LEAP States Initiative

The LEAP States Initiative offers educators in states, state systems, and consortia an array of opportunities to work together.  LEAP States supports large-scale collaboration, transformational change, and educational alignment to raise the quality of college learning within and across states. The initiative works with the LEAP framework, advancing essential learning outcomes, high-impact practices, and assessment for general and liberal education. Through LEAP States, AAC&U offers practical assistance, encourages innovation, and provides a national voice for systems, consortia, states, and regions participating in LEAP.  Responding to the need in states and systems to address high-quality degree attainment for all students, in traditional, hybrid, and online venues, the initiative works to raise levels of inclusion, equity, and achievement for all students.

LEAP States are formal collaboratives, organized at the state or system level and designated as LEAP States through an application process. LEAP States agreements are broadly inclusive, voluntary, and non-binding. In most cases, the state leadership originates in a public higher education system or a coordinating council. A state system or council generally takes the lead in requesting LEAP State status. AAC&U encourages all LEAP States to form partnerships across educational sectors, 2-year and 4-year, public and private, and to engage P-16, civic, and business leaders.  AAC&U recommends that LEAP States activities include institutions that have joined the Campus Action Network.

LEAP States:

  • California: the California State University System
  • Georgia: University System of Georgia; institutions joining the LEAP State Georgia Consortium; independent institutions interested in partnership
  • Indiana: the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, public and private institutions
  • Kentucky: public two- and four-year, and private institutions in Kentucky
  • Massachusetts: public colleges and universities in Massachusetts
  • Michigan: public four-year institutions in Michigan, Michigan Focus on Essential Learning Outcomes (MIFELO), and Michigan Association of State Universities (MASU).
  • North Dakota: public, private, and tribal colleges and universities
  • Oregon: colleges and universities affiliated with the Higher Education Coordinating Commission
  • Texas: LEAP Texas, a voluntary coalition of institutions of higher education in Texas
  • Utah: the Utah System of Higher Education, public and private universities and colleges
  • Virginia: private institutions, public institutions affiliated with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV)
  • Washington: WaCLA, Washington (State) Consortium for the Liberal Arts. Two- and four-year public and private colleges and universities, organizations, and individuals
  • Wisconsin: the University of Wisconsin System and the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU) 

Current activities of the LEAP States Initiative are organized through two projects—the Quality Collaboratives (QC) and the Faculty Collaboratives.

The QC project builds on the LEAP framework of Essential Learning Outcomes and the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) developed by Lumina Foundation. Using this framework, two- and four-year campus partners in nine states are designing ways to assess student competencies or proficiencies in order to facilitate more effective student transfer.  QC institutions are testing degree frameworks as well as developing policy recommendations and assessment tools for faculty—to improve the quality of student achievement.

The Faculty Collaboratives project is creating a large-scale, sustainable network of resource and innovation hubs and a curriculum for faculty leadership and learning in and across ten of the LEAP States. The project will reach thousands of faculty—including those in a wide array of disciplines and across all contract types—through networked community groups.  The networks will support faculty participation, collaboration, and leadership in nationally significant initiatives including the DQP and TuningGeneral Education Maps and Markers (GEMs), and the VALUE/Multi-State Collaborative to Advance Learning Outcomes Assessment. The project is building faculty capacity to apply the frameworks of the DQP, Tuning, GEMs, and VALUE to general education and to advance knowledge of the links between engaged learning and improved student persistence.  

The LEAP States Initiative also includes consortial partners, such as the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges and The New American Colleges and Universities.

For more information, contact Eddie Watson, Associate Vice President for Quality, Advocacy, and LEAP Initiatives, at watson@aacu.org