Implementing the LEEP Curricular Framework: The Exemplar Project

Clark University's Exemplar Project is designed to provide a mechanism to assist faculty and staff as they implement the LEEP Curricular Framework. The goal of the project is to develop exemplar plans for the various curricular and co-curricular elements of the LEEP framework, using networked learning communities to build faculty and staff capacity for integrative liberal learning. The faculty and staff learning communities have focused on various elements of the LEEP Curricular framework (the FYI, the Major, and the LEEP Center). Each unit works on its own implementation plan, with the overarching aim to coordinate efforts while allowing variety of ways to meet the LEEP learning outcomes. The project is facilitated by Nancy Budwig. Further information about the implementation plans that are now being piloted for the Majors, the First Year Intensive Seminars, and the LEEP Center can be found below.

The Exemplar Project: Implementation Plans for The Majors and the LEEP Center

Three iterations of exemplar learning communities have taken place with a fourth learning community in the planning stage. The first two communities have focused on the major with the first exemplar community incorporating four different majors (Biology, Economics, Music, and Screen Studies), while the second exemplar group included four other majors (Computer Science, Cultural Studies & Communication, English, and Management). Each community was set up to include views from across the campus (e.g. sciences, humanities/arts, and social science). Clark's new LEEP Center — a support structure on campus integrating all academic support services and providing students with additional LEEP advising — also participated in the learning communities to help foster discussion of linkages between the majors and the academic support services and co-curricular activities available on campus.

Examples of implementation plans from 8 majors and the LEEP Center can be found below:

A short video from members of the LEEP Exemplar Learning Communities on the Major and the LEEP Center can be found here:

This video describes the efforts of faculty and staff to weave one specific learning outcome: collaboration into various majors and the LEEP Center work.


The Exemplar Project: Implementation Plans for The First Year Intensive (FYI) Seminars

While the first two learning communities have focused on the major and this work will continue iteratively and in accelerated form — the third learning community has transitioned to bring together faculty and staff involved with the First Year Intensive Seminars to consider ways first year programming can assist students not only transition into college, but also help them link their first year experiences to the other curricular elements (Program of Liberal Studies and the Major). The third learning community uses the same tools and methods enhancing campus capacity to find shared understanding even if particular courses and majors build the LEEP framework in different ways.

Examples of implementation plans for 5 FYI courses can be found here:

National Recognition for Clark's Institutional Strategy to Build the LEEP Curricular Framework through Networked Improvement Communities

Clark's exemplar project has been part of ongoing national discussions related to developing frameworks and strategies for integrating liberal learning as part of the centennial celebration of liberal education in 2015. Clark has been invited to join a consortium on this theme coordinated by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and funded by the Teagle Foundation and Mellon Foundation. In addition, Clark's work on linking business education to liberal learning through the work of GSOM's role in the exemplar project has been supported by participation in a consortium of universities convened by the Aspen Institute and also funded by the Teagle foundation. Clark's Exemplar Project also has been supported by generous funding from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. All of this work is part of an institutional strategy to move the LEEP framework into implementation in a coordinated way that nevertheless allows individuals and departments to find their own way. An article on Clark's strategy to implement the LEEP framework will appear in the Winter 2015 edition of AAC&U's monograph Peer Review (Click here for the article).