Philosophy Statement for General Education

The purpose of the Tennessee Board of Regents' general education core is to ensure that college students have the broad knowledge and skills to become life­long learners in a global community that will continue to change. Because courses in general education should emphasize breadth, they should not be reduced in design to the skills, techniques, or procedures associated with a specific occupation or profession. As a fundamental element of the baccalaureate degree, essential for full completion of all majors and minors, the general education core is included in lower division courses, but universities may add general education courses at the upper division as well.

General education provides critical thinking skills for analysis to continue to seek truths, to discover answers to questions, and to solve problems. Specifically, educated people practice and are literate in the various methods of communication. They recognize their place in the history, culture, and diverse heritages of Tennessee, the United States, and the world. They appreciate the web of commonality of all humans in a multicultural world and are prepared for the responsibilities of an engaged citizenship. They recognize the ethical demands of our common lives. They demonstrate the skills and knowledge of the social and behavioral sciences to analyze their contemporary world. They are familiar with the history and aesthetics of the fine arts. They understand and practice the scientific and mathematical view of the world.

Finally, Tennessee's general education core provides for its citizens the means to make a better living. It also, perhaps above all, enables its citizens to make a better life.

Current General Education Program Structure

 Tennessee Pathways Certification

The General Education program at each TBR college comprises 41 hours (out of 60 for the associate’s degree) from 6 categories:

  • Communication 9
  • Humanities/Fine Arts 9
  • Social/Behavioral Sciences 6
  • History 6
  • Natural Sciences 8
  • Mathematics 3

Each category contains a list of courses by college, which will satisfy the requirements for such category. 

TBR has begun a comprehensive review of its General Education Program, which is the first formal review of general education at the system level since the current General Education Program became TBR Policy in 2004. The mission is to construct a gen ed program framework that best meets the needs of all student populations, disciplines, and pathways including a clear structure of general education global learning outcomes. We will design a multi-year implementation strategy that aligns with the ongoing work at the 9 public universities in the state, addressing specific needs of the Tennessee Transfer Pathway model as well as general transfer dynamics. 

In addition to renovating the general education program framework, TBR seeks to effectively communicate the value of a holistic and integral general education program to students and community. Any reform must answer the question: How do we demonstrate its relevance, purpose, and benefit to the student’s personal and professional goals?

General Education Program Review Committee Structure