Hard Core

Glenn Ricketts

In the past few weeks, terms like "rigor," "core curriculum" and "traditional humanities courses" have acquired new respectibility following publication of Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa's Academically Adrift, a book which bluntly describes the dismal state of Amercan undergraduate education. There's been a great deal of dismay and hand-wringing in higher education outlets, but surprisingly few outright denials insisting that everything's really OK. Perhaps we've finally reached a tipping point. If we have, I hope that this piece in yesterday's IHE augurs of things to come. The article favorably highlights the new strategic plan at Lynn University in Boca Raton Florida, where a new core curriculum centered on the traditional Great Works in the liberal arts and humanities will now be required of all undergraduates. Kevin Ross, Lynn's president, led the way in persuading his board to adopt the new strategic plan. It's modeled on the undergraduate program at St. John's College, Annapolis, where he obtained his master's degree. A similar excellent program, of course, has long been in place at Thomas Aquinas College in California. I hope that all of this means that the higher education establishment can't continue to avoid facing reality: the Emperor isn't wearing any clothes. The strategic plan at Lynn University indicates what we need to do about it.

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