Launched in 2005, Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) is a national public advocacy and campus action initiative of the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U). LEAP champions the importance of a twenty-first-century liberal education—for individual students 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.
Through LEAP, hundreds of campuses are making far-reaching educational changes to help all their students—whatever their chosen field of study—acquire the broad knowledge, higher order capacities, and real world experience they need to thrive both in the economy and in a globally engaged democracy.
To Make Excellence Inclusive, LEAP Promotes
- Essential Learning Outcomes—as a guiding vision and national benchmarks for college learning and liberal education in the 21st century
- Principles of Excellence—offering both challenging standards and flexible guidance for an era of educational reform and renewal.
- High-Impact Educational Practices—ways of engaging and challenging students—such as first year programs; intensive writing, collaborative assignments, undergraduate research, internships, and major projects that help students achieve essential learning outcomes
- Authentic Assessments—using students’ own work and faculty-validated rubrics, probing whether individual students have developed essential capacities, and can apply their learning to complex problems and real-world challenges.
- Students’ Signature Work—challenging higher education to prepare all students to complete a substantial cross-disciplinary project in a topic significant to the student and society, as part of the expected pathway to a degree. The signature project can take one of many forms (e.g. capstone, internship, field work, research, community-based research).
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.
For more information about the LEAP initiative, please see our "Introduction to LEAP" brochure.
LEAP is supported in part by the Leadership Fund for Liberal Education. Click here to learn more about the Leadership Fund and to make a gift to LEAP.
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