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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.

LEAP Wisconsin and the UW System’s Growth Agenda

LEAP Wisconsin is part of the Growth Agenda for Wisconsin, which calls for higher education to act as a catalyst for educational, social, civic, and economic transformation.
In early 2008, UW System President Kevin Reilly launched the Growth Agenda for Wisconsin.  With its focus on people, jobs, and communities, the UW System’s Growth Agenda provides direction for how best to educate students for the 21st century global society, and to strengthen Wisconsin’s competitive edge, nationally and globally.  Developed with broad input from constituents throughout the state, the Growth Agenda offers a blueprint for developing the state’s human potential, creating new jobs, and strengthening the local communities that sustain citizens and businesses alike. 

With reinvestment from the state, the University of Wisconsin System seeks to: 

  1. enroll more Wisconsin residents and graduate more four-year college-degree holders;
  2. attract college graduates from other states to Wisconsin; and
  3. use university resources to grow knowledge-economy jobs for Wisconsin’s future. 

The ultimate goal is an economically robust Wisconsin, with a high quality of life, an engaged citizenry, and a strong democracy.

The Growth Agenda for Wisconsin underscores the significant role played by higher education in providing Wisconsin citizens with the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind they need to succeed in the 21st-century global economy.  To that end, the UW System must prepare its students for responsible, ethical, and engaged citizenship to meet the university’s broad educational goal of promoting excellence in professional, civic, and personal life. 

LEAP Wisconsin plays a critical role in moving the Growth Agenda forward, in particular through the advancement of Inclusive Excellence and the UW System’s commitment to a set of shared learning goals for all baccalaureate students, two of the Growth Agenda’s Action Steps towards transformation. 

In 2008, the UW System endorsed a set of Shared Learning Goals (Action Step #1), developed by a group of UW System faculty and intentionally aligned with the LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes.

A commitment to inclusive excellence (Action Step #4) likewise appears as a lead objective of the agenda, with the goal of integrating the core values of diversity and equity into the UW System’s education and employment practices.   

In addition, other Action Steps of the Growth Agenda focus on preparing students for life and work beyond the academy.  Action Step #2 commits to developing a student engagement portfolio that will provide evidence of a student’s university learning both in and outside the classroom.  Action Step #5 focuses on working adults and expanding opportunities for them to obtain undergraduate and graduate degrees.  Action Step #6 works to expand the Wisconsin KnowHow2Go Network, raising college aspirations for young people statewide.  And Action Step #7 is working to build greater collaboration between the state’s higher education and PK-12 communities by focusing on improving college preparation in math.  There are multiple activities and initiatives underway to advance each of these Action Steps. 


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Last Update: <May 11, 2011