Bluefield University in the News

Bluefield College Earns ‘A’ Rating for Core Curriculum

by | Jan 11, 2021

Bluefield, VAFor the eighth year in a row, Bluefield College has earned an “A” rating from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni for its outstanding core curriculum — a prestigious recognition reserved for 24 colleges and universities in the nation in 2020-‘21.

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) is a non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America’s colleges and universities. Launched in 1995, the ACTA is the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the country to support liberal arts education and to uphold high academic standards.

The ACTA’s “A” rating is associated with its “What Will They Learn?” project, designed to encourage colleges and universities to strengthen their core curricular requirements in order to provide students with a strong foundation of skills and knowledge. “What Will They Learn?” achieves that goal by shining a light on core requirements and making the information easily available to college-bound students, parents, high school guidance counselors, and higher education policymakers.

“‘What Will They Learn?’ looks at the most important data — the strength of a college’s education — to find out which institutions are providing real value for the vast amounts families must pay,” said Anne D. Neal, ACTA president. “Regrettably, very few are ensuring students have the solid foundation they will need for success after graduation.”

As part of its “What Will They Learn?” initiative, the ACTA surveyed more than 1,100 public four-year liberal arts institutions, along with private faith-based and non-faith-based colleges to evaluate whether they require seven key subjects in their general education curriculum: English composition, literature, intermediate-level foreign language, United States government or history, economics, mathematics, and science.

Only two percent of the more than 1,100 institutions reviewed — among them Bluefield College, Baylor University, the United States Air Force Academy, Pepperdine University, the University of Georgia, the United States Military Academy and other highly selective schools — earned the “A” rating. Some of the best-known schools, the ACTA noted, have “weak, if any, general education requirements.” For example, according to the ACTA, Johns Hopkins University does not require students to take a single class in any of the seven core subjects. Students at the College of William and Mary can graduate without taking a course in composition, literature or U.S. history, and at the University of Virginia, founded by Thomas Jefferson who believed in a strong liberal arts education, there are no requirements for U.S history, math, or literature.

“The pandemic is upending higher education and forcing families to pay more attention to the value proposition of a collegiate education,” says ACTA President Michael Poliakoff. “Students must be educated to think critically and be prepared to navigate an uncertain career path. The schools that score well in ‘What Will They Learn?’ graduate expert learners who are prepared for their first job and ready to confront the new challenges they will face in their fifth or tenth position. The ever-adaptable skill set provided by a liberal education equips graduates to thrive in a multitude of different fields and roles.”

“We are humbled in being recognized for this extraordinary achievement seven years in a row,” said Bluefield College president Dr. David Olive. “We are honored to receive this special recognition by ACTA for the exemplary general education core our students receive in preparing them to transform the world.”

In addition to the “A” rating for its core curriculum, the ACTA also noted, “Bluefield College offers every student a robust and coherent liberal arts education that ACTA recognizes for essential for success in the 21st century.”

For more information, contact Rebecca Kasey, director of public relations and marketing at [email protected]

Rebecca Kasey, Director of Public Relations & Marketing

[email protected]276.326.4212

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Do I have to take the classes specified in the Associate's Degree tracks as they are listed on the information sheet?

  • No. Students may take any of the courses that are offered in a given term.

Where do I find the textbook listing, and where do I purchase the books?

  • Log in to myBU, and under the "Student" tab, you will find a list of the textbooks required (if any) for each course. Students are responsible for purchasing their own textbooks.

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Does the student need to take the SAT or ACT in order to take Dual Enrollment classes?

  • No. If a student decides to study at BU full time, BU is currently test-optional for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle.

Are the classes live? Do students need to log in and participate at certain times?

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Are Early College students able to receive Financial Aid?

  • No. However, Early College courses are very affordable compared to other options. The cost for an online Dual Enrollment course is $100 per credit hour.

How do transferring credits work?

  • Each College or University completes a transcript review in order to decide which courses transfer. Sticking to general education classes generally makes transferring credits simple. All Early College courses at Bluefield University are general education classes that should transfer to another accredited institution.

Is an Early College student considered, and treated, as a transfer student when they become a full-time college student if they have earned enough credits to be a Junior?

  • No. Since they have not graduated from high school, they are considered a first-time college student regardless of how many credits transfer. However, by transferring credits when they enroll as a full-time student, they will have to take fewer classes to receive their bachelor's degree, which shortens the length of time to earn the degree.

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