. At least four credits of Laboratory Science
4. At least four additional credits in Math, Science, or Technology
5. History 101 and History 102
6. Government 201 and Government 201
7. Economics 201 and Economics 202
8. Psychology 101 and Psychology 102
9. Twelve credits in a Foreign Language
10. Three credits in a diversity course.
All of these courses except for Psychology 102 are general education courses according to the State’s definitions.
Anyone who completes these courses is ready to major, i.e., specialize, in any of the liberal arts. The Liberal Arts program is, par excellance, the generic transfer program.
The International Studies Option is designed for traditional transfer-oriented students seeking a baccalaureate or higher degree in international affairs leading to possible careers with multinational corporations, the federal government, or international organizations. Community leaders interested in foreign policy issues and business people seeking to expand their knowledge of the international economy within the global system may also find this program of interest.
AST 101 Astronomy of the Solar System OR
A Modern Language Course
GOV 201 American Government and Politics
ECO 209 The International Economy
200-Level English Literature Course which meets both the
A Modern Language Course
GOV 201 American Government and Politics
GOV 207 International Politics
Electives to complete the graduation requirements
Copyright Dr. Harold Damerow