Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) is a national advocacy, campus action, and research initiative that champions the importance of a twenty-first century liberal education—for individuals and for a nation dependent on economic creativity and democratic vitality.
LEAP responds to the changing demands of the twenty-first century—demands for more college-educated workers and more engaged and informed citizens. Today, and in the years to come, college graduates need higher levels of learning and knowledge as well as strong intellectual and practical skills to navigate this more demanding environment successfully and responsibly.
Launched in 2005, LEAP challenges the traditional practice of providing liberal education to some students and narrow training to others. Through LEAP, hundreds of campuses and several state systems are making far-reaching educational changes to help all their students—whatever their chosen major field of study—achieve a set of Essential Learning Outcomes fostered through a liberal education.
Authentic Assessments—probing whether students can apply their learning to complex problems and real-world challenges
Inclusive Excellence—to ensure that every student gets the benefits of an engaged and practical liberal education.
LEAP leaders also work to engage the public with core questions about what really matters in college and to connect employers and educators as they build new partnerships and make the case for the importance of liberal education in a global economy and in our diverse democracy.
The University of Wisconsin System Advisory Group on the Liberal Arts (SAGLA) and the University of Wisconsin Extension are sponsoring two
days of presentations and workshops dedicated to advancing LEAP Wisconsin. For more information, click here.
Professor and Student from LEAP CAN Member Institution Warn Against Narrowing Purpose of College
UW-Madison Professor Clifton Conrad and UW-Madison Ph.D. student Geoffrey Mamerow wrote a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinelop-ed about the purpose of college. They note that,…"We must shift our
state's conversation off jobs and back to careers and the broader
purpose for a college education. In doing so, we can begin to renew our
historical commitment to higher education, help current and future
college graduates and ensure a stronger future for our state's and
nation's citizens.” UW-Madison is a LEAP school, and Wisconsin was the
first state in AAC&U’s LEAP States Initiative.
Massachusetts Becomes Eighth LEAP State
The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education recently announced that Massachusetts would become the eighth official state partner in AAC&U’s LEAP initiative. According to Massachusetts Higher Education Commissioner Richard M. Freeland, “The LEAP Vision for Learning and its approach to student learning outcomes assessment is so consistent with Massachusetts’s Vision Project for achieving academic excellence across public higher education.” Freeland added, “LEAP offers an extraordinary model for how our campuses can best prepare students for postgraduate life as engaged citizens and highly skilled contributors to Massachusetts’s knowledge-based economy.” Massachusetts is also one of nine states involved in AAC&U’s Quality Collaboratives initiative, funded with support from Lumina Foundation.
New Issue of Diversity & Democracy Highlights Recommendations from Forthcoming Report on "Civic Learning and Democracy's Promise"
Higher education plays an important role in equipping today's students with the skills, knowledge, and capacities they need to participate in a diverse democracy. Inspired by a forthcoming report supported by the US Department of Education, this issue of Diversity & Democracy explores how various institutions are enacting civic learning initiatives that prepare students for democratic engagement.
The LEAP campaign includes three primary and concurrent strands
A Campus Action Network which works with
colleges and universities of every kind from across the
country and in selected partner states to articulate high
expectations for liberal education and to transparently
connect their educational practices and assessments to these
A research initiative detailing Evidence on Learning
Outcomes, designed to provide evidence on selected
outcomes of a liberal education and periodic public reports
on progress in helping students meet twenty-first century