Campus program advocates LEAP initiative

UW-Whitewater utilized Leap Day by hosting an event showcasing the Liberal Education and America’s Promise initiative.

LEAP, a national effort launched by the Association of American Colleges & Universities, was on display from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m throughout the University Center.

Interim Director Greg Cook led the employee webinar featuring three UW-Whitewater alumni. Each member represented a prominant Wisconsin employer. Photo by Jenny Dupuis.

Chancellor Richard Telfer and Provost Beverly Kopper both gave short speeches addressing the progress made on campuses as a result of LEAP.

According to Telfer, LEAP principles would help create college and university programs that prepare people for the 21st century.

“Liberal education helps you do Y even if your preparation was in X,” Telfer said.

Kopper shared her history as a student in her address to the audience.

“My experience at a university solidified my path, and I wouldn’t be standing here today if I hadn’t had a strong liberal arts education,” Kopper said. “I believe the real beauty of LEAP is that it’s a model of how universities can take a truly comprehensive approach to educating students.”

Kopper said with things changing so rapidly in the world these days, a liberal arts education is important.

“[A liberal arts education] prepares you to do a variety of things, and that is especially important in the 21st century,” Kopper said. “Our commitment to our students is to make sure they are prepared for whatever it happens to take to be successful.”

Following the speeches, a national webinar was held in which a panel of prominent employers fielded questions on what qualities they look for in recent college graduates.

The three employers that made up the local portion of the panel included UW-Whitewater graduates Julie Anding of Harley Davidson, Floyd Bellman of Harris Associates and Paul Sara of Clear Channel Outdoor.

Interim Director of Academic Assessment Greg Cook, the event organizer for the day, said more than 2,000 faculty, staff and students at 77 campuses across the country viewed the employer panel discussion.

“I think this year’s entire program was a success,” Cook said. “We plan to hold a similar event next year and have talked about making it even more student focused.”