Magazine article Liberal Education

The LEAP EMPLOYER-EDUCATOR COMPACT: Making Quality a Priority as Americans Go to College

Magazine article Liberal Education

The LEAP EMPLOYER-EDUCATOR COMPACT: Making Quality a Priority as Americans Go to College

Article excerpt

EDITOR'S Note: Through the Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP) initiative, the Association of American Colleges and Universities seeks to engage employers with the value, goals, and best practices of a twenty-first-century liberal education; to publicize employers' support for liberal education; and to encourage employer-educator partnerships that provide applied learning experiences far undergraduate students. In 2012, the LEAP Presidents' Trust, a leadership group consisting of presidents from all sectors of higher education, I initiated the LEAP J Employer-Educator Compact, an effort to bring together college presidents and leading employers of college graduates in order to support the goals of die LEAP initiative. At a forum held in Washington, DC, on April 10, 2013, more than two hundred distinguished leaders in business, higfier education, and the nonprofit sector came together to endorse the Employer-Educator Compact printed below.

As LEADERS of higher education institutions and of companies and organizations that employ college graduates, we are coming together in a compact to put the quality of college learning at the top of national, regional, state, and institutional agendas-for the benefit of our students, our economy, and our democracy. We are launching this LEAP Employer-Educator Compact because we are alarmed that, even as the world around us is changing dramatically, the United States is falling short in providing today's students with the broad knowledge and high-level capacities that they will need both to navigate a fast-paced economy and to contribute to the future of our democracy.

Recently, public policy at all levels has focused with new intensity on college preparation, access, completion, and cost reduction-and we strongly support those commitments. But, as employers and educators, we know that too many students leave college still lacking crucial capacities that they-and societyurgently need.

The quality of student learning in college is fundamental to America's future-and ensuring high-quality learning is the goal of this Employer-Educator Compact. Through this Compact, we are determined to focus with new intensity on

1. the learning college students most need, both for the economy and for democracy;

2. twenty-first-century designs for high-quality, hands-on learning that prepare students to deal with complexity, diversity, and change;

3. the development of meaningful evidence about students' actual achievement in college.

High-quality learning involves more than a major

Above and beyond what students learn in their major fields-chemists must know chemistry and engineers must know engineering-a high-quality college education for the twentyfirst century also should emphasize

* broad learning about science, society, technology, human diversity, and global cultures and interdependence;

* intellectual skills that support evidence-based reasoning and innovation-including analysis, communication, critical and creative thinking, quantitative fluency, information literacy, and collaborative problem solving;

* personal and social responsibility, including ethical reasoning, civic and democratic knowledge and engagement, global acumen, and the capacity to work productively with diverse people and perspectives;

* integrative and adaptive learning, including the demonstrated ability to apply knowledge, skills, and responsibilities to complex problems and new settings. …

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