LEAP Challenge New England Institutions Initiative
In AAC&U’s LEAP Challenge New England Institutions Initiative, funded by the Davis Educational Foundation, eight New England colleges and universities, public and private, are working on ways to address the LEAP Challenge: making Signature Work a goal for all students, and the expected standard of quality learning in college. These schools were chosen because their programs and practices represent LEAP-framed reforms, and their approaches to liberal education form the basis for their moving to the next level and helping other institutions to change as well.
Using the framework for liberal education described in General Education Maps and Markers: Designing Meaningful Pathways to Student Achievement (GEMs), these diverse campuses will work together to remap curricular pathways and design Signature Work projects. Their work will support a more intentional and integrated student experience, and will help to establish a regional process of professional support for continuous improvement.
Creating opportunities for students to do Signature Work represents liberal education at its best—helping students become critical thinkers skilled in analysis and argument. In independently addressing a problem, usually from more than one perspective, and offering an evidence-based, reasoned response to it, students are doing what they will do in the workplace and in their lives as citizens.
Key partners in AAC&Us efforts to make excellence inclusive, LEAP Challenge Institutions will become leaders in developing new connections between the content of liberal and general education, the needs of today's students, and the needs of the wider society. Other cohorts of LEAP Challenge Institutions are working in different projects on related aspects of advancing inclusive excellence and signature work. See Capstones & Signature Work, LEAP States, Roadmap, GEMs, STIRS, and VALUE.