Trustees | General Education

Core curriculum wins B ranking for OSU, OU

NEW OK   |  August 19, 2009 by Susan Simpson

Oklahoma’s largest universities got better-than-average grades in a new report for requiring students to take an array of general education courses.

Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma are graded B for requiring five of seven core subject areas, according to the report “What Will They Learn,” by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni.

Both require general education courses in composition, science, foreign language, mathematics and American history or government. But OU and OSU do not require core courses in economics or literature, although they are among courses students can opt to take.

Only five of 100 universities in the report got a ranking of A, and none of those required all seven subject areas.

Council president Anne Neal said the report will help families compare academic standards when choosing colleges.

She said that information is lacking in reports like U.S. News and World Report, which looks more at things like reputation and alumni giving.

State colleges tended to score better than more expensive national universities, which may offer more classes but less course guidance, Neal said.

OSU Provost Marlene Strathe said because most people will change careers during their life they need a solid foundation.

“It’s the mark of an educated person that they are not narrowly prepared for a single profession but in fact have a broad range of interests and experiences.”

While the report could help in the college selection process, it is lacking, Strathe said.

“The limitation on this is that by simply identifying how many categories you offer or require says nothing about the quality of those offerings.”

OU President David Boren said he wasn’t familiar with the report, but OU has been lauded by other surveys for quality and affordability.

“The ranking just reaffirms the affordability rankings made of others on OU,” Boren said.


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