General Studies BGS American Studies (BGS)
In support of the mission of BYU and the Aims of a BYU Education, the Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) program extends the resources of BYU beyond Provo, to former BYU students who have been away from the university for some time and are unable to return to campus to complete a degree. The major is general studies, with a 30-credit emphasis in one of eight areas of study, American studies being one of those emphases. The program is not available to current BYU students.
The BGS degree is a flexible, largely off-campus program that draws from the same BYU curriculum that is offered on campus and requires the same general education, religious education, and campus residency as on-campus degrees. However, having previously completed at least 30 hours of on-campus courses as an admitted day student, BGS students can complete the remaining credits through Independent Study. BGS students may also enroll in Evening Classes, at the BYU Salt Lake Center, and on campus during spring and summer terms.
1. BGS General Learning Outcomes
BGS Learning Outcome - Aims of a BYU Education
Reflect on and describe how their coursework in the BGS program has contributed to the aims of a BYU education:
- Spiritually strengthening
- Character building
- Intellectually enlarging
- Preparing for lifelong learning and service
2. American Studies Emphasis Learning Outcomes
Demonstrate an understanding of the multifaceted nature of American culture and identity.
Demonstrate an understanding of the major events in American history such as its social, political, economic, or literary aspects.
Recognize the interdependence of culture and politics in American life and history.
Evidence of Learning
Student Development 490 is a required BGS capstone course with four components:
- Emphasis Paper (Outcome 2)-The student writes an eight- to ten-page paper responding to an emphasis-specific question. The student is required to: (a) integrate learning from the emphasis courses taken, (b) follow the APA or MLA style manual, and (c) include appropriate citations from three to five sources, one of which must be recent. The paper will include references to at least ten sources and a bibliography of works referenced. Randomly selected papers will be scored for writing and critical thinking according to published criteria that students receive at the beginning of the BGS program.
- Two Sample Papers or Projects (Outcome 2)-The student submits two papers or assignments completed in emphasis courses that demonstrate one or more of the emphasis learning outcomes. Randomly selected papers will be scored for writing and critical thinking according to published criteria students receive at the beginning of the BGS program.
- BYU Aims Summary Portfolio (Outcome 1)-Upon completing each course in the BGS program, the student analyzes it in light of the BYU Aims and creates a portfolio entry noting the specific Aims filled and the particular aspect of the course that contributed to each Aim identified. As part of the capstone course, the student submits a portfolio summary in which he or she synthesizes their BGS experience with reference to the Aims. The BGS office will continuously aggregate and report data from the portfolio summaries.
- BYU Aims Reflective Paper (Outcome 1)-Drawing from the portfolio summary, the student writes a six-page reflective paper,showing how the Aims of a BYU Education were or were not met by thecoursework completed. Randomly selected reflection papers will be scored for writing ability according to criteria that students receive at the beginning of the BGS program.
- BGS Alumni Survey
- Exit Interviews with Discontinuing Students
- Retention and Graduation Rates
- Independent Study Course Evaluations
Learning and Teaching Assessment and Improvement
With the guidance and approval of the BGS Faculty Advisory Committee, the Bachelor of General Studies Department and the Continuing Education assessment officer will:
- Review Student Development 490 results annually
- Develop an action plan based on the analysis of student work and feedback in Student Development 490
- Work with academic departments, faculty, and Independent Study to adjust the BGS curriculum to more effectively achieve the student learning outcomes
- Regularly review instructions to BGS students and make necessary adjustments to the assessment process