Jax State Unveils New General Education Program


by Buffy Lockette

After two years of research and planning – which included seeking feedback from the entire campus and surveying employers of its alumni – Jacksonville State has unveiled its new general education program: Jax MIX: Merging Innovation and eXperience.

Believed to be the first program of its kind in the US, the new general education program fully embeds badged microcredentials within general education. Jax MIX is designed to empower students to develop key skills valued by employers while collecting new credentials through a colorful badging system.

“We believe this will influence every JSU undergraduate student in a positive manner,” said Vice Provost Staci Stone, who led the initiative as part of the university’s accreditation reaffirmation efforts with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. “The committee believed if the general education program were revamped and branded, it would present a learner-centered student experience that would set JSU apart from other institutions.”

An extensive survey was conducted to identify the skills and knowledge most valued by employers of JSU graduates. Representatives from a variety of industries and sectors responded, ranking the following as top priorities:

  • Ethics
  • Critical Thinking
  • Communication
  • Professionalism
  • Creative Problem Solving
  • Leadership
  • Diversity
  • Civic Participation

Jax MIX includes all state-mandated educational requirements, arranged into a new structure with courses offered in the follow categories:

  • Experience: Behavioral sciences, social sciences, history
  • Communication: Math, speech, writing
  • Expression: Literature, fine arts, foreign languages
  • Inquiry: Physical, Earth and life sciences

Jax MIX also categorizes courses into clusters, so that students – while completing general education requirements – may achieve Focus options. Comprising a three-course cluster, the Focus is the basis for a badged microcredential. Upon completing a Focus track, students can earn microcredentials by attending three related events, completing a course project or community service project, and completing a reflection on their activities. The microcredential badges will be collected in an e-wallet, available to students even after graduation.

Microcredentials will be offered in:

  • Community Engagement
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Ethical Leadership
  • Global Connections
  • Media Literacy

“These courses contribute to the development of a strong educational foundation, preparing students for more specialized study in their chosen fields while helping them become informed, engaged citizens,” said President Don C. Killingsworth, Jr. “Overall, these required courses aim to produce graduates with a diverse skill set and a comprehensive understanding of the world around them.”

Jax MIX is going into effect in Fall 2024 with the incoming freshman class. Current students, however, are invited to review their transcripts and discuss with advisors their plan to seek microcredentials.

“For me personally, when my transcripts were evaluated with an eye towards the badges, I learned I had already taken courses that qualified me for Ethical Leadership and Media Literacy,” said SGA President Tierra Thatch, a pre-health biology major. “With my leadership experience on the SGA, if I attend some related events, I should be able to get those microcredentials on my resume. I highly recommend current students take a look at the program. The SGA is really excited about it.”

Learn more on the Jax MIX website.