October 19, 2022

Purdue’s Cornerstone program highlighted in ‘Blueprint for Undergraduate Education’ report

Boyer 2030 Commission recognizes Cornerstone as a nationwide model for liberal arts education


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University’s revolutionary Cornerstone Integrated Liberal Arts program continues to draw national attention, this time from the Boyer 2030 Commission, which highlights the nationwide model aimed at developing creative thinking and communication skills across all Purdue academic majors.

The Boyer Commission, made up of a “diverse group of accomplished higher education leaders,” was tasked with developing a 2030 blueprint for undergraduate education at U.S. research universities. The report noted that “Cornerstone has reinvigorated the humanities in general education at Purdue and elsewhere (pg. 14).”

“We are proud that the Boyer Commission has singled out Cornerstone in its 2030 Blueprint for Undergraduate Education at U.S. Research Universities,” said David A. Reingold, Purdue’s Justin S. Morrill Dean of Liberal Arts. “I am particularly proud to see that the college’s decision to include a teaching commitment in Cornerstone’s first-year courses by our new tenure-track faculty hires is noted among the report’s recommended strategies for university leadership. We believe a faculty engaged in both undergraduate teaching and research reflects our duty as a public land-grant institution to educate students to be informed citizens.”

Furthermore, the report used the Cornerstone certificate as an example of why university presidents, chancellors and provosts should institutionalize equity and excellence in undergraduate education through faculty hiring practices: 

“For example, at Purdue University, new tenure-track hires in the College of Liberal Arts must commit half of their teaching to the Cornerstone program described above. As you approve hires and/or work with deans, departments, and faculty to set priorities and criteria for hiring, you have the opportunity and the power to break open the silos of departments in service to university mission (pg. 54).”

The Cornerstone certificate is a 15-credit-hour undergraduate program designed to develop foundational knowledge among all Purdue students. They read great books, also referred to as transformative texts, some of the greatest words spoken or written throughout human history. The two-semester, first-year sequence is taught by award-winning Liberal Arts faculty and builds critical thinking and communication skills while broadening students’ perspectives. More than 90 faculty in the College of Liberal Arts teach in Cornerstone. The first-year sequence is followed by three courses built around a series of themes selected by students. For the fall of 2022, more than 3,600 students are enrolled in the first-year sequence and nearly 800 for the full certificate.

In September 2020, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Teagle Foundation announced a $7 million endowment for Cornerstone: Learning for Living, a program model based upon Purdue’s Cornerstone Integrated Liberal Arts certificate. As a result, 35 universities are now using versions of Cornerstone, including Notre Dame, Stanford, Michigan State, Vanderbilt and Texas A&M. For more on the Cornerstone program click here.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the last five years as one of the 10 Most Innovative universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://stories.purdue.edu

Writer/Media contact: Trevor Peters, peter237@purdue.edu 

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