Liberal Education & America's Promise

LEAP Spotlight


Project World of the Arts

April 10, 2017

Raquel Janke
Member of the Professional Writing CORE

Theatre, Arts, and Music; Oh My! Project World of the Arts (WOTA) was assembled to ensure that every WOTA class gives students the best arts education possible. This WOTA LEAP team consisted of Mike Flanagan, Julia Ince, and John Tuinstra. The LEAP team worked to create a common writing rubric modeled after the UW-W Writing Matters rubric that measured students’ writing ability and provided opportunities for more detailed instruction. The team also developed a blog that transitioned into a D2L page for WOTA instructors that supports best practices in theatre, arts, and music curriculum. With the help of this project, an entire lecture hall was updated with new audio and media technology that helps students better understand course materials. In addition, a WOTA Coordinator position was created to organize enrollment and meetings.

Although the WOTA LEAP team officially concluded in 2013, the instructors still meet several times a year and have made further enhancements to World of the Arts. In the fall of 2014, they implemented a signature assignment, which is a high impact educational practice known to advance student learning and retention. World of the Arts is an extremely important general education class at UW-W and the impact of this LEAP team on student learning has been instrumental.  


UW-W Dining Services/University Center

April 5, 2017

Autumn Schartner
Member of the Professional Writing CORE

When individuals think of campus dining services an image that often occurs is a dining hall filled with food and hungry students. However, the UW-W dining services is more than that. Following the lead of the University Center LEAP team, UW-W dining services saw an opportunity to become involved in LEAP as well. They created a combined UW-W Dining Services/University Center LEAP Team consisting of Tom Hinspater, Ann Rakowiecki, Jason Goldschmidt, and Jon Gordon. According to Ann Rakowieck, dining services have “always felt a strong connection to the campus” and recognized that creating a LEAP Team would provide the “opportunity to be more than a food service provider; dining services can be seen as a place where students can grow.” The UW-W Dining Services/University Center LEAP Team’s main goal was to help students become better candidates for their careers after graduating from UW-Whitewater.

Campus dining services employ over 300 workers per semester and about 50 to 60 of those employees are managers. To reach their goal of helping students gain employment skills that support life-long learning, the team wove LEAP into the formal concept training for student managers. Rakowiecki believes part of her job is to help students develop as professionals, so the UW-W Dining Services/University Center LEAP Team began offering academic internships to help broaden and deepen the students’ understanding of future careers and professionalism. Because of the UW-W Dining Services/University Center LEAP Team, campus food services is now viewed as a place where students hone their skills and become outstanding employees, while feeding many UW-W hungry students. 


Math 4 Vets

March 8, 2017

Nicholas Martin
Member of the Professional Writing CORE

A cornerstone of the LEAP initiative is that all students deserve a clear and transparent path to educational success. In an effort to deliver America's Promise, the Math 4 Vets LEAP team, consisting of Maureen Vandervest, Janice Nordin, Julie Letellier, Giorgianne Maziarka, and David Thompson, examined whether student veterans, having been unexposed to math concepts for an extended period of time while serving their country, would benefit from a nontraditional delivery mode in Math 041 and Math 141. Using focus groups and surveys, the team identified ways they could improve current math courses to better suit student veterans.

The Math 4 Vets LEAP team determined that student veterans would benefit most from a math instruction that better related to their time in the service. In some ways, college math instruction presents a different way of learning than some student veterans had been accustomed to, especially those who were involved in combat or served overseas. Such students may not have taken math in a long time because they delayed their education to serve. Speaking in an interview, team member Janice Nordin explained, "Some of them enter the service right out of high school."

To help assist such students, the Math 4 Vets LEAP team constructed veterans-only sections of Math 041 and Math 141. The team worked on altering the courses to suit the unique needs of the veterans. The course instructors were successful by altering the pace of instruction and by utilizing examples from the veterans' military service. Notably, this LEAP team also invited other veterans who excelled at math to tutor their peers both inside and outside the classroom.

Overall, the LEAP team's actions were a resounding success. The pass-fail rate for Math 041 and Math 141 improved from previous semesters, and, although the veterans-only sections no longer exist, the support structure remains in place for military students.


Original LEAP Team

February 15, 2017

Autumn Schartner
Member of the Professional Writing CORE

In the spring of 2010 governance groups (faculty senate, academic staff assembly, and student government) at UW-Whitewater adopted the Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP) Essential Learning Outcomes (ELOs) as the baccalaureate learning outcomes for the campus. The following summer nine individuals (Lois Smith, Julie Letellier, Leda Nath, Sally Vogl-Bauer, Jane Ferencz, Alicia de Gregorio, Dale Splinter, Edric Johnson, and Greg Cook) from UW-Whitewater traveled to Philadelphia to participate in the Engaging Departments Institute, which was organized by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). The teams purpose was to examine what LEAP meant for UW-Whitewater now that campus had adopted the ELOs and develop a systemic way to introduce LEAP to campus.

Upon returning to campus, members from the team participated in Learn Center events where they organized panel discussions that examined the best practices for spreading LEAP to faculty, staff, and students. Each team member met with individuals in their respective departments to examine ways that they already had been utilizing LEAP concepts in their curriculum, teaching strategies, and assignments. Team member Dr. Dale Splinter said, "LEAP was not some big new educational initiative. Much of the content was already being carried out; it just needed some repackaging."

The team celebrated their five-year anniversary in the spring 2016 and met to discuss how LEAP has progressed since its inception. Splinter said, "Over the last five years, there has been a pretty strong acceptance of the LEAP framework." The acceptance of LEAP across campus would not have been possible without the engagement of faculty, staff, administration, and students working together to advance student learning. The AAC&U has acknowledge the success of the LEAP initiative on the UW-Whitewater campus (including two national LEAP Day events) and it all started with the acceptance of the LEAP ELOs as the baccalaureate learning outcomes for campus and a trip to Philadelphia.


Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD)

January 27, 2016

Davis Holm
Member of the Professional Writing CORE

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is well known for providing excellent accommodations for students with all types of disabilities. Effective communication between the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) and students, professors, and administrators has been vital for the success of the CSD. In 2013, CSD staff members Giorgianne Maziarka, Kimberly Giertz-Karis, Karen Fisher, Eric Muller, and Nina Mallory participated in a LEAP project aimed at improving communication across campus and improving CSD services even more.

If students require accommodations, the CSD provides instructors and students with the necessary information, materials, and training to create the best learning experience possible. For example, some of the services the CSD provides include designated note takers for classes, alternative testing options, and captioning services for students who have hearing impairments. When the CSD provides these services, they provide students with the tools they need to succeed and grant professors with the knowledge they need to foster success and create an inclusive learning environment.

Karen Fisher noted that this LEAP team "created a formal communication model between the Center for Students with Disabilities and the Colleges." This was done, in part, by having the CSD team provide liaisons between students and their colleges. The original liaisons were members of the 2013 LEAP team, however, due to employment turnover the following are now the campus liaisons: Karen Fisher, College of Arts and Communication; Claire DuCharme, College Business and Economics; Kimberly Gierts-Karis, College of Education and Professional Studies; and Giorgianne Maziarka, College of Letters and Sciences. Liaisons are provided with up-to-date knowledge of current students with disabilities that is shared with faculty in order to support student learning.

It has been four years since this LEAP team was created, and its work has become embedded in the campus culture. This project is a great example of promoting inclusive excellence and associated positive outcomes in classrooms across campus. The impact this team has made on UW-Whitewater will leave an everlasting imprint. A large step in fostering the celebration of campus diversity was achieved by the members of this LEAP team.


Empowerment through Research

September 29, 2016

Jessica Hutchison
LEAP Intern

Students: Have you ever wanted to conduct research? This is certainly possible, with the help of a faculty or staff member. The Research Apprenticeship Program (RAP) helps students accomplish this by pairing freshmen and sophomore students, transfer students, non-traditional students, and international exchange students with academic and non-academic staff research that they are interested in. This could be with Science Outreach, Learning Technology, Campus Police, and much more!

This LEAP team, Empowerment through Research, is promoting UW-Whitewater’s RAP program.  RAP provides students with paid research opportunities to assist faculty/staff. Empowerment through Research consists of Undergraduate Research Program (URP) members and RAP students, including Juk Bhattacharyya, Kathryn Gnadt, Deonti Norris, Rebecca Sloan, and Shawna Loniello.

Underrepresented minority students, students of opportunity, and nontraditional students are particular interests for this team. RAP can benefit these and all other students by helping them become more involved and connected to campus life. This aspect aligns nicely with the LEAP concept of Inclusive Excellence—providing high-quality educational experiences for all students.  The team is also integrating a peer mentor program, which connects with the LEAP theme of “Empowering Students,” giving students the ability to take their education as far as they can.

The mentor program is full of possibilities for all undergraduate students.  Matching new RAP students with former RAP students will help to strengthen bonds between freshmen and upperclassmen.  It gives students the ability to share their ideas and collaborate with a more experienced student in research and form some great questions.  It also gives upperclassmen the opportunity to gain leadership experience and participate in a mentor role.  Juk Bhattacharyya and URP Director Catherine Chan also recently secured a grant from the Wisconsin Alliance for Minority Participation (WiscAMP) to provide additional professional development and training opportunities for underrepresented minority RAP students pursuing degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.  Empowerment through Research is doing great things! Contact them for more information or to join the RAP experience.


ePortfolio Project

September 15, 2016

Jessica Hutchison
LEAP Intern

Students at UW-Whitewater are using D2L every day for class material and taking quizzes and exams. Since this software is available and it has an electronic portfolio component, why not test it to determine whether it meets the needs of campus users?

The ePortfolio Project LEAP Team of Kathy Craney, Ron Buchholz, and Sydney Nelson formed during the 2012-2013 academic year to tackle this question. The LEAP team originated from a 2011-2012 Strategic Initiative Grant: "The Use of Electronic Portfolios as a Method to Enhance Student Reflection." The initial purpose of the project was to identify students participating in co-curricular activities to develop an electronic portfolio using the Desire to Learn ePortfolio software, and to assess the feasibility of incorporating electronic portfolios on a broader level in the future. The grant funded one faculty member from each undergraduate college to use the D2L electronic portfolio software in one class during the Spring 2013 semester. It was done in order to determine the efficacy of the software, and to have faculty share their "best practices" for generating student reflection via electronic portfolio software.
Participating faculty were: Julie Letellier, Mathematics and Computer Science; Kelly Delaney-Klinger, Human Resources Management; Katrina Liu, Curriculum & Instruction; and Sharri VanAlstyne, Music. Each of these faculty included an electronic portfolio assignment into one of their courses during the Spring 2013 semester. On September 18, 2013 the faculty hosted a LEARN Center workshop attended by 20 faculty from across the University in order to talk about lessons learned for those faculty interested in incorporating electronic portfolios into their classes in the future.

As a result, the LEAP team was able to better assess the usefulness of the D2L electronic portfolio software product to determine whether it meets the needs of most academic departments, or whether investing in another software product would be best. Faculty concluded that, while the D2L product wasn't as intuitive or user friendly as some other products, there are some benefits to using the D2L software since faculty and students are familiar with how to use it and the Leaning Technology Center provides training and support to faculty interested in using the software.

The ePortfolio Project Team also concluded that if we desire to use electronic portfolios broadly across campus, appropriate infrastructure is needed to support faculty and student use and a commitment to incorporating portfolios across the curriculum must be made for it to be effective. Supporting infrastructure includes training and technical support for both faculty and students. Commitment includes a strategic plan to incorporate electronic portfolios in select courses (core/general education, New Student Seminars, and capstone courses in various majors) in order to include multiple "entry points" to involve all students. With these lessons in mind, discussions about the value of using ePortfolios to improve student reflection, engagement, and learning will no doubt continue. Thanks to the ePortfolio LEAP Team for its valuable contributions!


Major Declaration

April 22, 2016

Davis Holm
Member of the Professional Writing Core

Choosing the path that will shape the rest of your life can be very intimidating. Some people know exactly what they want, some have no idea, and some still need to explore. To make this process and decision a lot easier for students, the Major Declaration LEAP team strives to, as Academic Advisor JP Villavicencio says, provide “students with a ton of information and resources so that they explore all the possibilities.”

Through partnering with the Academic Advising and Exploration Center, Career and Leadership Development, First Year Experience, and the Counselor Education Graduate Program, this LEAP Team seeks to prepare students for their overall college experience. Members of this LEAP team are academic advisors Abbie Windsor, JP Villavicencio, Kristine Yesbeck and a student, Jessica Hutchison. All of these people have experience in their field and a passion for making major declaration go smoothly for students.

But, how exactly are they helping students? The Major Declaration LEAP team established new exploration tools to help students connect their college experiences to their future careers. The LEAP team helps tailor the exploration process through the use of CareerLocker, which is a system that helps students explore majors and occupations without the pressure of making a life-changing decision. In addition, the LEAP team encourages and promotes this tool in workshops that are advertised in all New Student Seminar sections.

This LEAP team has been working for only a short time, since 2015, but has had a large impact on students already. There is a plethora of information and resources on this campus for every student, and the Major Declaration LEAP team is ensuring that no student needs to flounder too long as “undeclared” and unsure about their future.


Project Social Media and Awareness

March 18, 2016

Raquel Janke
Member of the Professional Writing Core

Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Vine. What do these social networks have in common? They receive a lot of student attention and absorb a lot of students' time. Therefore, Project Social Media and Awareness are using a few of the platforms to promote LEAP since its development in 2013.

Kim Adams, Jolene Check, Jason Jasinski, Austin Durham, and Laura Schoenike successfully created and carried out this project. To do so, this dedicated team used their backgrounds in Business and Economics & Marketing and Media Relations to forge an action plan that would reach people across campus and the surrounding community. 

In order to ensure the sustainability of their plan, they also created a position description and interviewing process to hire a LEAP Intern for the campus.  This individual helps to carry out the hefty plan that the team designed. 

These are some ways Project Social Media and Awareness has reached people:

  • Attended COBE, the Dean's Advisory Council, to discuss LEAP in spring 2013.
  • Completed Social Media Advocacy Toolkits, which launched a new website around spring break of 2014.
  • Developed a LEAP Integrated Marketing Communications Internship that was put in place spring 2013.
  • Facilitated a LEAPfrog Scavenger Hunt, which was displayed and played at the Wellness Fair in October 2013.
  • Held a Gallery Exhibit at Roberta's Art Gallery in April 2014, which had colorful, informative, and interactive stations.
  • Shaped a social media plan to share toolkits in 2014-2015.
  • Created an awareness assessment tool, designed by LEAP interns in April of 2014, and implemented it at the Student Involvement Fair, the Wellness Fair, and in a handful of New Student Seminar classes.  

The LEAP Intern will continue to carry out aspects of their plan and promote LEAP through social media on an ongoing basis.


International Riders for Success

February 26, 2016

Jessica Hutchison
Current LEAP Intern

Dan Colleran
University Faculty

Transportation and bike recreation across campus is now easier than ever! International Riders for Success have come up with a way to make this possible. The team includes Alex Steeno, Dan Colleran, Sarah Bregant, Andrea Ednie, and Richard Guidry.  Their main goal was to implement a bike-share program for students across campus.  The purpose of this program is to empower UW-Whitewater students with the ability to attain no cost, healthy, and sustainable transportation around campus and within the community.

The team collaborated with the Whitewater Student Government Sustainability Council, who initiated the idea and moved forward on purchasing bikes through a local sporting good business, Quite Hut. Having bikes located by the University Center and the Williams Center gives students easy accessibility to them. In order to make the program more inclusive, this group worked with the wheelchair basketball department to have hand cycles available for students. A pilot program was launched during Earth Week 2015 to see how it would function, and the program has been successful ever since. They have found some hidden successes which have been very rewarding. The program was originally intended for international students but all students across campus are taking advantage of this opportunity. Currently, there are 20 bikes available with hopes to add more bikes to the program in the future.


Good Behavior

February 19, 2016

Khloe Andreoli
Former LEAP Intern

In 2013, Lt. Faye Schouten, Alan Hoesly, Deanne Thornsen, Jeff Von Alven, Kat Sell, and Casey Assmann formed the Good Behavior LEAP team. This teams' vision was to create consistency and better use of resources at the Goodhue Desk by combining the operations of Police Services and Residence Life at the main desk on the first floor of Goodhue Hall.

They used the LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes and Principles of Excellence as a foundation for bringing both operations together. They provided the staff and student employees with training and opportunities to improve leadership. They also incorporated elements of LEAP into a Quick Reference Guidebook and into their management philosophy and expectations for employment. Finally, they improved the branding of the Goodhue Desk operation by placing flyers in the campus residence halls to market their services and operations. Using the LEAP framework, the Good Behavior team aimed high and streamlined operations and improved communication between two important campus offices.


Experiential Learning

February 3, 2016

Jaire Berlin
Professional Writing Core member
Founding member of the UW-Whitewater Professional Writing Core LEAP Team

Venturing into the career world can be both challenging and exciting for new college graduates. Future graduates can gain an advantage in the job market by capitalizing on every educational opportunity, especially experiential learning opportunities.  Finding these opportunities has become easier thanks to a dedicated team working with LEAP, "Liberal Education & America's Promise."    Learning through experience is the basis of experiential learning. Employers favor job applicants who've already demonstrated they can apply their learning in applied experiences.  UW-Whitewater faculty and staff members Paul House (Chemistry), Juk Bhattacharyya (Geography, Geology, & Environmental Science), and Rich Jazdzewski (Executive Director of University Health and Counseling Services) are working with undergraduate student Matt Lamb and graduate student J.P. Villavicencio on the "Experiential Learning" LEAP Team to spread awareness of these opportunities to students on campus who are looking to gain real-world experience.    Starting in spring 2014, the team created and distributed a survey to discover what experiential learning opportunities are available to students.  From this survey, the team compiled a reference guide of available experiential learning opportunities students can participate in over the course of their studies.  Some of these opportunities include the Research Apprenticeship Program (RAP) and different travel study programs.   As a way to distribute this information to all members of UW-Whitewater, the team created their blog site, and they’ll use the blog to continue to share experiential learning opportunities with students.  Additionally, they hope to provide a space for faculty and staff to continue to discuss ways of incorporating experiential learning practices into classes and extracurricular activities.  Continuing to create awareness about experiential learning opportunities on campus will allow students to take better advantage of those opportunities, which gives them an advantage in the job market after graduation.


LEAPers

January 29, 2016

Khloe Andreoli
Former LEAP Intern

Kaylin Deackman
Professional Writing Core member

LEAPERs is a team dedicated to creating a LEAP student organization. This team consists of Chandra Waring, Mariah Shaver, and Haley Krupp. The team hopes to create an organization for UW-Whitewater's campus, which will spread the word of the LEAP initiative throughout the student body.  The organization will connect lower classmen with upper classmen who serve as mentors as the newer students become more immersed in their own liberal education. 

LEAPERs started in spring 2015 with the goal to learn about the various steps taken in order to be recognized as a student organization and to start an organization constitution. They also had a goal to work with the LEAP interns to get their input on what the organization should offer. The team was able to meet with the LEAP interns, write and upload a constitution, and officially establish LEAPERs as a student organization.

For the 2015-2016 academic year, the team's goals include becoming more known as an official student organization and to gain members. As they kick start this new organization, they'll learn a lot about logistics and how to operate and maintain a team-oriented organization.

The team hopes to be ready to present at the student organization fair and identify three to five UW-W juniors to be the first "class" of LEAPERs. They also want to identify professors from various disciplines to be the first group of LEAPER professors. An information pamphlet pertaining to the aspects of the organization are also in the works. They look forward to LEAP Day where more students, faculty, and staff can learn about the value of inclusive excellence and a liberal education. 


Student Employment Transformers

September 25, 2015

April Soller
Professional Writing Core member
Founding member of the UW-Whitewater Professional Writing Core LEAP Team

Wouldn’t it be great to get student employees on campus involved with LEAP and its message? That is exactly what the Student Employment Transformers LEAP team is working on. LEAP stands for Liberal Education and America’s Promise, and it is an initiative dedicated to informing students of the importance of a liberal education and “making excellence inclusive” for all students.

The Student Employment Transformers LEAP team’s focus is the impact student employment can have on a student’s overall education and success in a post-graduation career. The Student Employment Transformers use LEAP’s Essential Learning Outcomes (ELOs) to help advance student employment for several campus departments, with their most recent undertaking being the Campus Service Officers (CSOs) of UW-Whitewater’s Police Services.

The team held a series of meetings to introduce CSO employees to LEAP and later had the CSOs complete evaluations to record their experience with LEAP ELOs. They hope that these student workers will be able to apply LEAP ideas to other aspects of their lives as well, including future careers. The team also worked on introducing CSO employees to a more diverse workforce with people of various backgrounds, with the intention of fostering better working conditions for students who differ from those around them.

In the 2015-2016 academic year, the Student Employment Transformers LEAP team would like to continue to expand this project campus-wide to include all UW-Whitewater student employees. They will incorporate more campus departments as the year progresses, in addition to following up with CSOs.

The Student Employment Transformers LEAP team’s long-term goal is to help the campus incorporate all student employment departments with LEAP ideas, including Essential Learning Outcomes and Inclusive Excellence.

    

AAC&U Network for Academic Renewal Conference

April 23, 2015

On Wednesday, March 25, 2015, I had the opportunity to travel to San Diego to attend an AAC&U (Association of American Colleges and Universities) conference. My companions included Provost Beverly Kopper, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs-Greg Cook, and Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs-Brent Bilodeau.

We hosted a pre-conference workshop titled: LEAPing for Inclusive Excellence and Student Success. The workshop was developed to assist teams in designing action plans that advance a LEAP framework for student and institutional success in the context of their campus cultures. Essentially, we were replicating the UW-Whitewater workshop model for the participants. The purpose of this was to show teams our model, which they could take back to their campuses.

My role in this workshop included discussing Student Empowerment on UW-Whitewater’s campus and how the LEAP interns help achieve this. Along with that, I played a supporting role of helping teams throughout “team time,” where they were working on their own action plans to take back to their respective campuses.

Our workshop started out with the Provost introducing the workshop and the context. This flowed right into my part on engaging students.  Brent then quickly summarized LEAP and its concepts (some participants were extremely new to LEAP). Greg then went on to give the teams instructions on how to create an action plan and sent them off to get into teams to work on this.

There was a short break which transitioned into a share session of what the various teams discussed for their action plans. This included what their next steps for incorporating LEAP into their campus action plan. Greg then shared our workshop model and gave an opportunity for questions and comments.

Once our workshop concluded, the Conference began with a welcome and Keynote address. The keynote presenter was wonderful and touched on developing educational environments that are relevant and responsive to urban youth. Jeff Duncan-Andrade drew on his own experiences as an urban educator examining types of social toxins young people face in the broader society and discuss the impact these conditions have on student identities. He also analyzed the kinds of education environments that respond to the social toxins that emerge from racism and poverty. His speech was impactful and related these topics to Tupac and Maya Angelou’s teachings.

The night ended with a reception on the terrace. The weather was beautiful and it gave us a chance to discuss our day and network with others.

On Friday, March 27, the conference began at 7:30am and ended at 7:00pm. I attended a Welcome for Newcomers to the conference in the morning and three concurrent sessions throughout the day. There was also a Plenary in the morning which included a student panel, where those students shared their stories of having a mentor along with their educational experiences.

One of the three concurrent sessions I attended was titled, Preparing Future Professionals for Success in a Technology Driven World. It focused on strategies for helping students build a brand, online presence and articulate their learning experiences.

The next session, Promoting High-Impact Practices: Institutional Approaches to Increase Engagement and Equity, gave participants an opportunity to gain familiarity with HIPs and features that make them effective.

My last session of the day, Inclusive Excellence: Systemic-Change and Cultural Transformation, touched on a greater understanding of the dynamics and process of undertaking institutional change related to diversity.

The night ended with a LEAP Challenge and reception. The LEAP challenge is to initiate engaged, collaborative, and student centered practices on campus. From there our group went to dinner on the harbor (where we enjoyed delicious seafood).

The last day of the conference was also my last day in San Diego. It started out with a concurrent session right away. Space and Place: Creating Space for Diverse Students in Research through Reflective Writing, which explored strategies for using technology as a tool for reflective writing and the role reflection in creating space for diverse students’ research. The presenters of this session reviewed their study over the semester, where students who participated in undergraduate research wrote reflective (public) blog posts and (private) essays on their experiences.

The last session of the conference that I attended, Making Technology Inclusive: Reimagining Community through New Media Literacies, connected new media practices to urban youth media and how it can create digitally rich and inclusive contexts for deeper multicultural learning and development. The presenters shared a model that leverages digital technologies to shape more inclusive, equitable spaces of critical civic engagement.

After this session there was a Closing Plenary, which I was unable to attend due to my flight schedule. The entire experience was an amazing opportunity. I was able to connect and network with many different types of people from all over the country, all of whom are passionate about their students. The information learned throughout the conference will stay with me long after my time here at Whitewater.

Written by: Khloe Andreoli
Edited by: Kim Adams

 

Get Comfortable with LEAP (Feb. 24th) Workshop

March 4, 2015

UW-Whitewater hosted its first annual “LEAP: Students for Students Workshop,” which was a program to get more students familiar with LEAP. This workshop, was a hands-on and interactive way to get other students involved and engage them in ways to speak about their education and skills outside of the classroom, as well skills in the classroom. There were a little under two dozen participants at the workshop who showed they care about their future and want to be successful throughout their college career. Khloe Andreoli and Kyree Brooks were the workshop’s hosts and they among other facilitators of the workshop, worked to keep the attendees engaged and active in conversations and activities.

The workshop was opened by associate professor of geography and geology, Dale Splinter, who gave a brief history of LEAP and where it came from. He provided the participants with words of wisdom and gave insight to many current topics of education on campus. Splinter helped to open eyes about life, our futures, jobs and education in general. Splinter’s closing remarks prepped the interns to get the students involved in their first activity.

The interns got students more familiar with each other by doing an icebreaker called “Best Buddies”. As the students first walked in, a name tag with a name of a random person, object or thing was placed on each their backs. The students enjoyed the game and everyone found their match.

The next activity consisted of an employer of UW-Extension, Kurt Rose, who shared an activity based off of Hart Research and what employers are looking for. His activity definitely left a mark on students by classifying each other through a number system. For example, if you are more involved in an organization, have a high GPA, have done a travel study or internship, you are more likely to be hired than someone with an average GPA and only involved in one organization. This gave students insight of how important being involved and doing well in class is on campus. Rose did an amazing job delivering the overall concept of Hart Research, which helped students explore important college learning outcomes.

Following the employer activity, the interns provided a goal setting activity. This gave students time to reflect on themselves and basically assess who they are now and where they want to be in the near future. Interns will send them their letters back later this semester and will ask them to reflect on if they have met these goals.

During dinner, John Dominguez and Mercedes Duran of the multicultural affairs and King Chavez Scholars Programs, presented their mission of student-driven outcomes. It will be to directly affect the student populations effectively and is aimed for future freshmen and other students who aspire to join. The two presenters were also present in our January LEAP Workshops. As well during dinner, conversation cards were given to the workshop facilitators to help indulge in current on-campus activity and other conversations about education. Lastly, Kim Adams, the Assistant Director from the University Center gave an early “LEAP Wrap-Up” for Greg Cook, who could not attend due to family emergency. She gave thanks to everyone who attended and as well gave an overview of the direction of LEAP in the near future. She also invited students to come forward if they intended in planning a second annual LEAP workshop for students.

The previous activities were done to help students make their “Hart Research Wanted” posters, which allowed each team of students to brainstorm a poster which resembles their educational values through LEAP concepts. The interns gave an example of how a poster could look. Each team exceeded initial expectations.

Lastly, we gave each group the opportunity to present their Hart Research Posters. At the end of the workbook, consisted of a feedback survey. This survey is aimed to access the overall impact of the workshop and what students are thinking now that it has come to an end. For each student who finished the workshop, they were rewarded with a LEAP T-Shirt, a LEAP coffee mug and as well as a LEAP key chain.

We would like to thank the LEAP Workshop Steering committee who assisted in this long journey as well as the Provost, Beverley Kopper. Other people who have assisted with helping to make the workshop a success were University Dining and University Graphics.

Written by: Kyree Brooks
Edited by: Kim Adams and Khloe Andreoli

group poster

LEAP Intern Campus Reflection Space Perspective

February 9, 2015

The campus reflection space is an emotionally soothing environment. It has a quiet and vivid artwork setting that provides a perfect opportunity for students to use. My first time in the space, it felt like I was on a journey to peace. Sometimes college students go through things throughout the semester and need a place to pray or just reflect upon themselves. This is a private alternative that can help students calm down and who may be tense during exam stretches and are able to free their minds or overcome any other obstacles in order to achieve a better education.

I would encourage students who may have lost a love one, enjoy religious studies and may just want to come in and meditate in a friendly open space. There are some hands-on objects such as, stress balls, plush chairs and many other things to use as tools of entertainment or to lower stress levels. This reflection place could be very useful for special needs students as well. I like the fact it is not used as a study space, which differs from the Anderson Library. You can feel free to listen to music quietly and I really made the most out of the environment and my thinking. I left the campus reflection space in a much happier mood than when I came. So come take a journey UW-Whitewater to a very peaceful and inviting atmosphere!

The space now has an automatic card reader and if you would like to visit the space the hours are listed below:

Hours:  
Monday-Friday 6:00am-12:00am
Saturday 8:45am-12:00am
Sunday Closed

Written by: Kyree Brooks

Edited by: Kim Adams and Khloe Andreoli

Recap of January LEAP Workshops

January 29, 2015

UW-Whitewater now has a set of new LEAPsters! This means more students and faculty are ready to apply LEAP concepts to their lives inside and outside of the classroom. This January, the campus initiative of LEAP continued its tradition, following the theme of “Empowering Students”! This year marked the fifth annual LEAP workshop held at UW-Whitewater. This two-day experience was specifically for faculty, staff and students to bring forth conversation about liberal education and the future outreach and successes of our students at UW-Whitewater, while also tackling many concepts that could contribute to students’ life skills post-graduation. The “hot” topic of discussion this year was: can LEAP be defined other than Liberal Education and America’s Promise?

Greg Cook, also known as Dr. Leap, the Associate Chancellor for Academic Affairs, along with his team of LEAP workshop facilitators collaborated to help participants further explore the LEAP workshops. The tools related to LEAP were discussed, which include The Essential Learning Outcomes (ELO’s), Principles of Excellence (POE’s), and High-Impact Educational Practices (HIPS’s).

This year, there are 28 LEAP teams created from students, faculty, and staff.  During the first day for the workshop, teams worked with the facilitators, learning about the history and value of liberal education and America’s Promise. Greg Cook discussed one of the components of LEAP in-depth, the ELO’s. This included the definition, where they came from, and how the principles can be implemented at UW-Whitewater.

 Joan Littlefield Cook, the Director of Academic Assessment, discussed how George Kuh’s work relates to LEAP’s High-Impact Practices.  She emphasized the significance and how students can benefit from these experiences. Then Dale Splinter, Associate Professor in the Geography and Geology Department and fellow recipient, shared his views on the theme for 2015: Empowering Students.  This included an in-depth conversation of what the theme means to UW-Whitewater.

Brent Bilodeau, the Assistant Vice Chancellor Student Affairs, discussed Inclusive Excellence. Bilodeau engaged with the workshop facilitators regarding campus-wide efforts focusing to advocate for diversity in all forms, to act as a source of education and programming for these issues, and to make recommendations to the Chancellor for resolving concerns that are brought up by UW-Whitewater. He had a powerful story about his upbringing and of realizing who he was and why it is just as important as other ethnicities who are striving to overcome challenges.

During the second day of the workshop, LEAP teams worked together to develop their year-long action plan that could be implemented throughout the spring semester.  Joan Littlefield Cook, instructed teams to follow the theme and consider the VALUE Rubrics in assisting the teams in completing a successful action plan.  These rubrics define the developmental progress of learning within each of the Essential Learning Outcomes.

The workshop came to a close with an award ceremony for the LEAP teams, with awards being voted on in a variety of categories.  First place in the top category: the LEAP Gold Award went to “Major Declaration” team in the January 6-7 workshop and to the “International Riders for Success” team in the January 13-14th workshop. Closing comments were provided by Provost Beverly Kopper.  She shared her enthusiasm about the LEAP initiative and the progress it has continued to create. The interns have also provided their insights into the workshop below

Kyree: As a team member I was able to apply my LEAP concept knowledge to the workshop and voice my opinions as a student. As well, I had opportunities to meet students, faculty and staff that I never thought shared the same logical thoughts as me regarding education, cultural statistics and the work force. As a LEAP Intern I was able to take photos of each team and their members. I really enjoyed hearing both sets of ideas from two different workshops. The participation and discussion intrigued me greatly!

Khloe: As a LEAP intern I am able to have a unique perspective regarding the workshops.  This position allows the opportunity to network with faculty, staff, and students that share a passion for liberal education and empowering students.  Participating in the workshops has given me a chance to collaborate and share my ideas with incredible people. The insights I have gained from such a diverse and passionate group of people will help me in my future endeavors.

We want to thank all faculty, staff, and students who attended the 2015 workshops and are looking forward to seeing the LEAP teams’ progress in May!

Written by: Khloe Andreoli and Kyree Brooks

Edited by: Kim Adams

LEAP-ing from a Peer Mentor's Perspective: Guest Writer Jeff Klug

December 3, 2014

There are many ways to LEAP on campus. One way is to get involved in different organizations. On-campus organizations give opportunities to do different things. You can run for an eboard position. Some organizations have publicity coordinators. If you are a marketing major that could be an opportunity where you could use what you've learned and apply it. If you are a business major being a president or vice president of an organization would be another good opportunity to apply your skills that you have learned. 

Getting involved helps you build a strong network for the future.It will help you learn how to make solid connections. You will learn how to greet someone, learn how to carry a conversation, and learn how to properly talk to professionals. These are skills that you can carry into your career as well. These are good high impact practices. Using what you learned in class and applying it early in organizations will help you in your career. The earlier you start applying yourself the more you get ahead of everyone else. Getting ahead of everyone will make you a better applicant in your future.

Written by: Jeff Klug

Reflection Space Grand Opening!

November 11, 2014

October 29, 2014 marked the opening of the Campus Reflection Space. A small reception took place to celebrate the opening of the space. The gathering consisted of the chance to talk with the LEAP team members behind the event, reflections from stakeholders, a ribbon cutting by students, and light refreshments.

The idea first originated from the Center for Global Education. The Center of Global Education noted the number of students who expressed a need for such a space to exist on campus. The International Engagements’ LEAP plan was approved in March 2014 and that is when research on the topic started progressing with a focus group and surveys being distributed. From beginning to end, the Reflection Space took ten weeks to complete.

Everyone on the International Engagement LEAP team was present at the open house; each member shared their experiences about the involvement and purpose of the space, as well as the connection to campus. They went through the background, purpose, resources, and guidelines for the space during the reception.

Following the LEAP team members were presentations by Brian Zanin from InterFaith efforts and Taylor Spitzig from W3 Worksite Wellness. Each spoke on the importance of the space on campus. Brian Zanin emphasized the importance related to faith while Taylor Spitzig stressed how mental health is important to focus on because we only tend to focus on physical health and there is not as much prominence on mental health.

Two students, Abdullah Almohaimeed and Khloe Andreoli responded to what the space means to them. Abdullah shared his excitement for the space and how he will utilize it every day for faith related practices. Khloe on the other hand is eager to use the space for personal reflection. Reading materials are also provided about different world religions, self-reflection, community resources, and stress management.

The space, located in Drumlin Hall room 141, will be open daily from 10:30am-10:30pm. The hours will be extended when a door card reader is installed.

Written by: Khloe Andreoli and Ilona Tkach

Edited by: Kim Adams

Empowering Students

November 5, 2014

This January will mark the start of the fifth annual LEAP Workshop. Students, faculty, and staff are invited to come together for this two-day experience on either January 6 -7 or 13 -14, 2015. This series of hands-on workshops allows all who attend to explore the elements of LEAP and discuss LEAP in a larger conversation: helping to advance connection points of a liberal education for students at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

The 2015 theme is Empowering Students. In the past, LEAP has focused on helping faculty and staff understand LEAP and its value to this campus but now the gears are shifting to focus on how students are LEAP-ing. The workshop will delve into devising effective ways to communicate the meaning of LEAP and the significance it adds to a student’s college degree. It will also consider how awareness of LEAP can be increased across the student body and ways in which LEAP can empower students.

Students, faculty, and staff are welcome to form teams in order to explore new ways to inform and engage students at UW-Whitewater about the LEAP initiative. Each team will develop both short and long-term plans for the upcoming year. Teams should consist of 3 to 5 people, including at least one student and one campus employee.

If you are interested in forming a team, apply today by sending an email to Greg Cook the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Seats are limited and acceptance will be subject to availability, budget, and a desire to have representation from a variety of departments across campus. For more information, please refer to the invitation.

Written by: Khloe Andreoli and Ilona Tkach

Edited by: Kim Adams

Reflection Space Update

September 22, 2014

Exciting developments are happening with the Campus Reflection Space since the last spotlight. The International Engagement Team has been working hard to finish and open the space for the campus. This includes painting the walls, moving in donated furniture, and other supplies.

According to Deronica Goldsmith, the team has received a great deal of support from other departments when it comes to putting the Reflection Space together. Support is visible, such as some furniture donated from the Andersen Library, the UC allowing the space to be used in Drumlin Hall, and artwork from the Center for Global Education.

The Reflection Space is located in Drumlin 141. The space will be available for students and staff to get away from the hustle and bustle of their days, allowing them to take a breath and reflect. Students as well as faculty and staff can meditate, decompress, reflect, pray, or unwind in the space. It is intended for everyone to be able to utilize regardless of faith or spiritual belief.

Marketing and promotional materials are currently being dispersed. The team staffed a table at the Involvement Fair. It was a success in promoting the Reflection Space and creating awareness of the project to students, many of whom signed up to be a part of an email list.

The space is also an educational tool that is readily available for students, faculty, and staff. There will be resources such as brochures and pamphlets regarding different religions and stress relieving techniques. Everyone has the ability to become more enlightened on different faiths and spiritual beliefs.

Another exciting aspect of the space is an Islamic Prayer rug from Cairo, Egypt. This rug was donated from Ellen Latorraca who works at the library. It is meant for prayer time and should be treated with respect.

Opening day is set for late-October. If you are interested in receiving email updates regarding the space please let the International Engagement Team know by contacting Kim Adams at adamsk@uww.edu or stop by the Wellness Fair on October 8 in the Hamilton Room. Also, if you wish to support the Reflection Space donations are always welcome.

Thank you for all your hard work International Engagement Team!

<tdJacob Lancaster

*International Engagement Team*
Kim Adams University Center
Deronica Goldsmith Andersen Library
Jennifer Hatlen Center for Global Education
Rhonda Jones University Center
University Center Student
Silvia Reyes-Valadez University Center Graduate Student
Cole Simmons University Center

Written by: Khloe Andreoli and Ilona Tkach
Edited by: Kim Adams

Back to School

September 22, 2014

With the academic year starting up, it is important to inform incoming students, staff, and faculty about LEAP. This academic year particularly, we are focusing on informing students. This process has already begun as we have been involved with campus fairs such as the Faculty and Staff Fair and the Student Involvement Fair. We are going to continue participating in campus fairs and hope to see you at the Wellness Fair on October 8, 2014 from 10:00am to 2:00pm in the UC Hamilton Room.

Over the summer, in collaboration with Beth John from the First Year Experience Office and previous LEAP intern Kayln Maxfield, we have created a New Student Seminar Workbook. This workbook includes learning objectives, a case study adapted from AAC&U, as well as an engaging in-class activity. All of the materials in the workbook were created to help students become more aware of LEAP and how LEAPing will guide them to future success.

In addition to the New Student Seminar Workbook, an Essential Learning Outcome interactive activity has been created. It has been successfully integrated into a couple of New Student Seminar classes as well as the University Center’s Orientation.

If you are interested in using any of the LEAP supplementary materials touched on previously in your classroom or department, or would like to collaborate with us please feel free to contact us at LEAP@uww.edu.

Written by: Khloe Andreoli and Ilona Tkach
Edited by: Kim Adams

Collaborating with AAC&U to Incorprate Bilingual Materials at UW-Whitewater

The 2014-2015 academic year has some major projects in store in terms of bilingual materials. AAC&U, Association of American Colleges and Universities and UW-Whitewater’s Sonia Gambsky are collaborating on creating a brochure series about Liberal Education & America’s Promise. The Spanish Resource Team will also be involved by sending out a survey related to the bilingual supplies. The survey will be implemented in order to find out if the community would be interested in bilingual resources. It will be distributed through the First Year Experience Office. Additional bilingual materials are being considered after having great success with the brochure. The brochure was the main project Sonia Gambsky worked on throughout the 2013-2014 academic year. Along with the brochure, the Spanish Resource Team finished their bilingual campus video (the video will be posted on the Admissions website when and if approved).

Sonia Gambsky, a key team member of the Spanish Resource Team, stated that the idea for the Bilingual-LEAP Brochure was first mentioned by Greg Cook. She loved the idea so much she started working on the brochure right away. Her plan was to make the brochure an interpretation of information rather than a literal translation. Sonia said the interpretation would make the brochure more meaningful to the Spanish speaking community.

During the process of creating the brochure, Sonia enlisted the help of a close friend who happened to be a graphic designer in Mexico. The two collaborated on the design, layout, and overall theme of the brochure. To ensure the brochure was just how she pictured it, Sonia was very particular on all of the details. She searched through a plethora of campus photographs. Ultimately, she chose the photos which encompassed the overall feel of the brochure and what she felt diversity looks like at the UW-Whitewater University.

Once the brochure was completed, AAC&U was contacted for approval and to help fund the brochure. The AAC&U representative was interested in the idea of the brochure and asked for a copy to be sent on her way. This started a fast-paced correspondence between Sonia and AAC&U in order to make adjustments to the brochure, which Sonia created through Illustrator.

The objective of the brochure is to showcase what UW-Whitewater can provide to parents of potential students whose first language is Spanish. Because there is a large Spanish speaking community in Whitewater, the brochure will help communicate the tools LEAP provides to students.

Due to the success of the Bilingual Brochure, Susan Albertine, AAC&U Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Student Success, asked Sonia to collaborate with a student from University of Chicago to make a bilingual version of High-Impact Educational Practices, after that Sonia come out with the ideas to create a bilingual series of brochures pertaining to the various LEAP tools. There will be a total of five brochures it the series; The Bilingual LEAP Brochure (already approved), High-Impact Educational Practices (already approved), Essential Learning Outcomes, Principles of Excellence, and Inclusive Excellence.

They hope to promote diversity and activities available at universities who implement LEAP. The series will be made available on the AAC&U website once they are completed.

Throughout the creation and application of the brochure series, Sonia explains her experience as fulfilling; and a dream come true. She and the Spanish Resource Team are proud to represent the UW-Whitewater campus on a subject which they are passionate about. The 2014-2015 academic year is sure to be an exciting time for the Spanish Resource Team.

Written by: Khloe Andreoli and Ilona Tkach
Edited by: Kim Adams

Intern Introduction-Ilona Tkach

July 15, 2014

Hello! My name is Ilona Tkach (Ee-low-nah T-kah-ch) if you miss pronounce my name, don’t sweat it. I am currently a senior, expecting to graduate in December 2014 with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Marketing with an Emphasis in Direct and Internet Marketing. Before attending the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, I took classes at both the Mequon and Milwaukee MATC campuses.

For most of my life, I have considered myself a full time student. My family and I value academics and it is important for me to do well. Besides being a student, as of May of 2009, I have also worked at the Grafton ShopKo. Since starting school in Whitewater, I have been working seasonally at the Fort Atkinson and Grafton locations. Between the two locations, I have worked just about every position, but I mainly staff the service desk and markdown clearance with the price accuracy team. Working at ShopKo has helped me grow as a person and has provided me with a second family.

As a new LEAP intern, I hope to gain a new perspective on the University. Just within my first week, I have learned so much about Whitewater that I had not known previously. In fact, did you know that there was a street that ran through the campus called Graham Street? That name was given homage to what is now the café on the first floor of the University Center. In the near future, I look forward to learning more about the University, offering suggestions for improvement, and working with a great team!

Written by: Ilona Tkach
Edited by: Kim Adams

Recap of May, 2014 LEAP Workshops

June 26, 2014

During the week of May 19-May 23, 2014, leaders of the LEAP initiative at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater held their fourth annual May LEAP workshops. Faculty, staff, and students came together for this two-day experience to review each team’s plans to capture and advance liberal education throughout a variety of programs.

Greg cook, the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and his team of LEAP facilitators, Lois Smith, Joan Littlefield Cook, and Brent Bilodeau collaborated to help campus participants further explore LEAP in the annual LEAP workshop. Participants in the LEAP workshops discussed the tools related to LEAP, including the Essential Learning Outcomes, Principles of Excellence, and High-Impact Practices. These tools help LEAP teams to showcase their action plan and strategies for the upcoming academic year.

During the first day of the workshop, the teams worked interactively with each other to discuss the focus and goals of the action plans. The teams addressed Inclusive Excellence and innovation in their plans. Discussions also covered the important accomplishments that occurred during spring 2014. In addition, teams had a chance to reflect on the barriers, challenges, and surprises encountered along the way and how they plan to revise their actions plans to account for these obstacles.

After the breakout, each team provided a 20 minute presentation to the workshop at large. Their reports included an expansion on strategies to implement in the upcoming year.

During lunch Brent Bilodeau, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, collaborated with the students who participated in the workshop. This resulted in a student panel that brainstormed ideas for LEAP and how to implement it more effectively to students.

Jane Gottlick, from the Department of Political Science, shared her experiences with LEAP in the classroom setting. She reflected on a trial set up of her classroom that incorporated LEAP initiatives more effectively. Her presentation covered what she learned and the positive outcomes both she and her students have gained from the LEAP way of learning.

During the second day of the workshop, LEAP workshop participants teamed up to revise their action plans for the 2014-2015 academic year. Team reports were also finished up during the second day.

David Reinhart of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies presented on the topic of America’s Promise and his interpretation of what that phrase means for LEAP. He raised important questions related to the topic, which created a lively debate throughout the teams.

The workshop concluded with discussions on the next steps for LEAP on campus. Greg Cook also shared his enthusiasm about the progress and development of the LEAP initiatives provided by each team. The dedication by each team to enrich UW-Whitewater’s campus was also noted. Thanks are in order for all faculty, staff, and students who attended the 2014 May workshops!

Written by: Khloe Andreoli
Edited by: Kim Adams

>Intern Introduction: Khloe Andreoli

May 1, 2014

Hello UW-Whitewater, I have officially started working as the UW-Whitewater LEAP Intern this past month. I am working towards a BBA majoring in Marketing with a Direct and Internet Emphasis. This fall, I will also be enrolled in UW-Whitewater’s graduate school working towards a Master’s of Science in Business and Marketing Education. My ultimate goal and reason for continuing my education is to aid students in the learning process. I also would like to help students gain experience during high school in order to prepare each of them for life after secondary education.

My past work experience is mostly through the university, including an Administrative Assistant for the baseball team and working at Graham Street Café in the University Center. The summer of 2013, I was fortunate to have an amazing internship with the Milwaukee Brewers working in their Consumer Marketing Department. My position with the Milwaukee Brewers was considered a College Ambassador. I would go on various campuses throughout the state promoting the Brewers, specifically the Time Warner Cable Student Nights. I gained knowledge about the business side of professional sports and marketing in the “real world”. This internship helped me to apply my classroom experience to a more professional setting, which helped me make the connections between my education and the workforce.

I am excited to be an integral role for LEAP and spreading the word about what LEAP is and the value it provides, educating not only the students but staff and faculty on implementing LEAP’s goals into their work and everyday lives. I feel this internship with LEAP aligns with my personal goals in life well; wanting students to strive for a liberal education and succeeding in life after college. My past experiences have also helped to prepare me for this role, but I am eager to learn and grow with LEAP. The initiatives set forth by LEAP and AAC&U are goals I hope to incorporate in my career and strive to work towards in my personal/professional life. I am also excited to expand my professional network as well as my personal one.

All of the people I have met are supportive, and caring. I look forward to “LEAP”ing into a year filled with many opportunities.

Written by: Khloe Andreoli

Reflection Space

May 27, 2014

This semester, the International Engagement LEAP Team, consisting of 8 members, is developing a plan to implement a reflection space on campus. It is the focal point for their action plan for 2014-2015.

The idea for the space came from the Center for Global Education when the International Student Advisor, Alicia Haley, noted a need for this space from student comments. It was indicated as an expressed need from the International students for approximately two to three years, which prompted the team to begin its research on the subject.

The team performed research by conducting a focus group and distributing surveys. The focus group consisted of nine participants including a wide variety of religious and spiritual backgrounds (e.g. Muslims, Christians, and atheists). The eclectic focus group provided a good base of information pertaining to the platform of the space and how it should be implemented in order to provide an all-inclusive atmosphere. The focus group then led into the creation of a survey.

As of late May, over 200 surveys have been completed. The survey takes into consideration the usage of the room, the time of day at which visitors would take advantage of the room, and how often it would be used. The survey also brought attention to the noise level inside and outside the room, information resources that could be made available, the number of people able to use the space at one time, if windows are a necessity, and the furnishings of the space.

This space will provide a relaxed atmosphere where students can meditate, decompress, reflect, pray, or unwind. The designated space can be used for these purposes by students as well as faculty and staff. The space is intended for everyone, regardless of faith or spiritual belief. It is intended to help improve mental health and energize each person that uses it for its intended purpose.

The space will include cushions, yoga mats, small end tables, a few soft chairs, and calming artwork. These are available for the use of each visitor to the space in order to provide a relaxing experience.

The team's efforts to implement the space are coming together nicely. The team has already secured a spot for the reflection space. It will be located in two rooms in White Hall, rooms 101 and 103. One of the main reasons for the location choice is the Center for Global Education (CGE) will also be moving to White Hall. CGE will be able to refer international students to the space. Another reason for choosing those rooms includes having a restroom and water source nearby. The ability to have two rooms gives more versatility and flexibility for use, as well.

The next steps for the International Engagement LEAP Team are to finalize the design, develop a purpose statement and guidelines for room usage, and to create promotional materials. The reflection space, when completed, will be a unique place that all of the UW-Whitewater campus can take advantage of and work into their daily lives, if they so choose

.Take the survey to contribute your thoughts on the reflection space. Thank you for your input.

<pWritten by: Khloe Andreoli
Edited by: Kim Adams

Recap of January, 2014 LEAP Workshops

January 2014

Let's LEAP, at UW-Whitewater! This January, leaders of the LEAP Initiative at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater held their fourth annual LEAP workshop. Students, faculty, and staff joined up for this two-day experience to understand the LEAP Program and set forth with a mission to advance a liberal college education for all students.

Greg Cook, the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and his team of LEAP workshop facilitators, collaborated to help 150 campus participants explore LEAP in the annual LEAP workshop. Participants in the LEAP workshops discussed the tools related to LEAP, including the Principles of Excellence, Essential Learning Outcomes, and High-Impact Educational Practices. With these tools, LEAP teams worked collaboratively to create an action plan for the spring semester and for next academic year.

Students, faculty and staff created 24 different LEAP teams this year. During the first day of the workshop, the teams worked interactively with the workshop facilitators, learning in-depth about the history and value of Liberal Education & America's Promise. Lois Smith, Associate Dean for the College of Business and Economics, shared the themes for 2014: Inclusive Excellence and Innovation. Additionally, Lois shared the statistics behind the LEAP Initiative and demonstrated how George Kuh's work relates to LEAP's High-Impact Practices (HIPs). Lois also emphasized the significance of HIPs and how students can benefit from these experiences that will prepare them for today’s workforce.

Greg Cook discussed additional components of LEAP including the Essential Learning Outcomes and Principles of Excellence. Greg defined each component in-depth, how they were derived, how the principles can be implemented, and how to overcome barriers in implementing the LEAP principles.

Brent Bilodeau, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, introduced and described one of the central themes of the LEAP Initiative for 2014: Inclusive Excellence (IE). Brent was able to articulate the meaning of this theme by breaking IE down into smaller components. Emphasizing how UW-Whitewater embraces LEAP through Inclusive Excellence, LEAP teams demonstrated their knowledge and innovation through their group discussions and determining how to best implement IE into their action plans.

During the second day of the workshop, LEAP workshop participants worked collaboratively within their teams to develop their year-long action plan that could be implemented this spring semester. Joan Littlefield Cook, Director of Academic Assessment, instructed the LEAP teams to follow the theme of Inclusive Excellence and consider using the VALUE Rubrics to assist them in completing a successful action plan. These rubrics define the developmental progress of learning within each of the Essential Learning Outcomes in LEAP.

A highlight of the day was the reflective time that teams spent using their creativity to craft posters that displayed the objectives and strategies of their action plans. Once teams completed their posters, LEAP teams took turns sharing their LEAP action plans.

The workshop concluded with an award presentation for LEAP teams, with awards being voted on by peers for excellence in a variety of categories. First place in the top category, the LEAP Gold Award, went to the “Student Employee Model” team in the January 7-8th workshop, and to the “Connect the Dots” team in the January 14-15th workshop.

Closing comments were provided by the Interim Chancellor, Dr. Beverly Kopper. Dr. Kopper shared her enthusiasm about the progress and development that the LEAP Initiative has continued to create. She expressed her support for the LEAP Initiative and all of the LEAP teams’ hard work to enrich UW-Whitewater’s campus. We want to thank all faculty, staff, and students who attended the 2014 workshops, and we are looking forward to seeing all of the LEAP Teams’ progress this May!

Written by: Justin Vickery and Kalyn Maxfield
Edited by: Greg Cook and Brent Bilodeau