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Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP)

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.

LEAP embraces a 21st-Century Definition of Liberal Education and promotes:

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.

See Slide Presentations on: nation the LEAP blog

Responding to Critics in a Tough Economy

read more >

What's New From LEAP

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 practices.

2013 Employer Survey

See findings for AAC&U's most recent national survey of employers.

The LEAP campaign includes three primary and concurrent strands of activity:

A Public Advocacy initiative for liberal education, which is being carried out nationally by the LEAP National Leadership Council and LEAP Presidents' Trust regionally through advocacy initiatives in a series of partner states;

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 expectations;

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 educational standards.

LEAP Staff Contacts at AAC&U

Coordinating Director: Bethany Zecher Sutton
LEAP States Initiative: Susan Albertine
Advocacy and Public Outreach: Debra Humphreys