Press Releases | General Education

ACTA Announces New Campus Hidden Gem

January 18, 2021 by ACTA

Washington, DC – In 2019, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) began the Hidden Gems initiative. The Hidden Gems initiative directs the attention of students to exceptional honors programs grounded in the study of American government, history, and the Great Books at affordable public and private colleges nationwide. The newest Hidden Gem is the Primary Texts Certificate program at Kansas State University.

The Hidden Gems project dovetails with ACTA’s annual What Will They Learn? report, which assesses general education requirements at colleges and universities across the country. Each Hidden Gem requires students to complete a rigorous curriculum designed to inspire wide-ranging inquiry on questions about human nature, while building a community of learners who are academically engaged inside and outside of the classroom. 

Kansas State University’s Primary Texts Certificate program emphasizes the study of original works instead of textbooks, equipping students with “the intellectual flexibility to be a lifelong learner, an attribute highly valued in the workforce in today’s rapidly changing economy.”

“Too many students wander through their college years, sometimes at highly prestigious institutions, without the structure and mentorship that shapes intellect and character,” said ACTA President Michael Poliakoff. “By raising public awareness of excellent Hidden Gem programs, ACTA hopes that more students will benefit from an education of great and enduring value.”

A well-designed liberal arts curriculum cultivates the abilities that employers say they prize above all, including a capacity for critical analysis, excellent oral communication skills, the ability to express complicated ideas in elegant and precise prose, and intercultural fluency. The campus programs acknowledged as Hidden Gems help to ensure that students will develop these essential skills in addition to a major field of study.

MEDIA CONTACT: Connor Murnane
PHONE: (202) 798-5450


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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