Students & Parents | General Education

Site ranks BU top seven nationwide

THE LARIAT   |  December 2, 2009 by Trent Goldston

Baylor was recently listed as a top-seven university nationwide according to the new college ranking Web site,

The Web site was launched by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and ranks universities based on the comprehensiveness of courses required by their core curriculum.

“Employers are increasingly dissatisfied with college graduates who lack the basic knowledge and skills expected of any educated person,” Anne D. Neal, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, stated in a press release. “If our students are to compete successfully in a global marketplace, we simply can’t leave their learning up to chance. As it is, thousands are paying dearly for a thin and patchy education.”

The new rankings are based on seven specific criteria to discern the effectiveness of a university’s core curriculum. These areas include writing composition, literature, foreign language, U.S. government or history, economics, mathematics and natural or physical science.

Only seven universities of more than 125 received an “A” rating. To receive an “A,” schools must require at least six out of the seven criteria areas in their core curriculum. None of the schools given an A required all seven criteria. Baylor was the only private school to receive an A rating. The only criteria Baylor failed to meet was the economics aspect.

West Point, Brooklyn College, Hunter College, United States Military Academy, the University of Texas and Texas A&M were also featured in the “A” list.

Mel Elfin, founding editor of U.S. News and World Report’s college rankings, gave insight on the usefulness of the new Web site in a recent press release.

“By focusing on what students are getting in the classroom, this new resource highlights what, in the long run, is far more important than the name of the institution on a graduate’s diploma,” Elfin said.

Dr. Larry Lyon, vice provost for institutional effectiveness, said the new ranking is a positve for Baylor.

Lyon was surprised how many top-ranked schools failed to meet the criteria of this study.

“Baylor has a pretty traditional curriculum,” Lyon said. “In the ’60s and ’70s, many schools changed to cafeteria-style type of curriculums, that was based on simply amassing enough hours to graduate.”

According to Lyon, these “cafeteria-style” curriculums allowed students to pick classes that sounded interesting or easy.

According to the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, out of the top 100 leading colleges, 42 received a “D” or an “F,” by requiring two or fewer of the seven criteria set forth by the new system.

Only two of the top 100 colleges required economics courses and 11 required American governments or history classes.

“This study demonstrates that our colleges and universities have abdicated their responsibility to direct their students to the most important subjects,” said Neal. “Most colleges are offering no more than a do-it-yourself education.”

Lyon said now the pendulum has swung back the other way, and people are seeing the benefits behind a strong core curriculum.

“If a person has a college degree, what should they know?” Lyon said. “Baylor tries to prepare broader educated and well rounded students.”

Bern, Switzerland junior Maya Frutiger said that this new ranking for Baylor gave her something to be proud of.

“If I were in high school and I heard Baylor was ranked top seven over other schools, it would really put Baylor into a whole another category of education,” Frutiger said.

“It makes me feel better knowing that I am graduating from a recognized school, and it makes me more confident putting the Baylor name on resume.”


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