Collaboration to Focus on Integration of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies
The New American Colleges and Universities (NAC&U) will leverage its members’ collective mission – to purposefully integrate liberal arts, professional studies, and civic engagement – to partner with the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ (AAC&U) on its signature national initiative, Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP): Excellence for Everyone as a Nation Goes to College. As part of the LEAP States Initiative, public state systems and other consortia of public and private colleges and universities participate collaboratively in the LEAP initiative to accelerate and advance changes to improve student learning outcomes.
“Historically NAC&U has been at the forefront of integrating liberal arts and professional studies, an aspect of undergraduate education that has become increasingly sought after by families and students,” said NAC&U President Nancy Hensel. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to continue building on our mission through AAC&U’s LEAP program because it will allow us to share our findings with a larger audience, which will lead to greater benefits for students.”
As a LEAP partner, NAC&U will strengthen its efforts to purposefully integrate liberal arts and professional studies. Through its participation in LEAP, the consortium will:
- Develop a curriculum map of where liberal arts and professional skills and civic engagement are integrated into courses at NAC&U campuses.
- Develop a program guide for students to assist them in planning their course of study to include courses that integrate professional and liberal arts with civic engagement.
- Solicit syllabi of campus courses and vignettes of project activities that integrate professional and liberal studies and civic engagement to post on the NAC&U website.
- Publish a monograph describing the innovative ways in which NAC&U campuses foster the development of professional and liberal arts through curricular and co-curricular civic engagement activities.
”We are so pleased to welcome NAC&U into the family of LEAP partners,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider. “The mission of NAC&U is perfectly aligned with the goals of the LEAP initiative and the broad vision for high-quality learning we are working together to advance throughout higher education.”
Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) is a national advocacy, campus action, and research initiative that champions the importance of a twenty-first century liberal education—for individuals and for a nation dependent on economic creativity and democratic vitality. LEAP responds to the changing demands of the twenty-first century—demands for more college-educated workers and more engaged and informed citizens. Today, and in the years to come, college graduates need higher levels of learning and knowledge as well as strong intellectual and practical skills to navigate this more demanding environment successfully and responsibly. Launched in 2005, LEAP challenges the traditional practice of providing liberal education to some students and narrow training to others. Through LEAP, hundreds of campuses and several state systems are making far-reaching educational changes to help all their students—whatever their chosen major field of study—achieve a set of Essential Learning Outcomes fostered through a liberal education.
AAC&U is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises nearly 1,300 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.
AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, and faculty members who are engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Its mission is to reinforce the collective commitment to liberal education and inclusive excellence at both the national and local levels, and to help individual institutions keep the quality of student learning at the core of their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges.
Information about AAC&U membership, programs, and publications can be found at www.aacu.org.