The LEAP Challenge Publications

Rising to the LEAP Challenge: Case Studies of Integrative Pathways to Student Signature Work
2017

Rising to the LEAP Challenge provides a series of case studies that reflect the "real-world" application of students' cumulative learning through signature work projects, as put forth in AAC&U's The LEAP Challenge. Such projects focus on complex questions that are meaningful to individual students and to society; require students to integrate, apply, demonstrate, reflect on, and communicate their cumulative learning; and require input from multiple disciplines and perspectives. Colleges and universities can best prepare students to accomplish signature work through guided-pathway curricula and cocurricular experiences in which students can develop and connect their knowledge and skills across broad and specialized study, over time. The thirteen case studies included in Rising to the LEAP Challenge demonstrate the variety of forms signature work can take, as well as the variety of institutional contexts and curricular pathways that can effectively support it....

Open and Integrative: Designing Liberal Education for the New Digital Ecosystem

The ongoing digital revolution has created a complex and interconnected ecosystem that is fundamentally reshaping how we learn and communicate. Yet, despite its transformative potential, this digital ecosystem has so far had less of an impact on formal education than on other sectors of our society. Authors Randy Bass and Bret Eynon explore the implications of emerging digital capacities and culture for higher education, arguing that any discussion to reinvent higher education that begins with technology is doomed to a diminished vision of learning. Bass and Eynon begin instead by reimagining the core purposes of liberal education in this new context and ask: What is the role of the digital ecosystem in making a quality liberal education available to all, equitably?

Going beyond “unbundling,” the authors propose that we use networked and adaptive systems to “re-bundle” higher education by connecting learning experiences that have typically been disconnected, opening the...

Recent Trends in General Education Design, Learning Outcomes, and Teaching Approaches
2016

This report summarizes key findings from a national survey among chief academic officers at AAC&U member institutions and explores how institutions are defining common learning outcomes, trends related to general education design and the use of emerging, evidence-based teach­ing and learning practices. This is the second report in a series featuring findings from the survey conducted by Hart Research Associates for AAC&U. (full reports and slides with findings are available free online at www.aacu.org/about/2015-membersurvey.)

This new report, "Recent Trends in General Education Design, Learning Outcomes, and Teaching Approaches," includes respondents from across the full spectrum of public, private, two-year, and four-year institutions.

Liberal Education, Winter-Spring, 2015
Liberal Education, Winter/Spring 2015

This special double issue focuses on the LEAP Challenge, the next phase of AAC&U’s Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative. Articles present the LEAP Challenge and, through exploration of a variety of campus exemplars, its central concept of Signature Work. Along with selected presentations from AAC&U’s 2015 annual meeting, the winter/spring issue also features a look at key moments in the association’s history—the first in a yearlong series of commissioned articles marking the AAC&U Centennial.

 

Read more
Committing to Equity and Inclusive Excellence: A Campus Guide for Self-Study and Planning
2015

Download free PDF

Committing to Equity and Inclusive Excellence: A Campus Guide for Self-Study and Planning provides a framework for needed dialogue, assessment, and action to address inequities in higher education institutions. Focusing on issues of access and success, it can be used as a tool for bringing together campus leaders and practitioners—across divisions and departments—to engage in internal assessment and chart a path forward to improve all students’ success and achievement of key learning outcomes. The Guide is designed with a particular focus on the success of students who come from groups traditionally underserved in higher education.

Committing to Equity and Inclusive Excellence: A Campus Guide for Self-Study and Planning is recommended for use in combination with AAC&U’s...

Step Up & Lead for Equity: What Higher Education Can Do to Reverse Our Deepening Divides
2015

 

Step Up & Lead for Equity: What Higher Education Can Do to Reverse Our Deepening Divides makes the case that America’s persistent gaps in education, income, and wealth are widening, with the fastest growing segments of our population the least likely to have the opportunities they need to succeed.It argues that, to effectively educate today’s students, higher education must focus more urgently on equity—and on bringing together what we know about closing achievement gaps and advancing high-quality learning outcomes for all students. This brochure builds the case for leadership to challenge the status quo and make the most empowering forms of college learning available to all students. Step Up & Lead for Equity is a Call to Action, supported by clear and convincing data, for college leaders to accept this challenge and begin this work by examining their own institutions’ history and data to develop an action plan. It is ideal for advancing...

The LEAP Challenge: Educating for a World of Unscripted Problems
2015

The LEAP Challenge builds on a decade of LEAP reform efforts on campus to advance Essential Learning Outcomes and high-impact educational practices for all students. The LEAP Challenge calls on colleges and universities to engage students in signature work that will prepare them to integrate and apply their learning to a significant project.

America's Unmet Promise: The Imperative for Equity in Higher Education
2015

This publication makes the case for the urgent need to expand access to and success in high-quality educational programs for students traditionally underserved in higher education.  The publication addresses students’ access and success in terms of traditional measures like college completion as well as important indicators of educational opportunity like participation in high-impact educational practices. The authors present an equity-minded guiding framework that can be used throughout higher education.  They suggest principles for evaluating equity and advancing institutional change, with a specific focus on improving outcomes for students affected by stratification in educational opportunity by race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic class status. Excellent resource for launching conversations among educational leaders and practitioners about diversity, equity, and institutional change.

General Education Maps and Markers: Designing Meaningful Pathways to Student Achievement
2015

Written for faculty members, academic leaders, and policy makers, General Education Maps and Markers: Designing Meaningful Pathways to Student Achievement provides clear principles and guidelines to ensure that general education fosters the LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes and key proficiencies important for long-term success and flourishing, enriches students' learning in the major, and prepares college students to successfully tackle the kinds of complex problems they will inevitably confront in work, civil society, and their own lives. General education, invented to help college students gain the knowledge and collaborative capacities they need to navigate a complex world, is today and should remain an essential part of a high-quality college education. And yet, in practice, general education programs too often underperform. The principles and guidelines presented in these pages directly address this long-...

The VALUE Breakthrough: Getting the Assessment of Student Learning in College Right
2015

Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education—AAC&U's VALUE initiative—is a far-reaching effort to focus assessment on the work students produce in their progress toward a degree. By focusing on assignments produced for a degree program rather than on answers on time-limited standardized tests, VALUE has become a national movement to change the way we envision and approach the assessment of student learning gains and accomplishments in college. The VALUE Breakthrough explains succinctly and directly the progress and importance of this movement. Author Daniel Sullivan tells us how VALUE relates both to the larger aims of a quality liberal education, to the capabilities employers seek and reward, and to the public policy pressures of our current environment.