Students & Parents | General Education

Lamar outscores Harvard: Study grades schools on general education; LU gets an A

BEAUMONT ENTERPRISE   |  August 17, 2010 by Amy Moore

It’s rare that Lamar University and Harvard University are mentioned in the same sentence, but the results of a national study show the Beaumont university better prepares students than the Ivy League school in Cambridge, Mass. Lamar University earned an A in a study by the American Council of Trustee and Alumni that studied the state of general education courses designed to give college students a firm grounding in the areas of knowledge upon which they’ll build their education.

Sixteen schools nationwide earned an A.

Harvard earned a D.

Kevin Smith, senior associate provost at Lamar, said the study shows the standards the campus sets for students.

“Lamar core curriculum is fairly structured unlike that of Harvard and many other universities. Schools have moved away from that and given students more flexibility,” he said. “It’s something we’re very proud of.”

The organization looked at the core classes students are required to take at major public and private colleges or universities in all 50 states and determined what students will learn that will help them compete in the global marketplace and be lifelong learners.

At Lamar, students who study for any degree are required to complete six hours of history, political science, composition, literature, college algebra and lab science. Students must also take a fine arts elective, three hours of a social science, philosophy and communication.

“The point of the core curriculum is to have that strong foundation,” Smith said. “The idea is that the university education has a broad liberal arts and science base and on top of that base, students learn specialized skills.”

Smith said the university was pleased with the study’s results, but had no plans to make a big deal out of it.

“We’re not going to make more of this than necessary,” he said. “It’s like finding your name in print when you didn’t expect it and this put us in a good light.”


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