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Texas State, LEAP Texas join national education advocacy coalition

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
January 31, 2014

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) announced Jan. 30 that and LEAP Texas has become an official consortium partner in AAC&U's signature national initiative, Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP): Excellence for Everyone as a Nation Goes to College.

Currently, LEAP Texas includes more than 60 institutions--including Texas State University--as a voluntary coalition of higher education institutions in Texas.

"Texas State has been involved since the initiative was launched several years ago," said Ron Brown, assistant vice president for Academic Services. "It is related to developing general education core curriculum--that's one of the things LEAP is about, involving universities in the process.

"The Texas group is still at a very early stage. Much of our conversation has been focused on the state-wide core curriculum that came out of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s changes that will be implemented in fall 2014," Brown said. "We're now part of an ongoing conversation, and getting assistance from the AAC&U."

The LEAP Texas coalition has a common purpose and is committed to the fundamental principles of the LEAP initiative. Texas institutions are in a challenging context that includes multiple institutional structures and systems, an increasingly diverse and growing student population, increasing demands for accountability, the state's new core curriculum for higher education, and a period of rapidly changing technology and globalization. LEAP Texas sees the opportunity for significant large-scale collaboration to address these challenges.

“Students at Texas higher education institutions must attain certain critical skills for future success in the workplace and throughout life,” said Raymund Paredes, commissioner of higher education. “Strong communication, the ability to work well within a team, critical thinking skills, as well as other competences have been identified in the new Texas Core Curriculum for Higher Education as being crucial to success. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and LEAP Texas are aligned in our efforts to identify higher education learning outcomes that not only improve completion and productivity rates within higher education and the workforce, but also enhance and inspire the quality of students’ learning.”

With more than 60 institutions involved to date, the LEAP Texas initiative has great potential for growth and action. LEAP Texas is a collaborative of 34 public two-year colleges, 23 universities of varying missions, four research flagships and a private institution--all with the capacity to reach almost 900,000 students. LEAP Texas will be unique. LEAP Texas is not driven by a particular institution, system of institutions, or a state office. It is a collection of institutions with common issues and shared purpose. Administratively, LEAP Texas is currently housed at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Future administrative oversight will be guided by the elected leadership.

For more information about LEAP Texas, visit www.aacu.org/leap/texas.cfm.

About AAC&U

The Association of American Colleges and Universities 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 more than 1,300 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities and comprehensive universities of every type and size.

For more information, contact Debra Humphreys, AAC&U vice president for policy and public engagement, at (202) 387-3760, ext. 422 or via email at Humphreys@aacu.org.