Letter to the Editor

General Studies degree is valuable, accommodating

Dear Editor:

There were several inaccuracies articulated in the Nov. 8 Daily Kent Stater article on the Regional Campus degree proposal that might cast a shadow on the integrity of the Bachelor of General Studies degree offered by the College of Arts and Sciences. As Coordinator of that program, I feel that discussion of these points — from the BGS perspective — should be heard as well.

The Stater notes that the Bachelor of General Studies was “recently enacted in the College of Arts and Sciences.” This is incorrect. The Bachelor of General Studies degree has been a part of the Kent State degree offerings for more than 30 years. However, a recent change in the BGS degree — the elimination of a 42-hour non-Arts and Sciences coursework restriction — has opened up the BGS program to serve more students. This 2006-07 catalog curricular modification was made by the College of Arts and Sciences with the encouragement of the provost to better accommodate students.

Students who have completed at least 60 credit hours can get a BGS evaluation report to determine remaining requirements, but Arts and Sciences advisers will discuss the BGS option with any student who wants to plan for the BGS as a degree outcome. It is untrue that “students often have to wait to take courses for the general studies degree.” The wide diversity of Kent State department and course choices is a definite advantage for the BGS student. And the 24-hour limitation on coursework applicable to the BGS is for a single academic department, not all technical coursework. There are a number of associate degrees where that single academic department is around or close to the 24-hour limit, so students with associate degrees could complete the BGS.

The Stater article also asserts that BGS students might not “encompass the skill-sets and knowledge that employers are looking for” because the students themselves design their own degrees. Considerable attention is given during our advising appointments to help students understand what it means to articulate the BGS degree to a potential employer — and to assist students with appropriate resources for their department and course choices.

While students do take responsibility for the design of their BGS proposals, they generally do not create their degrees in a vacuum! They are advised to consult with faculty advisers in their selected disciplines, advisers in the Career Services Office and employers in their chosen fields of endeavor. Students are encouraged and guided to develop appropriate competencies with substantive course choices — and they have the freedom within their BGS proposal to select necessary professional skill-sets in support of their career goals.

To quote several of our recent BGS Degree graduates: “All employers I have interviewed with have loved how well-rounded I am with the BGS degree.” And “This is a great degree for students who want independent choices and several areas of concentration.”

Holly C. Clark


Bachelor of General Studies