WASHINGTON, DC—The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) today praised the State University of New York board of trustees for its decision to raise academic standards throughout the system. On December 15, in a 10-3 vote, the board agreed to overhaul undergraduate education by adopting a new core curriculum for all students, beginning with those entering in the fall of 2000.
“The SUNY board’s decision to adopt a rigorous core curriculum is a blow to the trend toward mediocrity,” said ACTA president Jerry L. Martin. “Strong core requirements ensure that every student is prepared to participate successfully in our economic and civic life. We are encouraging trustees across the country to follow SUNY’s example.”
Entering freshmen will now be required to take courses in math, natural sciences, foreign languages, Western civilization, humanities and the arts, social sciences and American history, as well as basic communication and reasoning, information technology and non-Western world civilizations. The SUNY administration will allocate resources to the individual campuses based on their implementation of the general education plan.
The board’s decision comes in the wake of a study issued last year by the Empire Foundation and New York Association of Scholars, SUNY’s Core Curricula: The Failure to Set Consistent & High Academic Standards, showing that curriculum requirements on some SUNY campuses were so permissive that many students could avoid taking any courses in many of the traditional core subjects.
“The SUNY board deserves a blue ribbon for taking bold and immediate action to see that future generations receive a sound educational foundation,” continued Martin. “The board’s action has put New York at the forefront of a national effort to raise academic standards. Other states will have to follow suit or be left in the dust.”
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to academic freedom and excellence. Its members include alumni and trustees from more than 200 institutions across the country. ACTA has organized a national network of college and university trustees committed to high academic standards and liberal arts education. ACTA encourages boards to become more active in monitoring the academic quality of their institutions. SUNY trustee Candace de Russy is a member of ACTA’s Trustees Council.