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Liberal Education Initiative

LEAP Wisconsin is an initiative of the University of Wisconsin System that seeks to increase understanding of the value and purpose of liberal education for UW students and Wisconsin citizens.

The Currency of the Liberal Arts and Sciences: Rethinking Liberal Education in Wisconsin

AAC&U Partnership

As part of the initiative, The Currency of the Liberal Arts and Sciences: Rethinking Liberal Education in Wisconsin, the UW System has entered into a partnership with the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) to promote the importance of liberal education for students in Wisconsin and across the nation.

As a partner with AAC&U, Wisconsin becomes the first state to pilot activities as part of a national advocacy initiative, Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP): Excellence for Everyone as a Nation Goes to College.

The goal of AAC&U's new LEAP Campaign is to champion the value of an engaged liberal education, both for individual students and for a nation increasingly dependent on economic creativity and democratic vitality. The campaign, first announced at AAC&U's national meeting in San Francisco this January, will expand understanding of the value of a college education, and how learning can empower students to succeed and make a difference in the 21st century.

Liberal Education and America's Promise is designed to:

  • spark public debate about the knowledge, skills, and values today's students need;
  • challenge the belief that students must choose either a practical education or a liberal education;
  • to make visible current inequities that steer low-income students to programs that teach narrow job skills, while more advantaged students choose liberal education;
  • and to document national and state progress in providing every student with access to a high-quality, liberal arts education.

AAC&U is providing initial funding to begin pilot activities in Wisconsin, and further grant support is expected. Activities include:

  • focus groups to gain a better understanding of high school and college students' goals for college learning;
  • campus-based dialogues to chart changes in teaching and learning;
  • campus-community dialogues on what really matters in college learning;
  • and development of a Leadership Council, whose members will represent politics, business, industry, arts, the non-profit sector, and all levels of education.

Keep an eye on this Web site as we add links to new resources and descriptions of the activities as they develop.


"We are honored to collaborate with the Association of American Colleges and Universities to further promote our shared goals to make college accessible and purposeful for all students," said UW System President Kevin P. Reilly. more ...

"The state of Wisconsin is ahead of the curve in bringing the crucial issue of what students need to learn in college to the attention of its residents," said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider. more ...


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Last Update: October 14, 2009