LEAP into student success

UW-W Liberal Education and America’s Promise educate students on high impact opportunities

Olivia Storey, News Editor

The 2020 Liberal Education & America’s Promise initiative (LEAP) is approaching for UW-W students, and with it comes even greater opportunitites for students to make a difference on their campus. This year’s theme, “Supporting Student Success,” hopes to build on high impact practices that the university can look towards in the future.

LEAP is a longstanding initiative at UW-W, and was established by the national Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).

“This effort takes place in and out of the classroom,” said Kristin Plessel, the interim associate vice chancellor for academic success. “Warhawks are obviously passionate about giving students valuable experiences and transferable skills, which is evidenced in the long standing LEAP initiative, [with] over 182 LEAP teams with more than 900 participants.”

LEAP teams require student involvement alongside a professor to focus on a project that develops and implements concrete plans using elements of LEAP.

“The student perspective is so important for strong development of student success initiatives, and have shown their value by focusing efforts in places that would truly make a difference,” Plessel said. “If any students are approached by a faculty or staff member, consider joining. It is a fun experience and you can make a lasting impact on UW-W.”

UW-W has a long history with the LEAP initiative. Wisconsin was the first state to adopt the LEAP program, and has been successful in implementing it into the UW System.

“UW-W was the first UW System school to implement the LEAP initiative,” said Zach Klotz, a member of the LEAP Council. “It is clear that our campus leadership is committed to supporting our liberal education that we all receive at this institution, and I am proud to say UW-W values student success inside and outside the classroom.”

LEAP encourages students to develop and hone their learning skills outside of the classroom by engaging students in various fields of study and challenging them to learn more about their environments.

According to the ACC&U, “through LEAP, hundreds of campuses are making far-reaching educational changes to help all their students acquire the broad knowledge, higher-order capacities and real-world experience they need to thrive both in the economy and in a globally engaged democracy.”

Although one benefit of being part of a LEAP team is making a difference on campus, there are other rewards that come with the experience.

“One benefit students can gain from participating is that they will be able to work together with their teammates to create a plan that could have a large impact on our students’ success,” Klotz said. “[Also], participating students receive a stipend, so you are getting paid to create plans that could make a big difference on our campus.”

While many students look forward to the money, many do it to make a positive impact and utilize their skills.

“My favorite thing about LEAP is watching our students use their talents, their skills and knowledge learned in their own experiences and classes to better UW-W for other students,” Plessel said. “The program really gives back and feeds itself.”

If interested in starting a LEAP team this year, email [email protected] with questions regarding the application process and how to can get involved.