LEAP Publications

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...

Becoming a Student-Ready College

The national conversation asking "Are students college-ready?" concentrates on numerous factors that are beyond higher education's control. Becoming a Student-Ready College flips the college readiness conversation to provide a new perspective on creating institutional value and facilitating student success. Instead of focusing on student preparedness for college (or lack thereof), this book asks the more pragmatic question of what are colleges and universities doing to prepare for the students who are entering their institutions? What must change in an institution's policies, practices, and culture in order to be student-ready?

Clear and concise, this book is packed with insightful discussion and practical strategies for achieving your ambitious student success goals. These ideas for redesigning practices and policies provide more than food for thought—they offer a real-world framework for real institutional change. You'll learn:

  • How educators can
  • ...
Recent Trends in General Education Design, Learning Outcomes, and Teaching Approaches

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.

Collaboration for Student Transfer: A Nationwide Degree Qualifications Profile Experiment

Collaboration for Student Transfer: A Nationwide Degree Qualifications Profile Experiment highlights key lessons learned from AAC&U's Quality Collaboratives project. It focuses on learning outcomes assessment and faculty leadership in the context of increased rates of student mobility and transfer. The project sought to build the capacity of educators to use the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) as a framework for successful student transfer that emphasized the quality of student learning, rather than seat time or credit hours; and sought to help partnering two- and four-year institutions strengthen transfer students' achievement of AAC&U's LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes. The publication reports on the work of two-year and four-year institutions in nine states—California, Oregon, Utah, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, Massachusetts, and North Dakota—that built on existing transfer articulation policies and practices and explored ways to enhance student...

The Quality of a College Degree

This report examines the larger policy environment and how it is and isn’t aligned with current efforts to focus on assessment of key student learning outcomes, especially in the context of transfer. It builds on lessons learned in AAC&U's DQP Quality Collaboratives project.  Authors provide recommendations for framing policy debates about more efficient and effective transfer from two-year to four-year institutions that account for students’ achievement of key learning outcomes articulated in the Degree Qualifications Profile. The publication also provides a framework for better aligning state and campus policies with a twenty-first-century vision of quality learning and with current patterns of student attendance.  Ideal for campus discussions about improving transfer student success and collecting better data on student achievement, the publication also includes case studies from two-year/four-year Quality Collaboratives campus partners.

Giving California Students a Compass

Final Report of "Give Students a Compass" in California, May, 2015

Too many students who begin college in the California State University (CSU) or California Community College (CCC) systems with the goal of earning a bachelor’s degree don’t make it. Of degree-seeking students who entered a CSU in 2007, just over half graduated six years later (California State University, 2013). Of students who entered a CCC the same year and demonstrated intent to transfer—that is, completed at least 12 units and attempted transfer-level math or English—just over one-third had transferred after six years (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, 2013).

In California and across the United States, there is growing interest in how colleges and universities can improve student success, not only by increasing rates of bachelor’s degree completion but also ensuring high-quality learning for all students. General Education (GE)—the part of the curriculum that all...

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

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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


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

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.

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

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.