Submitted by The Evergreen State College
The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and the Washington Consortium for the Liberal Arts (WaCLA) announced today that Washington is now a state partner in AAC&U’s Centennial Campus Action, Advocacy, and Research Initiative, Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP): Excellence for Everyone as a Nation Goes to College.
“The Washington Consortium for the Liberal Arts sought to become a LEAP partner state out of a deep sense of shared mission,” said Michael Zimmerman, WaCLA Chair and Vice President for Academic Affairs at The Evergreen State College. “Formalizing our alignment with LEAP will greatly strengthen our success in advocating for the value of the liberal arts for the broadest range of residents in preparation for work, life, and meaningful participation in our democracy.”
The national LEAP initiative provides an expanded platform for WaCLA to continue a dialogue with key state stakeholders about the role of liberal education in advancing goals for economic and civic vitality.
“We are currently exploring additional avenues for students to find and use their voices to advocate for the critical roles a liberal education has played in their lives. We’ve come to see how great an impact students can have on the thinking of employers and legislators,” Zimmerman said. “Additionally, activities of this sort build confidence in students, which helps them reach their goals as they leave college.”
Formed in 2012, the Washington Consortium for the Liberal Arts (WaCLA) is an association of Washington state public and private higher education institutions, organizations, and individuals promoting the value of a liberal arts education to the people and communities of the state. WaCLA has a membership of 37 public and private colleges and universities across Washington*, along with seven educational organizations and consortia. In 2014, WaCLA was given the Phi Beta Kappa Key of Excellence Award, with a prize of $10,000, for its work promoting the value of the liberal arts.
“AAC&U is pleased to welcome Washington to LEAP,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider. “AAC&U and WaCLA educators share a passion for liberal education and a commitment to help all students achieve both broad learning about the world they will inherit—through studies in science, humanities, the arts, and the social sciences—and the critical skills they need to help create solutions for our future. Given these shared commitments, we are delighted to work with WaCLA to ensure that college students throughout the consortium receive the best possible preparation for purposeful work and citizenship, and flourishing lives.”