General Education at Mid

The General Education Program at Mid is designed to help students succeed in whatever they decide to do when they leave Mid. Our General Education Program is designed to help you succeed wherever you go after Mid.

We are committed to providing intellectual skills that are necessary whether a student is interested in transferring to a four year school or pursuing one of the many excellent A.A.S. degrees at the college and joining the workforce. In either case, success will depend on more than the specialized or applied knowledge the student acquires.

A green bar inforgraphic that shows the goal of being able to apply knowledge across a variety of situations with a significant amount of skill

Learning to solve unstructured problems in multiple contexts and environments, developing the ability to appreciate and benefit from diverse perspectives, understanding technology and research, developing collaborative learning skills and using them to articulate ethical positions, and demonstrating fluency in communication and quantitative reasoning are essential no matter what the future holds. At Mid, our faculty are dedicated to providing learning environments where our students can master these skills. The General Education Program at Mid provides students with the broad knowledge and skills to be successful in life as well as their career.

The college believes in producing “T” shaped learners and professionals.

The program of study will provide a student with the deep and specific knowledge required to join a profession or area of advanced study. But success also requires the broad knowledge and skills required to work and communicate with others and to solve organizational and cultural problems that are unpredictable and unstructured. The model of this kind of student/professional is represented by the graphic on the right side of this page.


The assessed outcomes of the General Education Program are the Intellectual Skills listed in the Degree Qualification Profile (DQP). They are as follows:

  1. Analytic Inquiry: Student will, in a variety of settings and contexts, demonstrate the ability to “frame a problem or question” and “distinguishes among elements of ideas, concepts, theories, or practical approaches to the problem.” As with all the skills listed here, this skill is taught in multiple courses, disciplines and contexts.
  2. Use of Information Resources: Student will find and use information “either in a specialized field or in respect to a general theme in the arts and sciences.” They will cite these sources and learn to evaluate their value and validity.
  3. Engaging Diverse Perspectives: Student will develop the ability to “describe how knowledge from different cultural perspectives might affect interpretations of prominent problems,” as well as understand “his or her own perspective on selected issues.”
  4. Ethical Discourse: Student will “describe the ethical issues present in prominent problems,” and engage in dialog that sharpens their understanding of their ethical positions and those of others in the dialog.
  5. Quantitative Fluency: Student will present “accurate interpretations of quantitative information” in a variety of contexts and applications and “create and explain graphs and other visual depictions.”
  6. Communicative Fluency: Student will communicate “orally or in writing” to “general and specialized audiences” in ways that are “cogent, coherent and substantially error free.” This includes discussion and the ability to listen.
* All quoted material from the Lumina Foundation material on the DQP

Layers of Assessment

There are two layers of assessment in the courses that make up the General Education Program. The first level is the content--or Broad and Integrative Knowledge--in the course. The second is the Intellectual Skill(s) that the course is targeted to teach.

  1. Broad and Integrative Knowledge: The content of the course is assessed by faculty in the content area using instruments appropriate to the field or discipline. These results are part of the Program Review in that area and are reviewed by the area faculty and their Dean.
  2. Intellectual Skills: The intellectual skills assessed in General Education courses are assessed using artifacts generated by the student and normed by the faculty teaching in that content area. The results are discussed by the faculty in the content area and then presented every year to the General Education Committee for further discussion and tuning.

Customized to Your Degree

The General Education Program is customized to fit two different kinds of degrees. In both of its iterations, however, it teaches and assesses the same general education skills. The difference is in the course requirement for different degrees:

  • Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degrees: These degrees are programs that end in a degree that prepares students to enter the workforce. In these degrees, there are a limited number of credit hours available for General Education. General Education courses in these degrees tend to be more interdisciplinary, and students have more limited options. The requirements consist of a first level of courses: English 111, Speech 101, and a Math course chosen by the program faculty. They also include a technology competency that is either satisfied by CIS 100 or course work defined by the program faculty. The second level consists of interdisciplinary courses in Science (SCI 200), Social Science (SSC 200) and the Humanities (HUM 200). There are some exemptions and waivers involved, so a student should always work with an advisor to ensure the most efficient and accurate schedule.
  • Associate in Arts (A.A.) and Associate in Science (A.S.) Degrees: These degrees are designed for students who intend to transfer to a four-year institution. Accordingly, the options in these degrees are more varied and allow students to pick courses specific to the transfer institution and the major of their choice. In addition, the Michigan Transfer Agreement (MTA) plays a role in determining which courses a student should take. Here again, there is the expectation that a student will complete English 111, Speech 101 and a transferable level Math course (e.g., Math 107). The electives in Science, Math and the Humanities and Arts still must meet a distribution (so many courses in each area), but there is much more flexibility on the part of the student. All courses are assessed as part of the General Education Program and include the skills and outcomes listed above. These students should especially work with an advisor at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure the most efficient and timely path to their goals.


“Why do I have to take these classes that don’t apply to my major?” is often the question students ask.

Where major requirements are intended to provide a student with a depth of knowledge in a specified field of study, general education requirements are intended to provide students with a breadth of knowledge. General education is crucial to developing students’ soft skills such as communication, writing, critical thinking and having a global understanding of the world around them.

You’ve probably heard that college will make you a “well-rounded individual.” This is due largely to the general education you receive along with your specialized courses. You might think the courses directly related to your program of study are most important, but many sources agree GenEd courses are just as important and carry value that other courses might not provide. A study from the Association of American Colleges & Universities revealed that nine out of ten employers seek candidates with knowledge and skills gained from a GenEd curriculum.

Employers want employees who can work with others. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a job that does not require you to work with people. This is why interpersonal communication and teamwork practiced through collaborative group activities and assignments are key to developing some of the most sought-after skills employers want

People change careers many times throughout their lives. Job dissatisfaction, outsourcing, lay-offs, shut-downs, and other factors might force a worker out of their job. Your GenEd has you covered with core proficiencies that apply to the widest range of possible job opportunities.

When will I ever use this math?

The general need to be quantitatively fluent is self evident in our society. Wherever you go, you are confronted with numbers and having to use numbers. The interesting questions are “Why do I need these particular math skills?” and “Why do I need the formal algebraic skill set?” The answer to those questions is that math (in particular algebra) is an abstraction of things happening in the real world. So you can use mathematical and algebraic skills across a variety of disciplines. Moreover math develops the logical skills and the attention to process that make one a successful problem solver. These traits are highly desired and highly needed in society.

Why am I reading and writing about adult learning in Freshman Composition?

The more students learn about their own learning, the more successful they can become in school and in their careers. Most students are correct to assume they won’t be writing essays in their future careers, but they likely will in future classes. There are very few jobs that require no writing and no jobs in which you won’t communicate with other people. Your interaction with the world around you requires communicative fluency and analytic inquiry. Being able to question sources of information and formulate sentences, written or verbal, in a way that makes logical sense to the recipient of your messages are crucial skills in every aspect of your life.

I’m not going into the sciences, so why do I need Science 200?

Science, Technology, and Society gives students the opportunity to practice the literacies and leadership skills many employers seek by emphasizing presentations and student-led discussions. Because science and technology have become so completely integrated into the fabric of worklife, knowledge of and proficiency in those areas become essential for success now and in the future.

When will I ever use the Social Sciences or the Humanities?

Every day. The Social Sciences and the Humanities both study what it means to be human but from very different approaches. As students are exposed to these various perspectives, they develop more methods for interpreting and synthesizing sources of information, which is a key skill for the workforce. Studying the institutions, systems, policies, cultures, and histories of our world helps cultivate the reflective practices and attitudes necessary for becoming an informed citizen.


Note: External Linked Resources

“8 Characteristics Great Managers Look For in College Grads”

"Endogenous Complexity, Specialisation and General Education"

“Falling Short? College Learning and Career Success”

“Gen Eds - Are They Worth It?”

"General Education: Learning from the Past, Preparing for the Future."

“Overconfident Students, Dubious Employers”

“Skills Employers Want in College Graduates”

“The Value of General Education”

“The Value of GE or the Answer to ‘Why Do I Need to Take This Classes?”

“Top Advantages of General Education Requirements in College”

“Top Skills and Attributes Employers Look For”

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