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.
AAC&U Launches Initiatives to Advance Transformative Change in General Education and Student Learning Assessment
AAC&U announced that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded the organization a $2,305,000 grant to support initial work on two initiatives designed to significantly improve the quality of undergraduate education and increase student success. With support from the Gates Foundation, AAC&U will launch on December 1, 2013 two far-reaching educational change efforts—GEMs (General Education Maps and Markers) and VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education). The new projects will lay the groundwork for a cornerstone to capstone "remapping" of general education, and for a new approach to quality assurance that moves students' own work to the center of educational assessment and accountability. Both projects are part of AAC&U's ongoing LEAP initiative (Liberal Education and America's Promise), which works to make the most powerful forms of learning a resource for all college students and which challenges the trend toward broad learning for some students and narrower learning for many others.
Recent LEAP Publications
Using the VALUE Rubrics for Improvement of Learning and Authentic Assessment, addresses key elements of,
and questions frequently raised about, the
development and use of the VALUE rubrics for
assessment of student learning. It provides
information about rubric-based assessment
approaches—including validity, reliability, and
rubric modification—and faculty training in the
use of rubrics.
New Publication on High-Impact Practices and Ensuring Quality
Ensuring Quality & Taking High-Impact Practices to Scale presents research on specific educational
practices correlated with higher levels of academic
challenge, student engagement, and achievement.
The publication features the relationship between
these practices and improvements in retention
and graduation rates and advice on how to ensure
that all students experience multiple high-impact
2013 Employer Survey
See findings for AAC&U's most recent national survey of employers.
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