Liberal Education and America's Promise
LEAP Campus Examples Archive
Through LEAP, AAC&U is working with hundreds of campuses as they reinvent undergraduate education to ensure that all students graduate prepared for the challenges of the new global century. Guiding these changes are a set of essential learning outcomes important for all students and a set of principles of excellence.
See below for the full archive of LEAP Campus Examples
See the latest Campus Examples from LEAP (new examples are posted quarterly, RSS feed coming soon).
Contact Nancy O'Neill to share how your campus is using LEAP to strengthen undergraduate education.
Aim High—and Make Excellence Inclusive
Make the Essential Learning Outcomes a framework for the entire educational experience, connecting school, college, work, and life
University of Maryland-Baltimore County
Committed to preparing educators for the new era, a living-learning community entitled “Aspiring Teachers at UMBC,” at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, was created for undergraduates interested in pursuing teaching as a profession. This program is for all majors and includes discussion forums on teaching and learning, enrichment activities, social gatherings, community service, and e-portfolios.
To learn more about Aspiring Teachers at UMBC and other living/learning communities at UMBC, visit www.umbc.edu/reslife/communities/llc.
(From Faculty Roles in High-Impact Practices Meeting, March 2010)
Miami Dade College
As a result of dialogue among faculty, students, alumni, employers, civic leaders, and community members, Miami Dade College celebrated a Learning Outcomes Covenant signing of 10 learning outcomes that are reinforced and assessed throughout the curriculum and in cocurricular activities. This example was featured at the 2009 AAC&U Annual Meeting (January 2009).
St. Lawrence University
In St. Lawrence University professor Patti Frazer Lock’s first-year program course, her fifty students have lots of opportunities for interaction and collaborative learning. The students are also expected to write substantial amounts each week, in reflective journals, “advising letters” to their first-year advisers, assessments of peers’ papers, and research reports. Frazer Lock teaches Having an Impact: Leadership, Teamwork, and Motivation, with two other St. Lawrence staff members who also share advising duties, and the students all live together in a residential building and participate in community-based learning placements. It’s unusual to find so many engaged learning practices clustered in a single course, but it’s all by design at St. Lawrence, one of two “intensive sites” in the Bringing Theory to Practice project. Read more -- "Engaged Learning for Well-Being at St. Lawrence" (AAC&U News, Jan./Feb. 2009).
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has re-committed itself to undergraduate education though partnerships, vision, leadership, resources, and focus. At AAC&U’s Effective Educational Practice conference (April 2007), Rita C. Kean, Dean of Undergraduate Studies, and David E. Wilson, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, shared five strategies for reforming undergraduate education and advancing faculty support in their presentation entitled Re-commitment to Undergraduate Education: Lessons Learned (ppt). See also UNL’s Institutional Objectives and Student Learning Outcomes (pdf). Read more --"Toward Intentionality and Transparency: Analysis and Reflection on the Process of General Education Reform" Peer Review (Fall 2008).
Miami Dade College
Miami Dade College spelled out a new set of Learning Outcomes at a public forum in 2007. These articulated outcomes represent a roadmap for all students. The Learning Outcomes are integrated and assessed across departments at Miami Dade College. Read more -- "Celebrating Outcomes and Cultivating Assessments: How the Largest College Found Common Ground" Liberal Education (Spring 2008).
University of Denver
The University of Denver's diversity work emphasizes "inclusive excellence," a term developed by AAC&U to capture a multi-faceted approach to diversity that focuses on student achievement, attention to cultural differences, and the creation of a learning environment that uses its diversity to enhance educational excellence for all students. Read more -- "Diversity Goes Beyond Numbers at the University of Denver" AAC&U News (September 2007).
The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) has identified a set of competencies that all students should achieve from their college studies. The competencies are similar to the "intellectual and practical skills" that the LEAP National Leadership Council defines as "essential." SCHEV requires public institutions to submit "reports of institutional effectiveness" that include assessments of student learning in written communication, technology/information literacy, quantitative reasoning, scientific reasoning, critical thinking, and oral communication. Each individual campus defines the outcomes, establishes expected achievement levels, creates or chooses assessment methods, and reports on results. The SCHEV framework creates public and transparent reports of institutional learning outcomes while maintaining institutional autonomy to define and assess student learning outcomes in relation to institutional mission and priorities. (LEAP Report, 2007).
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Faculty at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) have agreed to six Principles of Undergraduate Learning that define important learning outcomes for each IUPUI student. These include communication and quantitative skills; critical thinking; intellectual depth, breadth, and adaptiveness; integration and application of knowledge; understanding society and culture; and values and ethics. These principles apply to the entire educational experience and to the departmental programs as well as general education courses. Most students take a first-year learning community that explores these core goals and helps students begin work on them. To document and assess students' achievement, IUPUI faculty are developing e-portfolios that set standards for the outcomes and make the basis for their assessments visible. IUPUI has provided extensive support for faculty development as well as student orientation as it encourages this shift toward goals across the entire educational experience. (LEAP Report, 2007).
Miami Dade College
Miami Dade College is one of the nation's largest and most diverse community colleges. In 2006, Miami Dade organized student focus groups to better understand college learning goals from students' perspectives. The questions posed in these groups, adapted from a focus group discussion guide used in AAC&U's student research for LEAP, asked students their reasons for attending college, what college outcomes would lead to a successful life, and how their education helps them achieve these outcomes. The responses of the focus group students indicate that liberal education is valued and that students view college as more than accrued vocational benefits. Moreover, three-quarters of the focus group students reported that liberal education was important to their education and that liberal education provides the necessary preparation for today's workforce.
(LEAP Report, 2007).
Give Students a Compass
Focus each student's plan of study on achieving the essential learning outcomes--and assess progress
University of Houston-Downtown
University of Houston-Downtown’s HILTOPP Program is designed to improve academic success for first-generation, first-time college students during their first year by providing high-impact practices in reading, writing, and mathematics. Students come in at different levels of preparation. According to the University of Houston-Downtown press release (see below), "the program includes linked courses targeting developmental education, increased classroom-based academic support for reading-intensive college-level courses, a structured student success mentoring program providing supplemental instruction, and enhanced faculty development and faculty-student interaction through the development of a first-generation student-faculty interaction group." Read more -- "UHD Wins $100,000 Walmart Minority Student Success Award."
The University of Houston-Downtown was among the presenters at AAC&U's meeting, Facing the Divides: Diversity, Learning, and Pathways to Inclusive Excellence (October 2010)
California State University-Sacramento
Currently, incoming students at Sacramento State can take any combination of more than four hundred approved courses to fulfill GE requirements. GE is something students "get out of the way"--or not, in the case of those who don't graduate. Sacramento State's Compass Project, conducted with support from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), aims to change this. A grassroots, faculty-driven endeavor, the Compass Project seeks to bring coherence to GE by reconciling goals and outcomes and establishing an assessment system focused on student learning. Read more -- "Resource-Friendly Reform in General Education" (Diversity & Democracy, Fall 2010).
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has adopted a new mission statement that reflects the distinctive goals of liberal education. Student Body Vice President Phil Rynish said, "Liberal education allows students to explore all the university has to offer. This allows people to be transformed through their college career into people who are ready to contribute to society in a very meaningful way." Learn more about the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire mission statement in this article published in The Spectator, the student newspaper of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. (September 2010).
High-impact practices are not new to Otterbein University , but until recently, they have not been organized in a coherent framework. In the last year, Otterbein has sought to systematically embed high-impact practices in both the curriculum and co-curriculum through “Five Cardinal Experiences”: (a) community engagement, (b) internships, (c) international and intercultural experiences, (d) undergraduate research, and (e) leadership experiences. These high-impact practices are made visible in a long-standing Integrative Studies program—an innovative core curriculum that underscores commitments to global learning, aligns itself with the AAC&U LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes, and showcases horizontal (e.g., linked courses) and vertical (first-year seminar, capstone) integration. As a result, it is expected that all students will engage in at least three high-impact practices during their undergraduate career.
From the “Five Cardinal Experiences: Integrative, High-Impact Practices for Student Success session at AAC&U’s 2010 Faculty Roles in High Impact Practices conference (March 2010)
Utah State University
Utah State University completed an evaluation of the first-year experience program in October 2009. USU found that roughly two thirds of the first year class at Utah State University participates in Connections, a first year experience that focuses on developing critical college study skills, time-management techniques, and test-taking strategies, as well as promoting an awareness of the campus and community. It encourages the development of a support network of classmates, faculty, and staff to help ensure a successful beginning to students’ academic experiences. At the core of Connections is the Common Literature Experience, in which all freshmen, the University, and the broader community read a book, participating in discussions and a lecture from the author. See University Connections for more information. (October 2009).
University of Wisconsin-Madison
The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Cross-College Advising Service (CCAS) exists solely to help students who are undecided about their college major to make informed decisions and plan their liberal education. CCAS puts the emphasis on undergraduate advising for students. In addition, students may join First-Year Interest Groups to become immediately immersed in areas of liberal education. Read more – “The Long View: Charting Purposeful Pathways through Advising” AAC&U News (September 2009).
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
Some of the Berkshire County sixth-grade students visiting Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts had never set foot on a college campus before. On this visit, they met with English professor Rosanne Fleszar Denhard and several of her students. The sixth-grade students watched a multimedia presentation, and talked about their interests in things like graphic novels, filmmaking, and writing for newspapers or magazines. The sixth-graders learned that these topics were among the many they could study in college. Their enthusiasm was clear: “I’m definitely coming to MCLA. I definitely want to make sure [that] Roseanne Fleszar Denhard is still here,” one sixth-grader exclaimed after Denhard’s presentation. Read more -- "Changing Aspirations in a Changing Economy: The Berkshire Compact" (AAC&U News, June/July 2009).
University of Utah
In fall 2008, the University of Utah’s Undergraduate Council endorsed a set of Learning Outcomes for the General Education Program building on the LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes. In order to assess the impact of these learning outcomes on courses and student learning, the University of Utah has added a step to the process through which departments proceed in order to get their course certified for a General Education Requirement. Beginning in fall 2009, departments applying for a course to have general education designation will be asked to select at least three of the learning outcomes that they believe students in the course will achieve. They will also be asked to select an assignment from their syllabus that can be used to measure students’ achievement of the learning outcomes selected for the course. (Fall 2008).
Brown University's special task force (convened in early 2007), has been revisiting its iconic curriculum. Brown University faculty are asking tough questions about the goals of a liberal education - and how students can best reap its benefits. A report released in September 2008 provides "a map of liberal education." Read more -- "Enhancing Intentionality in the Requirement-free Curriculum" Peer Review (Fall 2008).
University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh
The University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh developed an advising program that introduces students to important learning goals and outcomes, and defines the roles of faculty, students, and the advising center. This provides a framework for academic departments, colleges, and the advising center. Colleges and departments structure their own advising practices around those general advising definitions, goals, and outcomes. Read more -- "Establishing Effective Advising Practices to Influence Student Learning and Success"
Peer Review (Winter 2008).
University of Wisconsin - Fond du Lac
The University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac articulates how individual courses contribute to liberal education outcomes on syllabi. Learn more -- University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac degrees.
Grinnell College gives students the opportunity of a second-year retreat as part of the college's "Expanding Knowledge Initiative." Along with a host of other second-year programs, the retreat promises to help Grinnell students be more intentional as they create individualized courses of study. Read more -- "At Grinnell, a Student Retreat Focuses Attention on the Value of the Liberal Arts" AAC&U News (March 2007).
The California State University System
The California State University System has begun educating high school students about the essential skills they are expected to bring to college.
For the last six years, it has produced a "How to Get to College" poster and distributed it to middle and high schools in California. This poster, available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, and Chinese, gives students and their families a compass for essential learning outcomes needed for success in college as well as roadmap for the application process. With sections such as "What Classes Should I Take in High School?" and "Why Are These Classes Important?" the poster clarifies important skills and their significance in college. To provide further guidance, the system also gives an early diagnostic test-keyed to its own placement standards in mathematics and English-to eleventh graders. (LEAP Report, 2007).
The curriculum at Bard College is designed to encourage students to play an active and intentional role in shaping their education. Rather than selecting from traditional departmental majors, students at Bard major in programs that cross disciplinary boundaries. This program-based approach is combined with core curricular experiences that develop broad capacities and allow for milestone assessments of learning. New students begin their studies with the Workshop in Language and Thinking, an intensive summer program that serves as an introduction to college-level learning, and continue in the first-year seminar, where they explore many of the intellectual ideas that will form the basis of their subsequent study. In the second semester of the sophomore year, students undertake "moderation," a process that requires them to reflect on their academic experiences, assess their performance, and plan in consultation with faculty advisers the work they will pursue in their major field. This culminates with the senior project, which serves as the capstone to a Bard education. Together, these elements of the college's curriculum help students to integrate their learning and follow a purposeful course of study as they chart a path through their undergraduate education. (LEAP Report, 2007).
Teach the Arts of Inquiry and Innovation
Immerse all students in analysis, discovery, problem solving, and communication, beginning in school and advancing in college
Utah State University
Utah State University's studies about undergraduate research revealed that more than 26 percent of Utah State University’s graduating seniors report on the National Survey of Student Engagement that they engaged in independent research with a faculty mentor during their undergraduate career. In these projects, research, teaching, and scholarship become parts of one simultaneous, overlapping, shared process. Undergraduates at Utah State can become active scholars throughout their undergraduate careers, not just at the last stages. See the Utah State Research Office for more information about this high-impact educational practice and how it is being implemented at USU. (October 2009).
During the November 2008 Network conference, Engaging Science, Advancing Learning, Otterbein University facilitators described the development and implementation of a two-course sequence in integrative sciences. Designed to move beyond introductory offerings and increase scientific literacy, these courses focus on science as a way of knowing and offer opportunities to practice scientific reasoning that addresses global problems and results in a stronger understanding of the role of science in society. See the “From Scientific Inquiry to Global Applications—Development of a Two-course Sequence in Integrative Sciences” (ppt) presentation by Amy Jessen-Marshall, Chair of Integrative Studies Program and Associate Professor of Life Sciences, Lisa Marr, Academic Teaching Staff for Life Sciences, Wendy Sherman-Heckler, Associate Professor of Education, and Kevin Svitana, Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences—all of Otterbein University.
Miami University developed the Student as Scholar Model. This model rests on a new more experiential and integrative Learning Paradigm - from the first introductory course through the final capstone experience. It requires that a culture of inquiry-based learning be infused throughout the entire liberal arts curriculum, starting with the first day of college and reinforced in every classroom and program. Read more -- "It Takes a Curriculum: Preparing Students for Research and Creative Work" from Liberal Education (Summer 2008).
University of Washington
The University of Washington Discovery Seminars introduce students to scholarly inquiry as part of the college experience. The seminars introduce students to the ways of investigating the world through research, writing assignments, and class discussions. Read more --"At the University of Washington, 'Discovery Seminars' Open Doors to College-Level Inquiry" from AAC&U News (May 2006).
University of Rochester
With the support of a Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation grant, the University of Rochester is striving to make entrepreneurship - and the skills that accompany it such as problem solving, continuous learning, and innovation-a basic component of undergraduate education by infusing it into all academic disciplines. The University of Rochester has created the Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE), which brings together faculty, students, and community members from a variety of academic disciplines to encourage and enhance the culture of entrepreneurship at the university and within the Rochester community. As a result, there are now courses at the University of Rochester available for students wishing to focus specifically on entrepreneurship as it relates to any major, and the CFE holds a variety of workshops, seminars, and conferences for faculty as well. The University of Rochester is one of several dozen liberal arts colleges and research universities that are connecting entrepreneurship with teaching, learning, and research in arts and sciences disciplines. (LEAP Report, 2007).
Engage the Big Questions
Teach through the Curriculum to Far-Reaching Issues - Contemporary and Enduring - in Science and Society, Cultures and Values, Global Interdependence, the Changing Economy, and Human Dignity and Freedom
“Fate of the Earth 101: Consumption of Food, Fuel, and Media in Contemporary Culture” is an innovative first-semester program that is the current theme of Augsburg College’s pilot Integrated Term (iTerm). The program incorporates AAC&U’s LEAP objectives into an integrated learning community involving a large cohort of first-year students; six faculty from English, History, Religion, and Sociology; and library, IT, and student support services staff. The iTerm includes experiential and problem-based learning as well as traditional disciplinary and cross-disciplinary approaches and comprises the students’ and the facultys’ entire courseload for the semester.
From the “Fate of the Earth 101: An Integrated Term for First-Semester Students” session at AAC&U’s 2009 Integrative Learning: Addressing the Complexities conference (October 2009)
Presented by Lori Brandt Hale, Director of General Education and Associate Professor of Religion, and Beverly Stratton, Director of AugSem and Professor of Religion—both of Augsburg College
San Jose State University
The San Jose State University Health Science Department has worked diligently to integrate public health, which was a program only offered to graduate students, into the undergraduate general education curriculum. University staff worked both from the inside and out, introducing public health into the existing general education curriculum and creating new courses centered on public health. What resulted was collaboration across departments and campus to enhance student learning and engagement in public health issues. Read more -- "Infusing Public Health Education in the Undergraduate Curriculum: The Experience of a Comprehensive University" from Peer Review (Summer 2009).
University of the Pacific
The University of the Pacific's general education program consists of breadth program requirements, fundamental skills requirements, and a seminar series (Pacific Seminars), which fosters integrative learning and enables students to learn about topics beyond their discipline.
View the video about the University of the Pacific Pacific Seminars. AAC&U Conference: Faculty Roles in a Time of Change (April 2009).
University of Virginia
University of Virginia faculty - like many other faculties across the country - are responding with innovative new courses and academic programs in public health. Scholars recognize that public health requires a broad-based knowledge about human society and culture, as well as the sciences and mathematics. In addition, public health education has the potential to engage students - future health professionals and future citizens - on many levels; including enduring fundamental questions about civic responsibility and human rights. Read more -- "Intentionality and Integration in Undergraduate Global Public Health Education" from Peer Review (Fall 2008).
Oklahoma City University
Oklahoma City University's arts curriculum is designed to advance the LEAP principle that every student "engage the big questions - both contemporary and enduring." Read more --"Oklahoma City University Integrates Art Across the Curriculum" from AAC&U News (September 2008).
Paul Christesen's students at Dartmouth College told him that they needed to discuss some of the "big questions" -- but couldn't find the right setting. Mr. Christesen devised an evening extracurricular seminar for discussing texts, ideas, and experiences all related to the "big questions." Read more -- "Watching Charlotte Climb: Little Steps toward Big Questions" from Liberal Education (Spring 2007).
San Jose State University
In addition to core general education requirements, San Jose State University (SJSU) has implemented SJSU Studies, which are intended to foster students' advanced, integrative learning as citizens and thoughtful people. Each SJSU undergraduate must take one upper-level class in each of four topic areas -- Earth and Environment; Self, Society, and Equality in the United States; Culture, Civilization, and Global Understanding; and Written Communication. These courses connect the curriculum to larger, complex issues in society as a way of preparing students to become better global citizens and educated adults. Like many campuses in the California State University system, San Jose State University serves many transfer students who have taken all or many of their core general education requirements at other institutions. By framing distinctive upper-level goals for general education, SJSU affirms its commitments -- officially endorsed by the Faculty Senate -- to liberal education for all students. It also creates its own "signature" approach to that goal. (LEAP Report, 2007).
Richland College - Dallas County Community College system
One of seven colleges in the Dallas County Community College system, Richland College serves nearly twenty thousand students who collectively speak seventy-nine different first languages. Richland's several academic enrichment programs reinforce the college's emphasis on educating students to build sustainable communities, both at home and abroad. The Global Studies program, for example, challenges students to search for solutions to issues such as "peace, ecological balance, social and economic justice, intercultural understanding, democratic participation, and the impact of technology." By design, Global Studies intersects with other academic enrichment programs, including Richland's campus-wide service-learning program, learning communities (two courses that address a common topic from different disciplinary perspectives), peace studies, and several ethnic studies programs. To earn a Global Studies Certificate -- which complements other majors -- students take fifteen hours of Global Studies courses, including a learning community, and also complete an academically based service-learning project. Students who take one year of a second language and earn honors grades are named Global Studies Scholars. With a strong emphasis on integrative planning and continuous educational improvement, Richland College became in 2006 the first community college to win the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation's highest presidential recognition for quality and organizational excellence. (LEAP Report, 2007).
Connect Knowledge with Choices and Action
Prepare students for citizenship and work through engaged and guided learning on "Real-World" problems
To engage non-science majors in the study of science (and to ensure that they meet the general education requirement of developing an understanding of the natural world by applying the scientific method,) faculty at Mitchell College redesigned non-major science courses to help students make the connection between the study of science and other aspects of their lives. Non-major science courses, both life and physical science, now include a service-learning, research component dealing with the impact of human civilization on the global environment and the responsibilities of humans in preserving their environments.
This example was taken from the “Advancing Understanding of Science and Its Connection to Other Aspects of Life through Service Learning” poster presentation at the Engaging Science, Advancing Learning conference (November 2008). Click here to see an overview of the program.
Presenters: Victoria E. Brennan, Chair and Associate Professor, Science and Mathematics Department, Kimberly Blake, Associate Professor of Life Sciences, and Kristen Lester, Assistant Professor of Life Sciences—all of Mitchell College
Keene State College
Keene State College students wished they could actually do research instead of doing hypothetical problems for a grade. As a result, Keene State College sociology professor Therese Seibert founded Keene State’s Community Research Center in 2001. The CRC has the dual mission of promoting research skills and professional development among Keene State students and serving the research needs of nonprofit agencies in New Hampshire’s Monadnock region. Read more -- "The Power of Real-World Experience: Community-based Research at Keene State" (AAC&U News, December 2008).
Whittier College in California puts the resources of one of America’s most international cities within easy reach. All this means that a global worldview is a natural fit at Whittier, says Susan Gotsch, vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty. “On so many campuses, domestic diversity is separate from globalism,” Gotsch says. “We had a ‘light bulb’ moment—we’ve really been thinking about how to use our diversity to give students opportunities and weave a curriculum that connects international and domestic diversity,” she says. “We want Whittier to be ‘a portal to the world.’” Read more --"A Portal to the World" from AAC&U News (October 2008).
California State University Monterey Bay
California State University Monterey Bay was created in 1995. Without entrenched campus structures or a long institutional history, educational planners were able to design the school's curriculum around specific skills and areas of knowledge that they believed all graduates would need in the twenty-first century. This curriculum stresses civic engagement and social awareness and identifies thirteen key outcomes of undergraduate education, or "University Learning Requirements." Read more --
"Outcomes-Based Curriculum Fosters Civic Engagement and Social Awareness at Monterey Bay" from AAC&U News (April 2006).
The "practical liberal arts" are deeply embedded in Wagner College's prize-winning college curriculum. The Wagner Plan requires students to complete issue-centered integrative learning communities (LCs) during the first year, the intermediate years, and the senior year. The LCs are organized around a big theme or problem and include experiential as well as academic learning. In the first year, students take two courses from different disciplines related to the overarching theme and complete an experiential field placement related to the LC theme in the New York metropolitan area. Students also complete a "reflective tutorial" which emphasizes writing and teaches them to evaluate and integrate their learning from different disciplines and from the field placement. A senior-year LC is linked to the student's major and acts as a capstone course, connecting knowledge from the major with practical applications in the student's chosen field. At graduation, Wagner students are already practiced in integrating knowledge learning inside and outside the classroom in the context of real-world problems and settings. (LEAP Report, 2007).
Long a pioneer in education for women, Smith College has recently become a pioneer once again in integrating engineering education within a liberal arts education. Smith College's Picker Engineering Program encourages students to set their engineering studies in a larger social and global context. It also teaches the social, ethical, and professional responsibilities essential to successful practice in the field. The program's stated outcomes include the fundamentals of engineering disciplines, but also prioritize the ability to collaborate and communicate effectively with diverse audiences, lifelong learning, and the value a contemporary and historical perspective can give to science. A senior design project challenges students to address broad societal aspects of their work as well as technical skills. The Picker Program tells students that, "as critical thinkers and socially responsible decision makers, they will help engineer a sustainable future for our global community. (LEAP Report, 2007).
Foster Civic, Intercultural, and Ethical Learning
Emphasize personal and social responsibility, in every field of study
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan Arts of Citizenship program provides undergraduate research opportunities in humanities disciplines while also benefiting local organizations and nonprofits The Arts of Citizenship program is an example of how other disciplines can imbed community-based research in the undergraduate experience. Read more -- "Teaching the Arts of Citizenship at the University of Michigan" (AAC&U News, September 2010).
Clark University has a comprehensive program to advance liberal education outcomes for all students. Students must complete an eight-course Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) that includes classes in several outcome areas - including verbal expression, formal analysis, historical perspectives, values perspectives, and others. Both an international studies option within the PLS and the Active Learning and Research program—which focuses on real-world problems—provide opportunities for exploration and learning outside the traditional classroom. Read more -- "Refocusing Undergraduate Education on “Effective Practice”: Curricular Change at Clark University" (AAC&U News, March 2009).
Medaille College’s Project EQUIP is a community-based service learning program for first-year students. Project EQUIP is an acronym for helping students "Explore their community," "Question their roles within the community," "Understand their academic discipline in the context of community needs," "Involve themselves," and "Produce new knowledge," while completing a four-year degree. Piloted in the 2006 – 2007 academic year, this program grew to produce more than three hundred projects by 2009. Project EQUIP has a learning community component and also includes integrative and civic learning. In 2010, Medaille received funding from the John R. Oishei Foundation to expand Project EQUIP. This expansion will include cocurricular activities, academic courses, internships, and senior capstones. Learn more about Project EQUIP through the Medaille College blog. (AAC&U Greater Expectations Institute: Leadership to Make Excellence Inclusive, June 2010)
California State University-Chico
California State University-Chico holds “town hall” meetings in which students lead discussion groups about topics of civic interest. The Chico Town Hall Meeting idea was born in early 2006, when Thia Wolf, director of the First-Year Experience program at Chico State, and her colleague Jill Swiencicki, then a professor in the English department, began discussing whether the university’s first-year composition class could become more focused on civic literacy. Chico State’s new president Paul Zingg had begun his tenure with a focus on civic engagement, and Wolf and Swiencicki were thrilled to have support for advancing civic literacy as a core outcome of college from the campus’ highest levels. In collaboration with the university’s curriculum committee, they developed a curriculum with readings focused on civic participation and its role in a democratic society. Read more -- "Revitalizing Democratic Engagement: Town Halls at Chico State" (AAC&U News, May 2010)
Edgewood College defines personal and social responsibility as part of its overall goals for undergraduate learning, emerging from its mission, strategic plan, and educational reforms. There are four facets of this approach—the first year experience; general education reform; civic leadership programs for traditionally underserved students; and faculty development initiatives. Although distinct, these four facets have collectively:
- brought faculty from different disciplines together with student development staff to map and integrate curricular and co-curricular opportunities;
- evolved over time to become the norm for increasing numbers of students on campus; and
- demonstrated how research and assessment findings (both internal and external) can influence program creation and revision.
From the “From Capstone to Keystone: Pathways to Infusing Personal and Social Responsibility throughout the Educational Experience” at AAC&U’s 2009 Educating for Personal and Social Responsibility: Deepening Student and Campus Commitment conference.
Presented by Dean A. Pribbenow, Dean of the School of Integrative Studies, Kris Mickelson, Director of Human Issues Studies Program, and Tricia Dusick, Special Assistant for Student Engagement and Success—all of Edgewood College.
Washington and Jefferson College
Washington and Jefferson College's Magellan Project assists students embarking on projects that complement their studies in a given major. The program is designed to help students in crafting and telling stories that will be useful throughout their college careers and beyond by offering funding, particularly to under-served students; mentoring; proposal design workshops; and referrals to other funding resources. This example was featured at the 2009 AAC&U Annual Meeting (January 2009).
Wagner College's Port Richmond Partnership is an innovative program that will focus the school's community resources in an effort to improve the quality of life in the Port Richmond community, located on Staten Island's North Shore. A job training and educational center, which will offer pre-college and college classes and other services, recently opened in Port Richmond. Read more -- "Former President Clinton Recognizes Wagner Commitment." (2009)
University of Southern California
University of Southern California’s Joint Education Project (JEP) is one of the largest and oldest service-learning programs in the country. This program engages over 2000 students each semester from various subject disciplines. It focuses on the pedagogy of community service, with reflection as a key component.
This example was taken from the “Conceptualizing Diversity with Service-Learning” presentation at the Diversity, Learning, and Inclusive Excellence conference (October 2008).
Presenters: Susan C. Harris, Director of Research and Academic Affairs, and Carol Brown, Graduate Student in Psychology— both of University of Southern California
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green State University places strong emphasis on educating graduates who demonstrate ethical integrity, reflective thinking, and social responsibility. To introduce these goals, the university has developed the BGeXperience, a program designed to ease the transition from high school to college while, at the same time, engaging first year students with the core values that inform the university’s vision statement. BGeX begins with a three-day orientation and continues into the first semester with a “values” course—a class that provides conventional instruction in a discipline and also encourages students to reflect upon values questions in that field. Read more--"Bowling Green Brings 'Values' Focus to the First Year of College" from AAC&U News (July/Aug. 2006).
Michigan State University
Michigan State University's A 21st-Century Chautauqua is a two-year project of campus dialogues involving students from three degree-granting residential colleges and faculty members and administrators from across the disciplines. Read more-- "Creating a Culture of Civility at MSU" from
AAC&U News (August 2008).
Portland State University
In 1994, Portland State University faculty adopted University Studies, a four-year general education program for all students. The program is organized around four broad goals: inquiry and critical thinking, communication, the diversity of human experience, and ethics and social responsibility. The culminating senior experience is a community-based learning in their major and in their University Studies courses to a real challenge emanating from the metropolitan community. These partnerships -- designed to engage diverse communities for common purposes -- are mutually beneficial ventures, as the organizations help students place their academic learning in a real-world context, and students assist organizations in meaningful projects such as grant writing, designing curriculum and educational materials, and serving as advocates for underserved populations and issues. Assessments show that the community work helps students become more aware of their own biases and prejudices and deepens students' understanding of sociopolitical issues. Students also develop a better understanding of how to make a difference in their own communities. (LEAP Report, 2007).
Hundreds of colleges, community colleges, and universities now encourage students to take part in community service. But in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Tulane University has taken service learning and civic engagement to another level. Tulane requires all students to make public service an integral part of their college studies, both in the core curriculum and in their advanced studies. To meet the public service graduation requirement, students must take one service-learning class during their first two years. During this time, students also create and maintain an e-portfolio that charts their progress and reflects on their service learning. In their later college years, students choose a second public service experience. This may be another service-learning course, a service-learning internship, a public service research project or honors thesis project, a service-based study abroad program, or a capstone experience that includes a public service component. The Center for Public Service sustains partnerships with community organizations that provide a context for students' public service commitments. (LEAP Report, 2007).
Assess Students' Ability to Apply Learning to Complex Problems
Use assessment to deepen learning and to establish a culture of shared purpose and continuous improvement.
St. Olaf College
St. Olaf College developed an Essential Learning Outcomes Assessment (ELOA) questionnaire that elicits information about students’ prior learning experiences, current understandings, and future aspirations in relation to the “essential learning outcomes” of a college education, as identified by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. The questionnaire was developed by a team of St. Olaf faculty and staff, and piloted with entering first-year students during Week One in September 2009. More than 450 entering first-years (91% of those invited to participate) completed one of six versions of the instrument.
LaGuardia Community College
Since 2001, more than 8000 students have created e-portfolios at LaGuardia that demonstrate their achievement of key learning outcomes from course to course and year to year, reflect on their evolving academic, professional, and personal selves, and create documents that supplement resumés and transfer applications to senior colleges. The goals of the e-portfolio project at LaGuardia include encouraging students to take control of their educations, to become self-directed and self-motivated learners, to link classroom and lived experiences, and to increase facility with digital communication. See information about e-portfolios at La Guardia, an audio podcast of a presentation on e-portfolios by Bret Eynon, executive director of LaGuardia’s Center for Teaching and Learning, and information about AAC&U’s assessment initiative, VALUE. (June 2009).
Electronic portfolios have become popular at many colleges and universities in recent years, as faculty and administrators seek innovative ways to document and evaluate student development and achievement. But at Spelman College, a historically black liberal arts college for women in Atlanta, Georgia, portfolios had a place in the curriculum long before most students and faculty had even heard of the Internet. Read more -- "Assessing Learning, Encouraging Individuality Through Portfolios at Spelman College" (AAC&U News, November 2008).
Faculty at Susquehanna University attended an AAC&U workshop on assessment in 2005. Based on this experience, in 2006 the university created learning goals and a new Central Curriculum to ascertain what all Susquehanna University graduates should know by the time they graduate. (March 2009).
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh's Liberal Education Reform Team (LERT) led the campus-wide effort to establish a framework for institutional learning outcomes are being addressed in the curriculum and developing an assessment model from 2009 AAC&U Annual Meeting (January 2009).
Alverno College’s ability-based curriculum is a unique tool to engage students in integrative learning across general education and the majors. The ability-based curriculum focuses on “learning the abilities to put knowledge to use”. These abilities include the following: communication, analysis, problem solving, valuing in decision-making, social interaction, developing a global perspective, effective citizenship, and aesthetic engagement.
This example was taken from the “Designing Curriculum, Teaching, and Assessment as Developmental and Integrative Processes” (ppt) presentation at the Integrative Designs for General Education and Assessment conference (February 2008).
Presenters: Tim Riordan, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Philosophy, Kathy Lake, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Education, and Stephen Sharkey, Dean of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Sociology—all of Alverno College
Pace University, a large multi-campus metropolitan university in New York, has made a comprehensive commitment to assessment as a way of strengthening both teaching and learning. Pace works to provide evidence of students' actual learning over time as a counter to rankings that look mainly at reputation and resources. One strand in its approach is a strong emphasis on senior capstone courses and projects designed to integrate and evaluate students' learning in the major. Over 70 percent of the senior class completes capstones, and Pace wants to make this requirement universal. Balancing locally designed assessments with national measures, Pace also uses the Collegiate Learning Assessment, which assesses students' critical thinking, analytic reasoning, and written communication abilities using performance tasks and writing rather than multiple-choice questions. (LEAP Report, 2007).
See "A Blueprint for Campus Accountability: Lessons from the Pace University Experience".
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Every student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville completes a senior assignment in the major. The projects vary across different academic fields, but each is designed to ensure that all students have mastered the skills required for their discipline as well as key liberal education outcomes - such as critical thinking, effective writing, and problem solving - that all graduates should possess. Designed by department faculty to "make visible" the learning required for the degree - whether it occurs in the major program or in general education - the capstone projects are assessed using rubrics aligned with the intended learning outcomes and probed for several different kinds of evidence. Individual students receive feedback on their accomplishments while faculty review the assessment evidence at the program level to shape curricular and pedagogical improvements. Over time, the process of collectively designing and scoring senior assignments has encouraged a culture of faculty collaboration. (LEAP Report, 2007).
Carleton College uses writing portfolios to ensure that undergraduates can write competently in a range of styles and contexts. By encouraging students to reflect on - and revise - their writing, the portfolios themselves constitute an important educational experience. To meet the portfolio requirement, students at the end of their sophomore year must submit three to five papers demonstrating their ability to write effectively in different rhetorical and disciplinary contexts; each portfolio must represent at least two of the college's four curricular divisions (Arts and Literature, Humanities, Social Sciences, Mathematics/Natural Sciences) and must include at least one paper from the "writing requirement" course. Instructors then certify that the papers were written for their classes and indicate if they have since been revised. Finally, students write reflective essays about writing to introduce the portfolios. Together, the papers must demonstrate mastery of each of several key writing skills - the ability to report on observation, to analyze complex information, to provide interpretation, to use and document sources, and to articulate and support a thesis-driven argument. The writing portfolios have led Carleton faculty to talk about using the portfolios to assess other liberal education outcomes such as quantitative literacy and critical thinking. (LEAP Report, 2007).