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The National Society of ACTA Scholars

The National Society of ACTA Scholars is an honors society that recognizes and promotes achievement in liberal learning. Graduates gain admission to the society after completing rigorous studies in the arts and sciences within a collegiate program distinguished for its dedication to liberal arts education.  

A well-designed college or university education prepares students for rewarding careers, informed citizenship, and meaningful participation in their communities. As Sir Francis Bacon observed, “Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.”

Such programs are rare today, although they are more important than ever. That is why ACTA encourages college-bound students to pay careful attention during the process of selecting a school to the core curriculum of the institutions they are considering. That is also why ACTA recognizes through the National Society of ACTA Scholars outstanding collegiate programs and graduates who devote themselves to the liberal arts and sciences.

Prospective employers will know that those admitted to the National Society of ACTA Scholars are intellectually ready to acquire new skills that a dynamic, global economy demands, capable of critically assessing complex information, and well-trained in the clear and persuasive writing essential for success in all endeavors. ACTA Scholars have gained the skills and knowledge that will enable them to forge solutions to the challenges of the future.

Beyond preparing students to succeed in their careers, the liberal arts education of ACTA Scholars makes them ready for effective and informed participation as citizens and members of their communities. They have gained a foundation in the arts and sciences that equips them for lives that are enriched through the lifelong exploration of humanity’s past and an informed curiosity to embrace its present and future.


Admission to the National Society of ACTA Scholars is reserved for graduates of universities, or academic programs, that require students to complete an "A" education in the What Will They Learn? core. These curricular standards were developed by ACTA’s Council of Scholars in 2009 to encourage universities to adopt a rigorous and coherent general education program. ACTA’s research in the years since has deepened our concern that increasing employer dissatisfaction with college graduates’ career readiness, as well as the decline in civic competency and civility, are partly due to an overall deterioration of general education programs on college campuses.  

ACTA's What Will They Learn? assigns colleges a letter grade based on how many of seven college-level core subjects they require (Composition, Literature, Foreign Language, U.S. Government or History, Economics, Mathematics, and Natural Science). These priority subject areas help students develop abilities demanded by the twenty-first century job market—such as critical analysis, written communication, and ntercultural fluency—as well as the habits of responsible citizenship and a stronger sense of human identity.

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Belmont Abbey College

Under the guidance of Dr. Christine Basil, over twenty students at Belmont Abbey College have earned the ACTA Scholar designation for their commitment to pursuing an ACTA "A" education.

Belmont Abbey College's ACTA Scholars come to us from their Honors College. The curriculum at Belmont Abbey's Honors College guides students through the great works of the western world, opening students' minds to different perspectives, and unveiling the “extraordinary reach” of human thought and aspiration. Students learn to read and write thoughtfully and to bring the fruits of deep intellectual study into their professional lives.

"The Honors College is more than just a four-year curriculum; it is an all-encompassing journey to discover the world through a critical eye, to study the Great Books and their impact on the world, and to prepare for a future that focuses on goodness and beauty." -- Belmont Abbey Honors College

Baylor University

Under the guidance of Dr. Douglas Henry, over five hundred students at Baylor University have earned the ACTA Scholar designation for their commitment to pursuing an ACTA "A" education.

ACTA Scholars at Baylor University come primarily from the honors college which offers students a variety of academic and intellectual opportunities. Students engage in interdisciplinary study, read and discuss great texts in community, and pursue high-level research with nationally recognized faculty.

"Our recognition of ACTA Scholars honors the scope and quality of liberal education in Baylor’s Honors College. The ACTA Scholars designation also supports our graduates’ preparedness to demonstrate the great difference high-quality liberal education makes, whether in terms of civic life, professional contribution, or personal flourishing." - Dr. Douglas Henry, Dean of the Honors College at Baylor University

Marshall University

Under the guidance of Dr. Montserrat Miller, executive director of the John Deaver Drinko Academy for American Political Institutions and Civic Culture, over one hundred students at Marshall University have earned the ACTA Scholar designation for their commitment to pursuing an ACTA "A" education.

Marshall’s chapter of the National Society of ACTA Scholars hosts lunches, teas, and other events, bringing together students and faculty from diverse liberal arts backgrounds. Participants are encouraged to learn, discuss, and prepare the way for deeper study within the liberal arts, and often outside of students’ majors.

"Marshall’s National Society of ACTA Scholars chapter encourages students to go above and beyond the institution’s general education requirements to complete an expanded liberal arts curriculum that better prepares them to exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship at home, and to participate appropriately and effectively in the global marketplace of ideas and commodities." - Dr. Montserrat Miller, executive director of the John Deaver Drinko Academy for American Political Institutions and Civic Culture

Washington College

Under the guidance of Dr. Joseph Prud'homme, students at Washington University have earned the ACTA Scholar designation for their commitment to pursuing an ACTA "A" education.

ACTA Scholars at Washington College’s Institute for Religion, Politics, and Culture ACTA are gifted in their critical thinking skills and ability to grapple with the intricacies of varying disciplines. Recent alumni have enrolled at leading graduate schools, including the University of Pennsylvania Law School, the University of Virginia Law School, Duke University, and the University of Chicago.

“The National Society of ACTA Scholars of the Institute for Religion, Politics, and Culture at Washington College encourages students to realize the full potential of a liberal arts education. Informed by the enduring principles of the trivium and quadrivium that have guided Western higher education for nearly a millennium, this program honors our Student Fellows and others at the College who push themselves to excel in a broad range of subjects. The ACTA Scholars program has become a central part of the Institute’s mission of enhancing student’s understanding of the first principles of a free, prosperous, and morally responsible society.” - Joseph Prud’homme, Burton Family Chair in Religion, Politics and Culture

Connect with the National Society of ACTA Scholars on Facebook and LinkedIn to learn more and stay apprised of opportunities related to liberal arts education.  For more information about the National Society of ACTA Scholars, please contact us at the address below.

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