Press Releases | General Education

Christopher Newport University Becomes Only Public Institution in the Country to Earn a Perfect “A”

October 15, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC—The American Council of Trustees and Alumni today announced that Christopher Newport University is the only public institution in the United States to earn a perfect seven-out-of-seven score in the 2014-2015 edition of What Will They Learn?. The study of 1,098 colleges and universities peels away reputation to find out what value students are really receiving from college.
“CNU’s faculty and leadership used great professional judgment to define what it means to be college educated and what it means to be a graduate of CNU,” said Dr. Michael Poliakoff, director of the What Will They Learn? study. “It has set a new paradigm for public higher education, proving that an institution can strengthen its graduation rates and attract more applications while creating a thorough and rigorous education for all its students. Students, parents, and taxpayers can look at CNU as a model that other colleges should follow in order to prepare their graduates for the challenges of career and community.”
Only 23 institutions nationwide receive an “A” grade for requiring at least six of seven subjects that are essential to a liberal arts education: literature, composition, economics, math, intermediate level foreign language, science, and American government/history. Only three other institutions in the country, all of them private, share CNU’s distinction of a perfect seven-out-of-seven “A” rating: Thomas Aquinas College in California, University of Dallas in Texas, and Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in New Hampshire.
“CNU is different than many other colleges and universities because we care about minds and hearts,” said Paul Trible, CNU president. “Our purpose is to form good citizens and leaders. We want our students to lead lives of meaning, consequence and purpose. We call that lives of significance. That’s why at CNU we study the liberal arts and sciences and emphasize leadership, and that’s why we have a rigorous core curriculum.”
According to the study, only 38% of colleges nationwide require literature; 18% require U.S. history or government; 13% require foreign language; and 3% require economics.
The initiative to strengthen Virginia core requirements was largely spearheaded by the Beazley Foundation, led by its CEO Judge Richard Bray. The Beazley Foundation has supported the efforts of colleges across Virginia to establish outstanding general education requirements with the subjects outlined in the What Will They Learn? study.

Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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