A Perfect Score from the ACTA - Christopher Newport University


A group of students sit on the Great Lawn near a lamp post with a banner that reads 'Lead A Life of Significance' and in the distance is Christopher Newport Hall.

A Perfect Score from the ACTA

Christopher Newport is the only public university in the U.S. to earn an A for curriculum standards.

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Christopher Newport’s innovative core curriculum and rigorous academic standards have earned an A from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA). The organization based its grades for 1135 colleges and universities on whether students are required to study seven core subject areas:

  • Composition
  • Literature
  • Foreign language
  • U.S. government or history
  • Economics
  • Mathematics
  • Natural science

This year, 22 public and private institutions earned A grades, but Christopher Newport was the only public university in the country to earn top honors for requiring courses in all seven subjects.

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.
  • 96 percent do not require economics.
  • 62 percent do not require students to study literature.

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. This comprehensive program of study develops students’ capacities of empowerment, knowledge and responsibility. All coursework at Christopher Newport – whether in the Liberal Learning Core, in the major fields, or in electives or courses taken for a minor - seeks to introduce, reinforce and advance student aptitude in these primary capacities.

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 also 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

The grades are detailed in ACTA’s latest edition of its signature publication, “What Will They Learn? 2022-2023”, and on its website.

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