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St. Mary's College Joins LEAP Employer-Educator Compact

April 10, 2013
Press Release #13-062


St. Mary’s College of Maryland announced on Tuesday its participation in a new national initiative called the LEAP Employer-Educator Compact. 

St. Mary’s College President Joseph Urgo has signed the compact which was developed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and by employers working with AAC&U.  AAC&U is a national organization of which St. Mary’s College is a long-standing member.  Urgo is a member of a presidential leadership group within AAC&U called the LEAP Presidents’ Trust.  Presidents’ Trust members and employers who work with them are the initial signatories to this ongoing national initiative to ensure that today’s students will be well prepared for economic, civic, and global challenges.

Participating colleges, universities, and employers will work together through 2014 to showcase employer support for the aims and outcomes of a broad liberal education and to show how higher education is helping students connect college learning with work, citizenship and global challenges. More than 250 college presidents, business and nonprofit leaders have signed on to the LEAP Employer-Educator Compact. 

As part of the compact initiative, St. Mary’s College is partnering with business leaders—and members of the college’s Board of Trustees—John Chambers Wobensmith of Genco Shipping and Trading Limited, Elizabeth Graves of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc., and Glen Ives of Sabre Systems, Inc. to underscore the economic value of liberal education and to provide students with hands-on learning opportunities. 

Signatories of the LEAP Employer-Educator Compact have committed to:

1)    Helping Americans understand the rising demands of a global workplace and the need for every student to acquire liberal education outcomes;

2)    Ensuring that all college students have access to experiences that help them develop the broad knowledge and intellectual skills needed for success;

3)    Expanding and supporting new designs for hands-on learning, including such things as senior projects, undergraduate research, and internships;

4)    Advancing the dual mission for American higher education to prepare students both for successful careers and for civic responsibility;

5)    Documenting progress in helping all students achieve key learning outcomes, including their ability to apply learning to complex problems.

"Liberal arts graduates are represented in disproportionate numbers in leadership and positions of prominence,” said Urgo. "They are Nobel laureates, CEOs, doctors, lawyers, scientists, and artists, to name a few. In the liberal arts, students are taught to think critically, carefully and thoroughly, and through the LEAP Employer-Educator Compact, our students will be provided opportunities to apply their learning in real-world settings. We are excited to be a part of this new national effort, and we are particularly pleased to partner in this initiative with members of the St. Mary’s College Board of Trustees.”

“Too many students believe that the key to economic success is completion of a major whose title seems to promise a job,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider.  “What the compact and the research on employer priorities show is that, whatever the choice of major, employers say that career success will require broad liberal learning, strong 21st century skills, and real-world experience and savvy. We want to make sure that students and their families hear this message from employers themselves.”

The LEAP Employer-Educator Compact was officially launched on April 10 at an AAC&U forum in Washington, D.C., where remarks were given by U.S. Secretary of Education Martha Kanter.  At the event, AAC&U also released a report, “It Takes More Than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success,” summarizing the findings of a national survey of business and nonprofit employers.  Among other things, the survey reveals that, after reading a definition, 74 percent of business and nonprofit leaders say they would recommend a 21st century liberal education to a young person they know in order to prepare for long-term professional success in today’s global economy.

About St. Mary’s College of Maryland

St. Mary's College of Maryland, designated the Maryland state honors college in 1992, is ranked one of the best public liberal arts schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. More than 2,000 students attend the college, nestled on the St. Mary's River in Southern Maryland.

About AAC&U

AAC&U 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 nearly 1,300 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.

About Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP)

Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) is a national advocacy, campus action, and research initiative that champions the importance of a 21st century liberal education—for individuals and for a nation dependent on economic creativity and democratic vitality. LEAP responds to the changing demands of the 21st century—demands for more college-educated workers and more engaged and informed citizens.

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