Bluefield, VA – For the eighth year in a row, Bluefield University 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 University, 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 University 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 University offers every student a robust and coherent liberal arts education that ACTA recognizes for essential for success in the 21st century.”