Study shows Pennsylvania universities struggling with liberal studies programs

Published by adviser, Author: Jonathan Janasik - News Editor, Date: November 8, 2012
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The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) gave SRU a ‘C’ on a report card released Monday that graded the quality of the liberal arts program.

ACTA describes themselves as, “an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America’s colleges and universities.”
The group has rated about 1,070 institutions based on which classes students are required to take. These key courses include English composition, literature, foreign language, U.S. government or history, economics, mathematics, and science.

While the group’s requirements for English composition, literature, and science were fulfilled by SRU, points were taken off because foreign language classes are only required for students working on B.A. degrees.

ACTA also noted that SRU’s mathematics requirements can be completed by taking classes with small amounts of college-level math content, U.S. government or history courses could be completed by taking courses that are not in the history department, and no economic classes are required at all.

“Even as our students increasingly need broad-based skills and knowledge to succeed in the global marketplace, our colleges are failing to deliver,” the ACTA website states. “Topics like U.S. government or history, literature, mathematics, and economics have become mere options on far too many campuses. Not surprisingly, students are graduating with great gaps in their knowledge and employers are noticing. If not remedied, this will have significant consequences for U.S. competitiveness and innovation.”
The ACTA website stated that the report cards are important to raise awareness in the communities in order to motivate trusties and alumni to demand higher standards to higher education institutions.

Jennifer Keller, Assistant Dean for the College of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts stated that she thinks SRU’s liberal arts program is good because it allows students to choose which classes they want to take.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Keller said. “Particularly in the area of the enrichment classes. Those enrichment classes are allowing students to go outside their majors and have other experiences in other disciplines that compliment their degree courses.”
The website can be found at www.whatwilltheylearn.com.

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