Senate Document Number 6800S

Date of Senate Approval 5/4/00

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Statement of Faculty Senate Action:

UPC 5:   Proposed Distance Education Philosophy Statement

Proposed Distance Education Philosophy Statement

UNCA's distance learning policy must accomplish two goals. First, distance education should defend the integrity of the traditional liberal arts emphasis which is the foundation of UNCA's mission. This commitment to liberal education manifests itself in both curriculum structure and the learning environment. Second, distance education should capitalize on the increasing opportunities generated by information technology. As information technologies become an integral part of society, it is incumbent on UNCA as a public university to exploit their advantages, to improve its educational efforts, and to prepare its students to use them effectively and wisely.

A Liberal Arts degree from UNCA indicates that students have sufficiently mastered the university's core general education requirements, a set of specialized and coordinated courses constituting the major, and a group of electives which supplement the student's interests. UNCA's teaching emphasis has created a tradition of collaborative learning. One of the characteristics of a liberal education generally, and of UNCA's approach specifically, is extensive face-to-face interaction among students and between students and teachers. UNCA faculty believe extensive personal contact is essential to developing intellectual skills and humanistic values. Distance education should be incorporated to the degree to which it enhances this learning environment and helps the institution achieve its goals.

Since UNCA is committed to developing distinctive programs which enhance its mission, distance learning technologies should be exploited when appropriate. Generally, the university administration is responsible for monitoring trends and developments in distance learning, keeping faculty abreast of important UNC system policy requirements and regulations, and providing faculty and students with the resources and incentives essential to taking full advantage of information technology. Because UNCA faculty are selected for their commitment to both teaching and UNCA's liberal arts mission, it is their responsibility to ensure that the implications of the information revolution are fully understood by students and that new technologies are employed in ways consistent with the university's mission and Guiding Concepts.