LEAP State: Utah

Member Organization: the Utah System of Higher Education and private universities and colleges

Year Joined: 2009

LEAP Mission: To improve the quality of higher education in Utah through a set of four core strategies: (a) the introduction of Essential Learning Outcomes (ELOs) and the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) as a tool for designing degree programs; (b) strengthening and aligning statewide transfer relationships; (c) assessment of learning and (d) the fostering of a faculty culture of learning, trust, and mutuality of effort.  

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Featured Engagement Strategy: The Utah Regents' General Education Task Force organizes an annual meeting for faculty teaching general education courses and academic and student affairs administrators called "What is an Educated Person?" Now in its nineteenth year, the conference, which includes participants from the Utah System of Higher Education's public colleges and universities, is an information conduit and a forum for multiple views, to inform policy and empower faculty and institutions. Over the years we have used it to launch and maintain initiatives, including LEAP, Tuning, the Interstate Passport Network, and the Degree Qualifications Profile, mixing theory with local experience. Colleagues teach colleagues and faculty are invited to take joint responsibility for undergraduate success. Thanks to the conference, faculty are kept up-to-date on national issues and initiatives by keynote speakers who bring a national perspective. The theme of this year's conference was "Integrated Pathways through General Education and Into the Majors." A highlight of the event was a workshop for chief academic officers and chief student affairs officers, which focused on how they can better integrate their efforts to facilitate student success. Workshops such as these refocus upper-level administrators on what is happening in the classroom and on how their joint efforts are necessary to support our LEAP efforts. 

Other Initiatives: 

  • All Utah institutions have signed on to the Interstate Passport Network and Utah has played a role in its development. Utah also is participating in the Multi-state Assessment Collaborative.
  • Working in partnership with the Commissioner of Higher Education, David L. Buhler, and business leaders in the state through the Salt Lake City Chamber, LEAP Utah also conducts regional and statewide dialogues about how best to educate Utah students for the challenges of the 21st century.
  • Since joining the LEAP state network, Utah has continued to pursue its Tuning work with Lumina support and the team has sought to introduce the core concepts of the Degree Qualifications Profile at every opportunity.
  • As part of the initial Tuning process, Utah involved faculty from four disciplines--history, physics, elementary education, and general education math--in all institutions in the Utah System of Higher Education, Brigham Young University, and Westminster College (Salt Lake City). These departments clarified their expected learning outcomes for each academic degree, beginning with the associate degree and moving up to the doctorate.

Contact: Phyllis "Teddi" Safman, Assistant Commissioner for Academic Affairs, Utah System of Higher Education, Board of Regents, psafman@ushe.edu


For more information, contact Eddie Watson, Associate Vice President for Quality, Advocacy, and LEAP Initiatives, at watson@aacu.org