Baylor University Named to "A" List for Strong Core Curriculum

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Baylor University was named to ACTA's "A" list for the third consecutive year for its core curriculum requirements.
Oct. 11, 2012

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Baylor is one of only 21 U.S. institutions to earn top marks in report on core education requirements

WACO, Texas (Oct. 11, 2012) - Baylor University is one of only 21 institutions nationwide to earn an "A" for its high-quality core curriculum, according to a report on the state of general education at the nation's colleges and universities from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA).

The ACTA study - which can be found at www.WhatWillTheyLearn.com - looked at curriculum offerings at the major public and private colleges and universities in all 50 states - a total of 1,070 four-year institutions that together enroll more than 7 million undergraduate students.

Institutions are assigned a letter grade ranging from "A" to "F" based on how many of seven core subjects they require. Those subjects are: composition, literature, foreign language at an intermediate level, U.S. government or history, economics, mathematics, and natural or physical science.

Baylor - on the "A" list for the third consecutive year and one of less than 2 percent of all institutions to receive an "A" - requires that students take six of the seven core courses, with the exception of economics. No other Big 12 university and only three other Texas institutions - University of Dallas, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and the University of Texas at San Antonio - made the "A" list.

More than 400 schools earned a "B" for requiring four or five core courses. However, the study found that most universities - 61 percent - received a "C" or lower for requiring three or fewer subjects. Nearly 300 institutions received a "D" or "F" for requiring two or fewer subjects.

When writing about Baylor, ACTA cited passages from the university's College of Arts and Sciences website about Baylor's focus on the core curriculum:

    "The College of Arts & Sciences is the foundation upon which all Baylor students' educational experiences build. Skills in critical thinking, problem solving and oral and written communication are informed by introductory courses such as religion, literature, the arts, science, history and politics.

    "The College of Arts & Sciences exists to nourish students' individual lives, fostering their development as imaginative, engaged leaders who will use their skills and character to address the needs and challenges of the larger world."

The ACTA study also lauded Baylor as an institution with a "rich history and a strong commitment to the liberal arts," pointing out that the university's foreign language requirement "may be fulfilled by either studying one modern language or two of an impressive array of classical languages, which includes not only Latin, Greek and Hebrew but also Akkadian, Aramaic, Syriac and Ugaritic. Baylor's core curriculum also includes required courses in Theology and Fine Arts."

The ACTA study found that slightly less than 20 percent of American colleges and universities require U.S. government or history, less than 14 percent require intermediate-level foreign language and only 5 percent require economics.

A recent nationwide survey conducted for ACTA by Roper Public Affairs and Media found that 70 percent of Americans believe colleges and universities should require that all students take basic classes in core subjects.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, classified as such with "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest, continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Texas, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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