Since 2005, UW System has been a partner with the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) in moving the Liberal Education and America’s Promise, (LEAP) agenda forward. The initiative’s mission is to champion the importance of a twenty-first century liberal education. LEAP Wisconsin is a shared conversation, a set of best practices, and an ongoing commitment to quality education and student success in the changing landscape of higher education in the 21st century.
This year’s UW System conference “LEAP 2.0: Integrating Liberal Education into a Changing Landscape” came at just the right time as—not only are we reading and hearing more about changes in higher education—the UW System is leading them! The conference, held for two days in Madison, brought together students, faculty and staff from UW System institutions, and other stakeholders – to discuss LEAP-infused general education reform, high-impact practices, and large-scale efforts to transform UW institutions so that a wider and deeper cut of students receive high-quality education in a rapidly changing delivery and funding context. At a reception at the close of day 1, UW System President Kevin Reilly honored the three student winners of the UW System’s annual Liberal Arts Essay Scholarship Competition, who each read excerpts from their award-winning essays.
The second day of the conference featured panel sessions from the faculty and staff who are working on curricular development and student services for UW Flexible Option programs. An operations team from UW-Milwaukee and UW Colleges shared their work on developing processes related to admissions, advising, registrar, financial aid and bursar for UW Flexible Option programs. A closing panel deliberated on the intersections between LEAP and the UW Flexible Option, and the larger changes these two initiatives portend for the future of public higher education.