The American Council of Trustees and Alumni gave the University of Houston-Victoria a “B” in its latest What Will They Learn assessment. Only three Texas universities received a higher grade.
For the past seven years, the council has assessed the comprehensiveness of general education requirements at higher education institutions across the nation.
In Texas, the “A’s” went to three private schools: Baylor, Houston Baptist and University of Dallas. Among the other schools scoring a “B” were the University of Texas at Austin, Texas State University, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Texas Tech University.
“While our four-year undergraduate students are eager to take classes in their majors, we realize having well-rounded knowledge in core subjects will be vital to their long-term success,” said Don Smith, UHV interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Developed by faculty members in our three schools, UHV’s core curriculum does a great job preparing our students for the future.”
UHV’s 42-hour core curriculum is based on a series of basic intellectual competencies –reading, writing, speaking, listening, critical thinking and computer literacy.
UHV faculty committees led the review, revision and implementation of the university’s core curriculum during the 2013-2014 school year. The current curriculum went into effect in fall 2014. The core captures the main criteria that the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board requires state institutions to have, said Ricardo Teixeira, chair of UHV’s Core Curriculum Committee and a UHV assistant professor of mathematics.
“All three schools teach the curriculum, and we have great channels of communication between the schools,” Teixeira said “This gives us a clear snapshot of how we are performing.”
The seven core subjects the American Council of Trustees and Alumni looked for were composition, literature, foreign language, U.S. Government or history, economics, mathematics and natural or physical science. Schools that required six of seven of the subjects received an “A.” Schools that required four or five earned a “B” and requiring three gave institutions a “C.”
UHV scored a four with requirements in composition, history, math and science. Teixeira said the committee constantly is reviewing course offerings based on students’ demand and faculty interest. As a result, Microeconomics and Macroeconomics courses recently have been added to the core, and there has been discussion about adding a foreign language component.
“We now have almost 40 different courses approved for our core,” Teixeira said.” Our challenge is to grow responsibly, maintaining the excellence we achieved during the past, and fulfilling more and more students’ needs.”
Based in Washington, D.C., the American Council of Trustees and Alumni is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering excellence and accountability in colleges and universities. To see the council’s full What Will They Learn assessment, visit whatwilltheylearn.com.