General Studies Academic Committees (GSACs)


The committee pages contain member listings with emails,
specific guidelines for courses submitted in the discipline area, and
other information pertinent to the on-going work of the committee.


Please select an item.



Composition and Terms of Appointment of GSACs

Each GSAC consists of a representative from each baccalaureate institution with a major program in the discipline appointed by the chief academic officer and an equal number of representatives from the non-baccalaureate institutions appointed by the Alabama Community College System.

All GSAC members must be qualified to teach in the particular discipline as defined by SACS standards and must be actively teaching in the discipline.

The AGSC will set no limit on the length of terms of GSAC members, for this will be determined by the baccalaureate institution, the Alabama Community College System, or the professional organization.

Each GSAC will elect a chair and a vice-chair, one of whom must be from a baccalaureate institution and the other from a non-baccalaureate institution. Officers will serve two-year terms, and the vice-chair will succeed the chair in that office.

Recommendations of the GSAC require a two-thirds majority vote, and members may vote by written proxy or by representative. In all matters regarding discipline templates, only representatives in the discipline from baccalaureate institutions will vote.


Roles and Responsibilities of GSACs

The General Studies Academic Committees will be responsible for the following:

  1. On-going review and recommendation for approval or disapproval of new courses from two-year and four-year institutions. NOTE: (In evaluating a course, a Committee is not to mandate a specific model, but to determine that the course is within the general parameters that the Committee has established and that it is broad enough in scope to meet the general studies designation.)
  2. On-going review of revised courses proposed by institutions as general studies courses in the discipline.
  3. Review previously approved courses under the following conditions...
    • when there is a significant change in the content of a course.
    • when the institution wishes a course to be considered for approval for a different AREA.
    • (or) when AGSC deems it appropriate to review a course.
  4. Annual review of the established discipline specific guidelines for their discipline.
  5. Bi-annual review of the discipline templates and development of new discipline templates, as necessary (Note: Only representatives in the discipline from baccalaureate institutions will vote on issues pertaining to templates).
  6. Continuing dialogue with the faculty in their discipline, campus curriculum committee(s), departments, and discipline organizations at their respective institution.
  7. Communicate with state professional organizations in the discipline where one exists.
  8. Provide an annual report to the Executive Director of the AGSC/STARS recapping activities and decisions of the committee for that academic year (Must be submitted annually by June 1).
  9. Other tasks as may be assigned by the AGSC.

In addition to the established responsibilities listed above, the AGSC would also encourage the academic committees to:

  • Study, discuss, and keep in touch with the changes in the field of study.
  • Sponsor periodic professional developmental activities for faculty in the field.
  • Create and maintain a communications network that provides for sharing and collaboration among faculty at different institutions.
  • Investigate and share information on research and good practices in the field.


Procedures and Meetings of GSACs

For each of the roles and responsibilities listed above, the STARS Office will initiate and monitor the procedure/process to see that these objectives are met. In most cases, STARS will send out requests to the chairs and the committee members in an electronic format. Chairs are strongly encouraged to use e-mail to facilitate action by committee members.

GSAC's are not required to hold face-to-face meetings in order to take action on proposals and templates. Chairs and committee members can use e-mail, telephone, faxes, or other electronic means to conduct their work.

Chairs of committees should maintain records of actions taken during the year so that they can provide an annual report to the Executive Director of the AGSC/STARS.