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Core Curriculum Earns “A” Grade; Only Public University in the U.S. With Perfect Score

ACTA recognizes Christopher Newport's curriculum for addressing all priority subject areas.

  Thursday, September 19, 2019

Christopher Newport University’s innovative core curriculum has earned an “A” grade from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA). Only 22 universities in the nation, public and private, were so honored. Christopher Newport was the only Virginia public institution to earn an “A” and the only public university in the nation with a perfect score.

ACTA annually assesses the core academic requirements at 1,123 four-year institutions. Grades are based on whether universities require all students to take courses in seven subject areas as part of their general education programs: composition, literature, foreign language, U.S. government or history, economics, mathematics, and natural science. Christopher Newport’s rigorous core curriculum requires courses in all seven subject areas.

“Christopher Newport celebrates the values inherent in the liberal arts and sciences,” said President Paul Trible. “Our core curriculum provides a sound foundation in subjects vital to a comprehensive college education.”

Christopher Newport’s Liberal Learning Core Curriculum comprises a minimum of 40 semester hours of coursework, and includes Liberal Learning Foundations and Areas of Inquiry.

Liberal Learning Foundations introduce students to the expectations and habits of mind that are hallmarks of university life, and ensure their ability to communicate effectively, solve problems, and interpret and evaluate information.

The five Liberal Learning Areas of Inquiry introduce students to various modes of inquiry so that they may comprehend a range of scholarly approaches to knowledge and learning, including:

  • The historical and philosophical traditions that have shaped the Western world
  • The rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democracy
  • The interrelations within and among global and multicultural communities
  • The dynamics of the creative process
  • The scientific method

According to the ACTA analysis, most universities require students to take courses in composition and the natural sciences but curricular gaps are common everywhere else:

  • 82 percent of the schools surveyed do not require students to take a course in U.S. government or history
  • 43 percent do not require students to take a college-level mathematics course
  • 68 percent do not require students to study literature
  • 88 percent do not require intermediate-level foreign language courses
  • 97 percent do not require a course in economics

The grades are detailed in ACTA’s latest edition of its signature publication “What Will They Learn? 2019-2020” and on its website (link below).

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