This spring, graduates throughout America will exit their institutions with diplomas that signify little about real learning. But Wyoming Catholic College, my institution, is immune to this disconnect. When 31 students graduated from Wyoming Catholic on May 12th, they held a weighty diploma. Why? Because the college’s core curriculum has sacrificed neither great books nor—and … Continue reading “At This New College, Yes to Latin and Hiking but No to Cellphones and Federal Aid”
Law school faculties hold a sacred trust. We guard the outermost portals into the legal profession, a group that wields powers to shape society in profound and lasting ways. Several years ago, the law faculty on which I serve decided to fulfill our trust by educating lawyers in the great tradition of the liberal arts—to … Continue reading “Law Schools Guard Entry to the Profession and Should Teach Virtue”
Recently, a general education course at UNC-Chapel Hill, “Big-Time College Sports,” was canceled. This sparked controversy after the course’s professor, Jay Smith, argued that the class, which he had taught in previous semesters, was axed because its treatment of Chapel Hill’s recent academic/athletics scandal cast the university in a negative light. Lost in much of … Continue reading “Study Only What You Want? Not If You Want to Be Successful”
Legal education has become a surprisingly regular topic of news media for several years now. Most of this commentary has focused on enrollment and matriculation problems, bar passage rates, accreditation standards, student debt, and the job market for recent graduates. These are pressing issues that raise vexing questions for law school administrators, and they warrant … Continue reading “Making Legal Education Great Again”
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) advises trustees and alumni about higher education issues, identifies “oases of [educational] excellence,” and examines graduation requirements at various colleges to answer the question “What Will They Learn?” In that report, ACTA scrutinizes each college’s curriculum, looking for seven requirements: composition, literature, foreign language, U.S. history, economics, … Continue reading “A New College Makes the (ACTA) Grade”
RALEIGH – General-education requirements at 11 University of North Carolina institutions are weak, according to a new study commissioned by the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. UNC students are seven times more likely to be required to take a cultural diversity course than they are to study a foreign language, unlikely to be required to study Western history or civilization or even introductory literature, and not required at all to study United States history.
Colleges and universities ought to provide their students with a well-rounded education that will equip them for good citizenship and a productive life. Historically, many schools have done that by establishing a core curriculum of courses covering the fields of knowledge that an educated person should be familiar with: American history, the classics of our literature, natural science and mathematics, logic, fine arts, and the social sciences. Throughout the UNC system, few schools insist that their students take courses that would be regarded as crucial components of a sound education.
Over a hundred faculty worked with a handful of students and staff members at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to produce a proposed new general education curriculum for the university.
Their report, “Making Connections: An Initial Proposal to Revise the General Education Curriculum,” is a significant step toward the first major overhaul of UNC-CH’s general education curriculum since 1980.
About every year or so, a group interested in education reform will poll college seniors about ought-to-be-well-known facts concerning American history, politics, and other subjects. These invariably find about the same thing: in those subjects, students know surprisingly little.