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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.

Prior to its involvement in the LEAP campaign, the UW System launched in 2004 The Currency of the Liberal Arts and Sciences: Rethinking Liberal Education in Wisconsin. Now “sunsetted,” this initiative's goals included: 

 
  • Making the outcomes of liberal education accessible and valuable to all UW students, regardless of chosen major or type of degree earned;
  • Sparking public debate about the kinds of knowledge, skills, habits of mind, and values needed to prepare students for their future roles as citizens; and
  • Renewing Wisconsin citizens’ understanding of public higher education as a public good, essential to 21st-century democracy and civic engagement, and vital to the economic well-being of the state and its citizens.

The Currency Initiative was grounded in the following tenets, which still obtain for LEAP Wisconsin:

  • The majority of the undergraduate degrees earned by UW System students are in liberal arts and science disciplines.
  • All UW students, even those in professional degree programs, are required to take courses in the liberal arts and sciences.
  • This initiative addresses the liberal arts and sciences, as well as liberal education.
  • We view the outcomes for both liberal arts education and liberal education as identical.
  • The initiative seeks to make the goals and outcomes of liberal education, which we view as essential to productive citizenship in 21st century global society, accessible and valuable to all UW students, regardless of chosen major or type of degree earned.
  • Additionally, the initiative seeks to spark public debate about the kinds of knowledge, skills, habits of mind, and values needed to prepare today's students for their future roles as citizens.
  • We seek to make the outcomes of a liberal education widely recognized as the foundation for advancing human potential, economic growth and stability, and an engaged citizenry.

For additional historical context and definitions, see the 2003 White Paper on the Currency of the Liberal Arts and Sciences at:  http://liberaleducation.uwsa.edu/rationale.htm


 
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Last Update: October 14, 2009