LEAP Featured Sessions

Part of AAC&U's Network for Academic Renewal conferences, LEAP Featured Sessions are intended to demonstrate how AAC&U members are enacting the essential learning outcomes, principles of excellence, and high-impact practices described in AAC&U's LEAP initiative.

AAC&U member institutions can apply to have sessions designated as LEAP Featured Sessions when they submit proposals to a particular Network for Academic Renewal conference.

Any type of conference session—hands-on workshop, promising practice/research/evaluation, poster, or facilitated discussion—can be designated as a LEAP Featured Session in the conference program. Before submitting a proposal, please review the criteria and the examples from recent conferences, below.

Note: You will be able to check the LEAP Featured Session option in the online proposal submission form for each Network for Academic Renewal conference.


  • Session presenters must be from AAC&U member institutions. (To find out if your campus is a member, click here.)
  • Both the session abstract and longer description should explicitly reference how your campus work connects to LEAP by directly addressing: (1) one or more of the LEAP essential learning outcomes and (2) one or more of the LEAP principles of excellence or high-impact practices identified as mechanisms for achieving the essential learning outcomes.
  • Session proposals should explicitly state how the facilitators will weave LEAP elements directly into a session's framing, discussion, or activities.
  • Preference will be given to sessions that address how the campus practice/strategy engages a significant number of students or can be scaled to engage a significant number of students, particularly those students historically underserved by higher education.

LEAP Featured Session Examples

Five Cardinal Experiences: Integrative, High-Impact Practices for Student Success (from the spring 2010 conference, Faculty Roles in High Impact Practices)
High-impact practices are not new to Otterbein College, 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. In this session, the facilitators will offer insights into Otterbein's larger institutional vision and the change efforts that have put it into action. Participants will discuss how their own institutions can embed a significant number of high-impact practices into the educational experience.
Abiodun Goke-Pariola, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; Chris Musick, Executive Director for the Center for International Education and Global Engagement; Tammy Birk, Assistant Professor of English; and Joan Esson, Assistant Professor of Chemistry—all of Otterbein College

The Challenges and Successes of One College's Journey into the Great Unknown (from the spring 2010 conference, General Education and Assessment: Maintaining Momentum, Achieving New Priorities)
Keene State College has completed its second year of implementing its new Integrative Studies Program, the College's liberal arts/general education program. As with other institutions, the college has moved from a distribution curriculum to an integrative liberal education program. Drawing on AAC&U's Greater Expectations report and LEAP initiative, the Integrative Studies Program outcomes are based on assuring that students have a grounding in various modes of inquiry, develop skills that enhance liberal learning, and are able to integrate knowledge gained and skills developed. Administrators and faculty have collaborated in developing a leadership model that purposefully links curriculum development and assessment with faculty instructional and student learning development. In this session, facilitators will discuss the challenges and successes associated with: (a) program development and implementation, including the development and assessment of program outcomes; (b) a process to develop cohorts of faculty who truly commit to delivering the program; (c) garnering administrative support; (d) communication; and (e) quality control. The facilitators will share strategies they are implementing that have led to early, and likely sustainable, success and that other institutions might find useful.
Ann Marie Rancourt, Associate Provost; Anne-Marie Mallon, Professor English and Women's Studies; and Peter Nielsen, Professor Geology—all of Keene State College.