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The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is one of nine campuses selected for a new national initiative charged with strengthening student learning.

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) has brought together institutions from the California State University, Oregon University and the University of Wisconsin systems for a new initiative, “Give Students a Compass: A Tri-State LEAP Partnership for College Learning, General Education and Underserved Student Success.”

The project is part of AAC&U’s signature initiative, Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP), which fosters campus action, public advocacy, and useful evidence to make the aims and outcomes of liberal education a guiding framework for all students’ educational achievement.

“The selection of UW Oshkosh to participate in the ‘Give Students a Compass’ project is a strong endorsement of our faculty’s teaching effectiveness by both UW System and AAC&U,” said Assistant Vice Chancellor Carleen Vande Zande, who is co-chairing the project with Associate Vice Chancellor Perry Rettig. “The Compass project is another way UW Oshkosh distinguishes itself as a campus dedicated to student learning and innovative teaching.”

UW Oshkosh was chosen for “Give Students a Compass” because the University is in the midst of a major liberal education reform initiative — a campus-wide response to AAC&U’s LEAP campaign. The University is moving from a course-based general education model to a model in which learning outcomes are integrated throughout general education and major-related coursework.

The project will look at participation rates of traditionally underserved students — such as racial and ethnic minorities, low-income students and first-generation students — and examine the performance of transfer students, who typically miss out on the University’s orientation programs that introduce students to the campus’s unified, outcomes-based curriculum. The goal is to increase the rate of participation and success rate of those students.

“‘Give Students a Compass’ builds upon the momentum created by ongoing UW Oshkosh initiatives, including Liberal Education Reform, the Equity Scorecard process, review of retention and academic support services, and analysis of the results of the University’s National Survey of Student Engagement and Campus Climate Survey,” said Chancellor Richard H. Wells, who serves on the AAC&U’s board of directors.

“We want to graduate the type of student who is a talented, liberally educated and technically skilled person who will know when and why to vote for a Republican or a Democrat or an Independent and will either run for office or be an engaged citizen who cares for others,” Wells said.

In addition to Rettig and Vande Zande, the following UW Oshkosh faculty and staff are participating in Give Students a Compass: Dawn Arnold, Karl Boehler, Cynthia Brun, Katherine Chase, Mehgan Clark, Paul Gedlinske, Pam Gemin, Jenna Graff, Debbie Gray Patton, Carmen Heider, Frank Holmes, Marianne Johnson, Quincy LaGrant, Ron Rindo, Alan Saginak, Patricia Vander Loop and Mike Watson.

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