The LEAP Challenge Blog

Welcome to the LEAP Blog

This is the first posting to a new multi-authored blog launched by the Association of American Colleges and Universities as part of its national initiative, Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP): Excellence for Everyone as a Nation Goes to College. This blog will be a platform for discussion about the future of college learning—why the outcomes of a liberal education are so important in today's world and how those within and outside of higher education understand these outcomes and the idea of a "liberal education."

We will try to shine a spotlight on what a liberal education is in today's colleges and universities, but also the ways that the term "liberal education" is still misunderstood—even by many students and their own college and high school teachers.

We will also use this blog to draw attention to important items in the news you may have missed—the good, the bad, the ugly, the funny, the sad—but especially those news items that college administrators and faculty members need to know about in order to ensure that today's college education provides every student the opportunity to learn what they need to know to thrive in today's world.

About LEAP

The "position" of this blog and its contributors is very clear. The LEAP initiative and this blog are both designed to champion the value of a liberal education—for individual students and for a nation dependent on economic creativity and democratic vitality. LEAP focuses campus practice on fostering essential learning outcomes for all students, whatever their chosen field of study. LEAP seeks to engage the public with core questions about what really matters in college, to give students a compass to guide their learning, and to make these essential learning outcomes the preferred framework for educational excellence, assessment of learning, and new alignments between school and college.

For the purposes of this blog, we use the term "liberal education" in the following way: liberal education is a philosophy of education that empowers individuals with core knowledge and transferable skills and cultivates social responsibility and a strong sense of ethics and values. Characterized by challenging encounters with important issues, a liberal education prepares graduates both for socially valued work and for civic leadership in their society. It usually includes a general education curriculum that provides broad exposure to multiple disciplines and ways of knowing, along with more in-depth study in at least one field or area of concentration.

While this is what we mean by "liberal education," we understand that many people on and off our college campuses use the term in different ways. We welcome comments on all the blog postings and look forward to a respectful but lively dialogue about national debates and issues of importance to our shared future—and the future of each and every college student or aspiring college student.

Welcome to the liberal.education nation LEAP Blog.