Only College in the Country to Require Study in All 7 Subject Areas
(SANTA PAULA, Calif.) -August 18, 2010- Each year at this time, various college ranking services and guides are published, evaluating many of the nation's more than 4,000 colleges and universities according to various criteria: cost, availability of financial aid, rowdiness of the social life, caliber of professors, etc. This year, for the first time, the Association of College Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) has introduced to the mix, through its website www.whatwilltheylearn.com, a "report card" that assesses 714 of the country's major public and private institutions of higher learning on one aspect only - the substance of their required curricula and texts. ACTA's website allows one to locate and compare schools by name, region, or state, and assigns grades from "A" to "F" to schools based on the content of their required curriculum. Sixty percent of schools received a grade of "C" or worse, while only slightly more than 2% of schools - Thomas Aquinas College among them - received an "A."
Commenting on this new study, ACTA says, "Unique among the major college guides, our grades were developed based on applying objective criteria to institutions' curricula." To that end, ACTA identified 7 areas of study essential for American undergraduates: composition, literature, American history, foreign language, mathematics, science, and economics. The more areas of study required by a college or university, and the more substantive the required reading in these areas of study, the higher the grade a school received from ACTA. Not only is Thomas Aquinas College one of a mere 16 in the country to receive an "A," it is the only institution in the country that requires its students to study in all 7 areas identified by ACTA.
Says Dean of the College, Brian Kelly, "It did come as a bit of a surprise to find that we alone in the country are fulfilling ACTA's paradigm core curriculum. On the other hand, a core curriculum based on the great books is all that we offer here - there are no electives. We aim not at vocational training but at the education of the whole person, one that will serve as an intellectual and moral foundation for the whole of our students' lives. The irony is that this rigorous, classical education also enables our alumni to enter the best graduate schools in the country and to excel at a wide variety of professions, from law and medicine, to journalism, public policy and military service."
Orientation for freshmen at the 4-year, Catholic, co-educational school begins on August 19. Returning students will arrive throughout the weekend from across the United States and from countries as diverse as Argentina, Australia, Ireland, and Canada. On August 23, the college will hold its annual convocation day, beginning with a Mass of the Holy Spirit in the school's new Chapel of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, to be offered by Bishop Edward J. Slattery of Tulsa, Okla. A formal matriculation ceremony will follow in the St. Joseph Commons at which new faculty member Dr. Chris Oleson will take the oath of fidelity. One hundred three freshmen are then expected to sign the College's official registry. Classes will commence on Monday evening,August 23.