For Immediate Release

David Tritelli
Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs
202-888-0811 (office)
Bill Spellman
Director, Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges

Association of American Colleges and Universities and the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges Announce LEAP Partnership Focused on Undergraduate Research

May 1, 2012

Washington, DC--The Association of American Colleges and Universities and the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges announced today that COPLAC is formally joining AAC&U’s signature national initiative, Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP): Excellence for Everyone as a Nation Goes to College, as a partner organization.  As part of the LEAP States Initiative, public state systems and other consortia of public and private colleges and universities participate collaboratively in the LEAP initiative to accelerate and advance changes to improve student learning outcomes.

“Our twenty-six member institutions welcome the opportunity to forward the LEAP initiative at the consortium level,” said COPLAC Director Bill Spellman. “There is a close correlation between the public liberal arts mission and AAC&U’s Essential Learning Outcomes. LEAP Partnership status will allow our unique sector to work in a more intentional manner on a recognized high-impact practice.”  

Through this new LEAP partnership, COPLAC seeks to deepen its own collaborative efforts to improve and expand high-impact undergraduate research and the quality of undergraduate learning across its twenty-six member institutions.  Several of its member institutions also are participating in other LEAP Initiative activities.

As part of the initiative, COPLAC will create an intentional, integrated approach to undergraduate research and articulate shared goals with students, internal, and external audiences. COPLAC will:

  • Collect and share institutional practices, resources, and expertise through face-to-face meetings and through a web-based portal on the COPLAC website;
  • Explore the potential to share faculty expertise in mentoring undergraduate research students across the consortium using distance technology; and
  • Share best practices in the assessment of undergraduate research, both in terms of student learning and the application of new knowledge.

“AAC&U is very pleased to welcome COPLAC into this new partnership with AAC&U’s LEAP Initiative,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider. “COPLAC was an early supporter of LEAP, and many of the institutions exemplify the kind of public-spirited, rigorous, and intentional approach to student learning that LEAP promotes.  We are excited about the work that COPLAC is undertaking and look forward to disseminating its successes to the rest of the higher education community.”

For more information about the COPLAC LEAP initiative, see: