The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG) have announced that Georgia is now a state partner in the association’s national initiative, Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP).
LEAP Georgia is a partnership of USG and a recently formed LEAP State Georgia Consortium (LSGC) made up of more than 20 colleges, community colleges, and universities across the state, including the University of North Georgia (UNG).
"The LEAP Initiative directly supports UNG’s mission of academic excellence and preparing students as future leaders in a diverse and global society," said Tanya Bennett, dean of Honors and chairwoman of the UNG LEAP steering committee. "LEAP promotes well-researched approaches to a liberal education through which students develop the broad knowledge, higher order capacities, and real world experience necessary to thrive both in the economy and in a globally engaged democracy."
Since spring 2015, UNG's LEAP steering committee members have worked with the university's Center for Teaching, Learning & Leadership to examine ways to promote high-impact educational practices and to identify professors and departments already implementing these practices at UNG.
UNG’s LEAP steering committee includes Bennett (English/Honors), Mary Carney (English/Center for Teaching, Learning and Leadership), Jennifer Graff (Visual Arts), Thomas Hartfield (Math), Katherine Kipp (Psychological Sciences), Steve Lloyd (Psychological Sciences), Andrew Pearl (Academic Engagement), Sam Prestridge (English), Laura Ng (English), Margaret Williamson (Sociology), and Emily Sparrow (Student Affairs).
"The UNG LEAP committee is truly representative of the ethos of our entire faculty - a faculty that teaches and mentors our students by example," said Andy Novobilski, associate provost for research and engagement and chief research officer at UNG. "Whether it’s sharing high-impact practices that affect growth among faculty in the scholarship of teaching and learning, or imparting the value of a liberal education to our students, the committee serves as champions to connect UNG’s efforts with the LEAP efforts across Georgia."
A LEAP Georgia Steering Committee has worked collaboratively over the last several years to create the statewide consortium and apply to become an official LEAP State partner. The steering committee proposed a statewide agenda for developing and assessing the LEAP vision for student success through a focus on purposeful pathways that lead to essential learning outcomes for all students.
The LSGC Steering Committee includes at least one faculty member and one administrator from each member institution and will provide oversight for the statewide initiative and campus action projects. All provosts in the USG endorsed the effort to create the collective as the entity joining LEAP States.
The LSGC has identified several key initial goals for their LEAP work. In becoming a LEAP state, they are seeking to:
- Strengthen ongoing work related to Georgia’s participation in Complete College America, showcasing Georgia’s commitment to equity, access, and academic achievement;
- Develop new academic programming and a pathways approach to the USG Core Curriculum;
- Share resources and build campus capacity to implement high-impact educational practices and more integrated designs for general education; and
- Build common standards for student achievement connecting the USG’s existing stated learning outcomes with the broader national framework of LEAP’s essential learning outcomes and its accompanying assessment rubrics developed as part of AAC&U’s VALUE initiative (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education).