Only 3.3 percent of colleges require students to take a basic economics course, a new report finds.
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni released an annual study titled “What Will They Learn?” on Wednesday, which criticizes colleges and universities for not requiring several basic courses the group feels are essential for a modern liberal arts education.
ACTA looked at 1,098 colleges and universities. The organization found 3.3 percent require an economics class, 18.3 percent require a U.S. government or history class, and 37 percent make students take a literature course.
“There is no agreement about what specific subjects ought to be taught under the heading of ‘liberal arts,'” ACTA concedes in the report, “but the goal has always been the same: imparting the skills and knowledge needed for success in career and community and the ability to understand and appreciate the human condition.”
ACTA dings schools like Richard Stockton College for allowing students to meet the “Historical Consciousness” requirement with a class called “Vampires: History of the Undead,” and Middlebury College for letting students check off the “Historical
Studies” requirement with “Mad Men and Mad Women,” based in part on the AMC TV show, “Mad Men.”
Yet it praises colleges like Regent University and Bluefield College for earning an A grade from ACTA, while noting Christopher
Newport University is the “first public university in the nation to meet (and exceed) all seven of the What Will They Learn? core requirements.”
Only 23 schools, or 2.1 percent, earn an A from ACTA. Another 389, or 35.4 percent, collect a B from ACTA. Each school that was surveyed has a rating included in the report.