Chapter 3 - Educational Policies

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for Board Policy 3.21


Part 1. Purpose
To provide a single source document with key transfer criteria for determining whether and how courses meet the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum. These instructions include the following:

  • Checklist of Evaluation Criteria for Courses to Be Included in the MnTC,
  • Guidelines for the Review and Design of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum,
  • Excerpts from the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum Agreement, and
  • Minnesota Transfer Curriculum memoranda.

Part 2. Checklist of Evaluation Criteria for Courses to Be Included In the MnTC
The checklist of evaluation criteria should be used by colleges or universities in the order presented:

  1. Is this course a remedial, developmental or occupational training course? If you answer ‘yes’ to this question, the course does not belong in the MnTC. If you answer ‘no’ to this question, proceed.
  2. Does the course satisfy the college or university philosophy and definition of general education? If you answer ‘no’ to this question, the course does not belong in the MnTC. If you answer ‘yes’ to this question, proceed.
  3. Is the course consistent with the Guidelines for the Review and Design of a Minnesota Transfer Curriculum? If you answer ‘no’ to this question, the course does not belong in the MnTC. If you answer ‘yes’ to this question, proceed.
  4. Is the course designed to have significant focus on one or more of the ten goals of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum?
    1. Does the course meet the definition of the goal area?
    2. A course must address a majority of the competencies for a goal area.
    3. These competencies must be a significant focus of the course.
    4. The accompanying documentation (course outline, learning outcomes, sample assignments, etc.) must clearly address a majority of the specific competencies for this particular goal area.
    5. If you are requesting approval of this course in a second goal area, you must provide evidence (demonstrate) that the course meets 4a and 4b above for both goal areas.
    If the course meets the criteria in #4, then proceed to #5.
  5. Review similar/equivalent courses across the Minnesota State system and determine if the goal area(s) for the proposed course are similar.
Note: The ASA system office transfer unit maintains information about goal areas met by common MnTC courses that can be provided to colleges and universities upon request.

Note: Variation in the goal area(s) met by MnTC courses cause difficulty in transfer for students.

This checklist was adopted by the Transfer Oversight Committee in 2006 and included in system transfer procedure in 2007, and revised in 2016.

Part 3. Guidelines for the Design and Review of The Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

  1. Colleges establish their own processes for review of proposed courses.
  2. Each course must address the competencies listed in at least one of the 10 areas of the curriculum
    • A single course can address no more than two areas. (An exception is allowed if all courses are expected to address critical thinking, then critical thinking can be a third area.)
    • A course must address at least 51% of the competencies in an area.
    • The competencies must be a significant focus of the course.
  3. Students should be able to complete a transfer curriculum with a minimum of 40 semester credits.
  4. Some disciplines are excluded by decision of the collaborating institutions. Because not all courses that might address a competency are general education, courses will not be included from: business, health/physical education, computer science (an exception was made for programming for math, but for most programming courses a high level math is a prerequisite), field experience, career orientation, or, in general, any occupational courses or programs.
  5. Some courses are excluded because they are required for admittance to college study in Minnesota. Examples include developmental courses in reading, writing, and mathematics. Intermediate algebra is considered to be a developmental course.
  6. Natural science laboratory requirements are a minimum of one traditional lab course and a second with a lab-like experience
  7. Competencies, particularly in goal areas 7 - 10, can be addressed by stand-alone courses or can be embedded across part of the curriculum.
  8. Development of a MN Transfer Curriculum is an evolutionary process. Colleges are encouraged to continue to develop their courses, pedagogy, assessment, and organization.
A guiding principle suggested for any course: "If the justification for inclusion needs to be elaborate, perhaps the course ought not to be in."
  • Developed by the original Oversight Committee
  • Revised by the Minnesota State MnTC Oversight Committee on 03/01/02 for Minnesota State application, and adopted for U of M application on 11/26/02.
  • Revised by the Minnesota State Transfer Oversight Committee on 9/19/08 for Minnesota State application. These guidelines have not been formally adopted by the University of Minnesota 12/5/08.
  • Included in system transfer procedure in 2007.

Part 4. Excerpts from the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC) Agreement

  1. Subpart A. Background

    The goals and competencies enumerated in Subpart C were extracted verbatim from the original Minnesota Transfer Agreement. In 1994 the four existing systems (Technical College, Community College, State University, and the University of Minnesota) entered into the MnTC agreement. The MnTC agreement required the entire minimum 40-credit Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (or the associate of arts degree) to transfer as a package to meet the lower division general education requirements at any public Minnesota college or university.

    Subpart B. 2001 Legislative changes
    In 2001, a Minnesota law required a completed goal area or individual goal areas met by MnTC courses to transfer per the sending college or university (see memorandum in Part 5, Subpart B below).

    This 2001 law only applies to the colleges and universities of Minnesota State, not to the University of Minnesota. The entire agreement is available online.

    Subpart C. Excerpts of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum Agreement

    Goals and Competencies

    Foreword

    The transfer curriculum commits all public colleges and universities in the state of Minnesota to a broad educational foundation that integrates a body of knowledge and skills with study of contemporary concerns - all essential to meeting individuals' social, personal, and career challenges in the 1990s and beyond. The competencies people need to participate successfully in this complex and changing world are identified. These competencies emphasize our common membership in the human community; personal responsibility for intellectual, lifelong learning; and an awareness that we live in a diverse world. They include diverse ways of knowing - that is, the factual content, the theories and methods, and the creative modes of a broad spectrum of disciplines and interdisciplinary fields - as well as emphasis on the basic skills of discovery, integration, application and communication. All competencies will be achieved at an academic level appropriate to lower-division general education.

    There are ten areas of emphasis:

    1. Communication
    2. Critical Thinking
    3. Natural Sciences
    4. Mathematics/Logical Reasoning
    5. History and the Social and Behavioral Sciences
    6. The Humanities and Fine Arts
    7. Human Diversity
    8. Global Perspectives
    9. Ethical and Civic Responsibility
    10. People and the Environment

    Students who complete a transfer curriculum will be expected to use computers, libraries, and other appropriate technology and information resources. Institutions should assure integration of these skills in courses throughout the general education curriculum.

    1. Communication
      Goal: To develop writers and speakers who use the English language effectively and who read, write, speak, and listen critically. As a base, all students should complete introductory communication requirements early in their collegiate studies. Writing competency is an ongoing process to be reinforced through writing-intensive courses and writing across the curriculum. Speaking and listening skills need reinforcement through multiple opportunities for interpersonal communication, public speaking, and discussion.

      Students will be able to:
      • Understand/demonstrate the writing and speaking processes through invention, organization, drafting, revision, editing and presentation.
      • Participate effectively in groups with emphasis on listening, critical and reflective thinking, and responding.
      • Locate, evaluate, and synthesize in a responsible manner material from diverse sources and points of view.
      • Select appropriate communication choices for specific audiences.
      • Construct logical and coherent arguments.
      • Use authority, point-of-view, and individual voice and style in their writing and speaking.
      • Employ syntax and usage appropriate to academic disciplines and the professional world.
    2. Critical Thinking
      Goal:To develop thinkers who are able to unify factual, creative, rational, and value-sensitive modes of thought. Critical thinking will be taught and used throughout the general education curriculum in order to develop students’ awareness of their own thinking and problem-solving procedures. To integrate new skills into their customary ways of thinking, students must be actively engaged in practicing thinking skills and applying them to open-ended problems.

      Students will be able to:
      • Gather factual information and apply it to a given problem in a manner that is relevant, clear, comprehensive, and conscious of possible bias in the information selected.
      • Imagine and seek out a variety of possible goals, assumptions, interpretations, or perspectives which can give alternative meanings or solutions to given situations or problems.
      • Analyze the logical connections among the facts, goals, and implicit assumptions relevant to a problem or claim; generate and evaluate implications that follow from them.
      • Recognize and articulate the value assumptions which underlie and affect decisions, interpretations, analyses, and evaluations made by ourselves and others.
    3. Natural Sciences
      Goal: To improve students’ understanding of natural science principles and of the methods of scientific inquiry, i.e., the ways in which scientists investigate natural science phenomena. As a basis for lifelong learning, students need to know the vocabulary of science and to realize that while a set of principles has been developed through the work of previous scientists, ongoing scientific inquiry and new knowledge will bring changes in some of the ways scientists view the world. By studying the problems that engage today’s scientists, students learn to appreciate the importance of science in their lives and to understand the value of a scientific perspective. Students should be encouraged to study both the biological and physical sciences.

      Students will be able to:
      • Demonstrate understanding of scientific theories.
      • Formulate and test hypotheses by performing laboratory, simulation, or field experiments in at least two of the natural science disciplines. One of these experimental components should develop, in greater depth, students’ laboratory experience in the collection of data, its statistical and graphical analysis, and an appreciation of its sources of error and uncertainty.
      • Communicate their experimental findings, analyses, and interpretations both orally and in writing.
      • Evaluate societal issues from a natural science perspective, ask questions about the evidence presented, and make informed judgments about science-related topics and policies.
    4. Mathematical/Logical Reasoning
      Goal: To increase students’ knowledge about mathematical and logical modes of thinking. This will enable students to appreciate the breadth of applications of mathematics, evaluate arguments, and detect fallacious reasoning. Students will learn to apply mathematics, logic, and/or statistics to help them make decisions in their lives and careers. Minnesota’s public higher education systems have agreed that developmental mathematics includes the first three years of a high school mathematics sequence through intermediate algebra.

      Students will be able to:
      • Illustrate historical and contemporary applications of mathematics/logical systems.
      • Clearly express mathematical/logical ideas in writing.
      • Explain what constitutes a valid mathematical/logical argument (proof).
      • Apply higher-order problem-solving and/or modeling strategies.
    5. History and the Social and Behavioral Sciences
      Goal: To increase students’ knowledge of how historians and social and behavioral scientists discover, describe, and explain the behaviors and interactions among individuals, groups, institutions, events, and ideas. Such knowledge will better equip students to understand themselves and the roles they play in addressing the issues facing humanity.

      Students will be able to:
      • Employ the methods and data that historians and social and behavioral scientists use to investigate the human condition.
      • Examine social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods and cultures.
      • Use and critique alternative explanatory systems or theories.
      • Develop and communicate alternative explanations or solutions for contemporary social issues.
    6. The Humanities and Fine Arts
      Goal: To expand students’ knowledge of the human condition and human cultures, especially in relation to behavior, ideas, and values expressed in works of human imagination and thought. Through study in disciplines such as literature, philosophy, and the fine arts, students will engage in critical analysis, form aesthetic judgments, and develop an appreciation of the arts and humanities as fundamental to the health and survival of any society. Students should have experiences in both the arts and humanities.

      Students will be able to:
      • Demonstrate awareness of the scope and variety of works in the arts and humanities.
      • Understand those works as expressions of individual and human values within a historical and social context.
      • Respond critically to works in the arts and humanities.
      • Engage in the creative process or interpretive performance.
      • Articulate an informed personal reaction to works in the arts and humanities.
    7. Human Diversity
      Goal: To increase students’ understanding of individual and group differences (e.g. race, gender, class) and their knowledge of the traditions and values of various groups in the United States. Students should be able to evaluate the United States’ historical and contemporary responses to group differences.

      Students will be able to:
      • Understand the development of and the changing meanings of group identities in the United States’ history and culture.
      • Demonstrate an awareness of the individual and institutional dynamics of unequal power relations between groups in contemporary society.
      • Analyze their own attitudes, behaviors, concepts, and beliefs regarding diversity, racism, and bigotry.
      • Describe and discuss the experience and contributions (political, social, economic, etc.) of the many groups that shape American society and culture, in particular those groups that have suffered discrimination and exclusion.
      • Demonstrate communication skills necessary for living and working effectively in a society with great population diversity.
    8. Global Perspective
      Goal: To increase students’ understanding of the growing interdependence of nations and peoples and develop their ability to apply a comparative perspective to cross-cultural social, economic, and political experiences.

      Students will be able to:
      • Describe and analyze political, economic, and cultural elements which influence relations of states and societies in their historical and contemporary dimensions.
      • Demonstrate knowledge of cultural, social, religious, and linguistic differences.
      • Analyze specific international problems, illustrating the cultural, economic, and political differences that affect their solution.
      • Understand the role of a world citizen and the responsibility world citizens share for their common global future.
    9. Ethical and Civic Responsibility
      Goal: To develop students’ capacity to identify, discuss, and reflect upon the ethical dimensions of political, social, and personal life and to understand the ways in which they can exercise responsible and productive citizenship. While there are diverse views of social justice or the common good in a pluralistic society, students should learn that responsible citizenship requires them to develop skills to understand their own and others’ positions, be part of the free exchange of ideas, and function as public-minded citizens.

      Students will be able to:
      • Examine, articulate, and apply their own ethical views.
      • Understand and apply core concepts (e.g. politics, rights and obligations, justice, liberty) to specific issues.
      • Analyze and reflect on the ethical dimensions of legal, social, and scientific issues.
      • Recognize the diversity of political motivations and interests of others.
      • Identify ways to exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
    10. People and the Environment
      Goal: To improve students’ understanding of today’s complex environmental challenges. Students will examine the inter-relatedness of human society and the natural environment. Knowledge of both bio-physical principles and socio-cultural systems is the foundation for integrative and critical thinking about environmental issues.

      Students will be able to:
      • Explain the basic structure and function of various natural ecosystems and of human adaptive strategies within those systems.
      • Discern patterns and interrelationships of bio-physical and socio-cultural systems.
      • Describe the basic institutional arrangements (social, legal, political, economic, and religious) that are evolving to deal with environmental and natural resource challenges.
      • Evaluate critically environmental and natural resource issues in light of understandings about interrelationships, ecosystems, and institutions.
      • Propose and assess alternative solutions to environmental problems.
      • Articulate and defend the actions they would take on various environmental issues.

Part 5. Minnesota Transfer Curriculum Memoranda
In the years following implementation of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum Agreement, several clarifications were made via Vice Chancellor memoranda.

  1. Recognition of World Language courses (November 8, 2013)
    Effective Fall 2013, all beginning and intermediate level world languages, including American Sign Language and Native American languages such as Anishinaabe and Ojibwe, may be included in any of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum goal areas, subject to the learning outcomes met by the course. World language courses shall no longer be restricted to Goal 8, and any world language course, like other courses, may meet the competencies for up to two goal areas (or three goal areas if one of them is Goal 2).

    The University of Minnesota will accept the entire Minnesota Transfer Curriculum as determined and documented by a college or university within Minnesota State. If a student has not completed the entire Minnesota Transfer Curriculum at a system college or university, the University of Minnesota shall determine how each course meets Minnesota Transfer Curriculum requirements, and therefore the student may not receive credit towards the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum for a world language course.

  2. Clarification of Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC) goal and course transfer (April 26, 2006)
    The Minnesota Omnibus Bill of 2001 states “...by January 1, 2002 the board must implement the Minnesota transfer curriculum at all state colleges and universities. Once a course has met the criteria necessary for inclusion in the Minnesota transfer curriculum in any area of emphasis, the course must be accepted for full credit in that area of emphasis at all Minnesota state colleges and universities.”

    Transfer of the Minnesota transfer curriculum must occur in each of the following three ways:

    • As an entire package--as per the original agreement. Completion of the transfer curriculum at one college or university within Minnesota State must be accepted as completion of the transfer curriculum at all colleges and universities within Minnesota State.
    • As a goal area--completion of a goal area of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum at one college or university within Minnesota State must be accepted as goal completion at all colleges and universities within Minnesota State.
    • As courses within goal areas–a completed course which is included as part of a goal area at the sending college or university must be accepted for full credit within the same goal area at the receiving college or university. When courses are recognized as meeting requirements for two different goal areas at a sending institution, the course must be accepted in transfer at the receiving institution for the same two goal areas.

    A Minnesota Transfer Curriculum course, goal area or the entire Minnesota Transfer Curriculum must transfer from one college or university within Minnesota State to another college or university within Minnesota State as determined by the sending college or university. Therefore, if a student is certified as completing a MnTC course or goal area by one college or university within Minnesota State, that course or goal area must be considered complete at all colleges and universities within Minnesota State.

    Two examples of the implications of the law and interpretation are as follows:

    • If the sending college or university within Minnesota State has certified that a transfer course from a college or university within Minnesota State or from any other college or university is equivalent to a course that meets MnTC goal competencies or completes a MnTC goal, then the receiving college or university within Minnesota State must accept the course for the same MnTC goal area(s) or consider that goal area to have been completed for the MnTC.
    • If the sending college or university within Minnesota State certifies that the writing competencies of Goal 1: Communications of the MnTC are complete with the one English Composition course required by the sending college or university, the writing competencies must be considered complete for the MnTC at the receiving college or university within Minnesota State, whether the receiving college or university requires one or more English Composition courses.

     

  3. Inclusion of upper division courses in the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (March 2, 2005)
    The mission statement of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum reads, “All competencies will be achieved at an academic level appropriate to lower-division general education.” (MnTC, 1994). The state universities, within their mission, have had a history of including general education courses throughout the four years of a student’s baccalaureate degree program. These courses have existed throughout the history of general education at our state universities. Therefore, it is realistic to consider that there are upper division courses that meet these competencies. It is not our intent to implement the MnTC in a manner that forces the state universities to redefine their missions or to redistribute their courses into only the first two years of a student’s education. It is more important that upper division courses designated for the MnTC are truly general education courses and meet the Guidelines for the Review and Design of a Minnesota General Education Transfer Curriculum. It is also to be understood that upper division course work must not be the only way for transfer students to meet any of the goal areas. Additional memoranda are available online and a list can be seen in the history of this guideline.

    Note: Current system transfer procedure 3.21.1 requires colleges and universities to look at what goal area(s) are met by a comparable course across the system before assigning goal areas to any new MnTC course.


Related Documents:

  • Board Policy 3.21 Undergraduate Course and Credit Transfer and the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum
  • System Procedure 3.21.1 Transfer of Undergraduate Courses, Credit, Associate Degrees and the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum
  • Operating Instruction 3.21.1.2 Course Equivalency Operating Instruction
  • Operating Instruction 3.21.1.3 Transfer Pathways
  • Checklist of evaluation criteria for courses to be included in the MnTC
  • Guidelines for the Review and Design of a Minnesota Transfer Curriculum
  • The Minnesota Transfer Curriculum Agreement
  • Memoranda about implementation of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum
  • ASA-2008-15: Inclusion of First Year World Languages in the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC), Revision of Guidelines for the Review and Design of a Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (Procedure 3.37.1) by Linda Baer, Minnesota State Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, October 14, 2008 - PDF
  • ASA-2007-22: Implementations of Policy 3.21 and Procedure 3.21.1 Undergraduate Course Credit Transfer and Policy 3.37 and Procedure 3.37.1 Minnesota Transfer Curriculum by Linda Baer, Minnesota State Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, December 20, 2007 - PDF
  • ASA-2006-07: Institutional Self Review of Minnesota Transfer Curriculum by Linda Baer, Minnesota State Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, May 19, 2006 - PDF
  • Inclusion of World Languages in the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum by Linda Baer, Minnesota State Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, March 15, 2005 (Revised March 17, 2005) - Word Document, PDF
  • Awarding of credit for prior learning by Linda Baer, Minnesota State Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, May 13, 2004 - Word Document, PDF
  • Inclusion of Intermediate Level World Languages in the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC) by Linda Baer, Minnesota State Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, December 13, 2002. - Word Document, PDF
  • Two-Year Certificate, Diplomas, Degrees, and Transfer by Linda Baer, Minnesota State Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, January 16, 2002. Memorandum
  • Minnesota Transfer Curriculum Legislation and Interpretation by Linda Baer, Minnesota State Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, November 13, 2001 - PDF
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Operating Instruction History:

Date of Adoption: 03/26/18
Date of Implementation: 03/26/18
Date of Last Review:

Date & Subject of Amendments:

No additional HISTORY.

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