The University News (Irving, Tex.), Vol. 36, No. 12, Ed. 1 Tuesday, December 7, 2010 Page: 3 of 16
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The University News
December 7, 2010 — 3
UD gets an 'A' for its core requirements
The University of Dallas
was one of only 17
institutions given an "A"
in the American Council
of Trustees and Alumni's What
Will They Learn? project. What Will
They Learn? grades schools based
on their core requirements, for, as
their website says, "Many college
guides and ranking systems
measure institutions' prestige
and reputation, but no guide
has looked at what students are
actually required to learn. That's
what we are doing here."
ACTA is an independent, non-
profit organization committed to
academic freedom, excellence and
accountability at America's colleges
and universities," said Michael
Pomeranz, senior researcher at
ACTA. Launched in 1995, the
organization works with alumni,
donors, trustees and education
leaders across the United States
to support liberal arts education,
uphold high academic standards
and safeguard the free exchange
of ideas on campus.
What Will They Learn? includes
nearly all publicand private colleges
and universities in the nation who
claimed to be "liberal arts" schools,
excluding technical institutions and
trade schools. The grading criteria
depended on whether the schools
required courses in the following
seven subjects: composition,
literature (a general survey course),
foreign language (through the
intermediate level), U.S. history or
government, economics, college-
level mathematics and natural
or physical science. Institutions
received an "A" for the requirement
of six or seven of the courses; "B"
for four or five; "C" for three; "D"
for two; and "F" for one or none of
The former dean of Harvard
College, Harry R. Lewis, says in a
letter on the project's website: The
venerable and honorable notion of
general education' has, in other
words, been reduced to a game.
Students have to work their way
through a vast menu of general
education requirements, and do
their best to find courses that fit
the various categories as well as
their schedules. This is deplorable
indeed. At its best, general
education is about the unity of
knowledge, not about distributed
knowledge. Not about spreading
courses around, but about making
connections between different
Pomeranz said the organization
based its information on a detailed
study of each school's course
catalog, syllabi and any other
UD received an "A" for
requiring all of the courses
except composition, though its
profile on the project's website
includes a note saying, "Although
the University of Dallas does not
have a composition requirement,
significant writing instruction
is part of its Literary Tradition
sequence." Pomeranz said, "The
strong core at Dallas indicates that
all students will graduate knowing
the areas and skills they will use
their whole lives."
Other schools on the list include
Baylor University, University of
Texas at Austin, Thomas Aquinas
College and St. John's College,
among others. Many prestigious
schools, such as Harvard, Brown,
Yale and Georgetown, received
'D"s and "F"s, though "B" was the
most common grade received.
The study's results, according
to Pomeranz, are being distributed
to guidance counselors and college
trustees across the nation, so they
can see how their school stands
in relation to others around the
country. "Primarily, the response is
'add more schools,"' he said.
"We think trustees should be
concerned in ensuring that there's
a strong core curriculum at their
institutions," said Pomeranz, and
What Will They Learn? is trying to
ensure just that. To learn more
about the study, or to see which
schools received which grades,
PIANO from page 1
Swope was elected as a Student
Government representative last year, and
he immediately created an investigatory
committee to inquire into the removal of
the piano and the student response to
He conducted a poll of the students
to gauge their feelings about its removal.
"I did not ask students to sign a
petition," Swope said. "Rather, I wanted
to give people a chance to express that
they did not like the piano in Haggar.
However, I found that the results were
overwhelmingly in favor of having the
Though he did not seek a petition
drive to restore the piano, Swope said
that within a few days, he had nearly 200
signatures of people who wanted the
piano restored. Only eight people said
that they were glad the piano had been
Gigante has said that it is highly
doubtful the piano will make its way back
to Haggar. She has not, however, stopped
Gigante said she was disappointed by
the lack of a piano for public use. There
are a total of 10 pianos on campus, but
access to them is limited.
"It's unfair what students have to
do now," Gigante said. "To use a piano,
they have to go to one of the few dorms
that has a piano - if they can get in."
Jerome, Madonna and Theresa Hall each
has a piano. The pianos in the music
department are restricted to students in
Gigante said that the piano most
available to non-music students is in
Lynch Auditorium. But, because this
piano is so poorly kept, Gigante said that
it is "almost an embarrassment to have
So, is there a solution?
Gigante wants to have the piano
removed from storage and placed in the
New Residence Hall - or elsewhere on
campus where it would be available to a
great number of students without causing
disruptions. She hopes that this project
will be carried out by next semester.
"The students here are very musically
talented," Gigante said. "They should
have the means to express that talent
whenever they want."
Letter from the Editor
Whenever December rolls around, I can't help
thinking retrospectively. Of course it's the end of the
semester, so I'm reviewing material dating back to
September for finals. But December also means I'm
about to tear the last sheet off my calendar, and I can
take stock of the year as a whole. This year's end carries
added significance since it's my second-to-last semester
as a college student.
At this point, I've started to take stock of the many
other lessons I've learned outside the classroom. I've
had my share of successes and made my share of
mistakes in the past three-and-a-half years of college.
Through them, I've learned how to be responsible and
independent, and I've learned what it means to be a true
friend, among other things. This material will never be
covered on any sort of final examination, although in a
way, I imagine I'll be tested on it for the rest of my life.
Above all, I've realized that learning doesn't stop at
the classroom's threshold. So no matter where you are
in your life, I think it'll always valid to ask oneself the
following question: What have I learned this year?
This is the last issue of the semester, so on behalf
of the entire University News staff, I'd like to wish the
students good luck on their finals, and I'd like to wish
all of our readers a very Merry Christmas season.
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Chee, Gabbi. The University News (Irving, Tex.), Vol. 36, No. 12, Ed. 1 Tuesday, December 7, 2010, newspaper, December 7, 2010; Irving, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth201536/m1/3/: accessed December 13, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Dallas.