Trustees | General Education

Happy birthday William Shakespeare, colleges don’t care about you anymore

Apparently parting really isn't sweet sorrow – at least for the breakup between college English curriculum and The Bard.
USA TODAY   |  April 24, 2015 by Patrick Foster

A new study out today — the date considered most likely to be the Bard’s birthday — shows that less than 8% of top U.S. universities require English majors to take a class by the man often cited as the greatest English language writer of all time, William Shakespeare.

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni looked at 52 universities and liberal arts colleges ranked highest by U.S. News & World Report. The study, titled “The Unkindest Cut,” found that only Harvard University, University of California, Wellesley College and the United States Naval Academy required a Shakespeare course in their English departments.

In a news release, lead author Dr. Michael Poliakoff, says “Shakespeare is arguably the most consequential writer in the English language, and it’s astounding that literature majors — including future English teachers — are not required to take even a single semester-long college course on the subject.”

“Although it’s surely important for college students to study a wide array of literature from every part of the world, it is frankly ridiculous to be graduating future English teachers who have little more than a high school knowledge of Shakespeare,” said ACTA President Anne Neal in the same release.

“Many of these institutions brand themselves as places that provide a true liberal arts education, but this study shows that is too often a claim full of sound and fury and signifying nothing,” concluded Poliakoff.

Surely there is something Leonardo DiCaprio can do about this.


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