Baylor Named Again to "A" List for Core Curriculum

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Aug. 31, 2011

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Baylor University was one of only 19 institutions nationwide to earn an "A" for its high-quality core curriculum, according to What Will They Learn?, 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 1,007 four-year institutions that together enroll more than seven-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, U.S. government or history, economics, literature, math, science and foreign language at an intermediate level.

Baylor - on the "A" list for the second 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 made the "A" list.

More than 370 schools earned a "B" for requiring four or five core courses. More than 60 percent of all institutions received a "C" or worse for requiring three or fewer subjects. Twenty-nine percent of the institutions (294 schools) received a "D" or "F" for requiring two or fewer subjects.

When writing about Baylor, ACTA cited passages from the 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 found that slightly less than 20 percent of American colleges and universities require U.S. government or history, 15 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, characterized as having "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, 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.

Media contact: Lori Fogleman, director of media communications, (254) 710-6275

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