LEAP, Liberal Education & America's Promise, is a national higher education initiative established by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). Wisconsin was the first state to adopt the LEAP initiative, with campuses in the UW-System working together to define shared learning goals for all undergraduate students that mirror LEAP's Essential Learning Outcomes. LEAP embraces the value of a broad-based liberal education and stresses the importance in preparing students with a variety of well-developed skills that will make today's students stronger candidates for 21st-century careers and citizenship.
The LEAP initiative began with conversations and national research with faculty members, leaders in higher education, prominent employers, and with students themselves, all exploring the value of a well-rounded education that best prepares students for the modern and increasingly interconnected world.LEAP is based on Essential Learning Outcomes that employers value in college graduates, on Principles of Excellence associated with colleges and universities that deeply engage students in learning, and High-Impact Practices that benefit all students by giving them opportunities to develop these fundamental skills in their courses and also in out-of-classroom experiences. Inclusive Excellence is also a central tenant of LEAP, reminding us to provide excellent, high-quality educational opportunities for all students and not just a select few.
AAC&U describes a liberal education as "An approach to college learning that empowers individuals and prepares them to deal with complexity, diversity, and change. This approach emphasizes broad knowledge of the wider world (e.g, science, culture, and society) as well as in-depth achievement in a specific field of interest. It helps students develop a sense of social responsibility; strong intellectual and practical skills that span all major fields of study, such as communication, analytical, and problem-solving skills; and the demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and skills in real-world settings."
UW-Whitewater faculty and staff are passionate about sharing knowledge, fostering engagement in the community, and teaching life skills that help students prepare for the work force and become immersed in our local and global communities.
UW-Whitewater is a proud supporter of the LEAP initiative and the value of a well-rounded liberal education. Across the university, we believe all students deserve the opportunity to gain valuable experiences and skills that are transferable throughout their lives and career paths. We listen to employers and community leaders to learn what they want, and we use this to enhance the quality and value of learning for all students.
Students: Through your experiences here at UW-Whitewater, there will be many opportunities to participate in LEAP-focused activities that will enhance your knowledge, skills, and perspective on the world. Principles of LEAP operate in many of your classes and also through your involvement with many activities. LEAP is an integral part of the New Student Seminar, learning communities, undergraduate research, internships, and travel study programs as well as with co-curricular activities such as U-LEAD, student organizations, community service, and on-campus employment. Employers are constantly sharing with us the skills and abilities they look for in college graduates. UW-Whitewater works with them and LEAP to set you up for success!
For more information on the Principles of Excellence, Essential Learning Outcomes, and High-Impact Practices please visit our LEAP Faculty & Staff Resources page, the University of Wisconsin System: Liberal Education Initiative website, or the AAC&U (Association of American Colleges and Universities) website.