Trustees | General Education

Higher Learning: Not So Great

WASHINGTON TIMES   |  October 17, 2017 by Jennifer Harper

A meticulous survey of education curricula among 1,100 American public and private colleges and universities reveals that the majority of the schools require students to study composition, math and science. Only 17 percent require students to take a course in American government or history, 12 percent ask them to study a foreign language, and a scant 3 percent require students to take economics.

“With so much public concern for how our universities prepare students for today’s economy and electorate, it is remarkable how many institutions are failing to require the foundational content that equips future graduates with the skills they need for career readiness and engaged citizenship,” says Eric Bledsoe, vice president of curricular improvement for the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, which conducted the research.

Without a structured curriculum or thoughtful counseling, many students flounder amid thousands of random courses and ever-rising tuition, the nonprofit notes in its study.

“The weakness in general education requirements may also bode ill for our civic processes. Media outlets continue to draw attention to high-profile disinvitations of speakers and violent campus disruptions. Surveys show widespread ignorance on campus of how our institutions of government work, and document college students’ growing disregard for the core freedoms of speech and press,” the group says.


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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