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MDC President Joins New “Presidents’ Trust” to Advance Liberal Education as Source of American Civic Vitality and Economic Innovation and Growth

82 College and University Leaders To Work Together To Build Public Understanding of the Value of Liberal Education Outcomes for Students and American Society
Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón

President of Miami Dade College, Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón

Miami, November 20, 2009 -

President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón of Miami Dade College and chair of the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) announced today that he has joined a new Presidents’ Trust formed by him and his colleagues at the AAC&U. 

Dr. Padrón and an esteemed national group of 81 other college and university leaders from around the country are forming this Trust to strongly and collectively make the case for liberal education and its value in today’s world.  The Presidents’ Trust is a leadership group within AAC&U’s national initiative, Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP): Excellence for Everyone as a Nation Goes To College.

“As we continue to face challenging economic times, the time is now for us make this unified case for liberal education, on the great need for liberal learning that truly addresses economic prosperity and engagement,” said Dr. Padrón. 

Members of the LEAP Presidents’ Trust are leaders from all sectors of higher education and are committed to advocating for the vision, values, and practices that connect liberal education with the individual and societal needs of the twenty-first-century.  Through regional and national meetings and their own advocacy efforts, Trust members will engage with campus members and those outside of higher education about the core purposes and practices of liberal education.  They are all also providing leadership for advancing reforms in the practice of liberal education both on campus and with other groups and organizations with which they are affiliated.

In 2009-10, the core priority areas for the Presidents Trust include:

-          Making the economic case for liberal education

-          Making—and fulfilling—the civic case for liberal education

-          Engaging first-generation families and new Americans with the meaning and value of liberal education

-          Integrating liberal arts and professional preparation on campus

-          Charting a new direction for assessment and accountability

“Dr. Padrón is already providing valuable leadership speaking out and ensuring that Miami Dade College students are receiving the kind of college education that will best prepare them for success in today’s competitive global economy—an engaged and practical liberal education,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider.

The Presidents’ Trust advocates for a twenty-first-century vision of liberal education that combines the best of that philosophy of education’s traditional focus on broad knowledge, analytic reasoning, and rigorous contextual study with newer approaches to helping students integrate and apply their learning in new settings.  The Trust believes that a twenty-first-century liberal education empowers individuals with core knowledge and transferable skills and cultivates social responsibility and a strong sense of ethics and values.  Characterized by challenging encounters with important issues, a liberal education prepares graduates both for socially valued work and for civic leadership in their society.

MDC has been a leader in liberal education. It has been lauded for its trailblazing Learning Outcomes initiative that helps ensure that students are truly equipped for success in today’s global marketplace. Earlier this year, the college also joined the AAC&U in hosting the forum titled Responsibility in a Time of Crisis.  The timely event was part of the AAC&U’s LEAP Forum series and aimed at harnessing the talents of all sectors of business and society to create better citizens engaged in their community and ethical at the workplace and in the home.

See for full list of Presidents’ Trust members.

About LEAP

Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) is an initiative that champions the value of a liberal education—for individual students and for a nation dependent on economic creativity and democratic vitality. The initiative focuses campus practice on fostering essential learning outcomes for all students, whatever their chosen field of study.   LEAP is AAC&U’s primary vehicle for advancing and communicating about the importance of undergraduate liberal education for all students. LEAP seeks to engage the public with core questions about what really matters in college, to give students a compass to guide their learning, and to make a set of essential learning outcomes the preferred framework for educational excellence, assessment of learning, and new alignments between school and college.

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 1200 member institutions--including accredited public and private colleges and universities of every type and size.

AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, and faculty members who are engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Its mission is to reinforce the collective commitment to liberal education at both the national and local levels and to help individual institutions keep the quality of student learning at the core of their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges. Information about AAC&U membership, programs, and publications can be found at

About Miami Dade College

Miami Dade College is the nation’s largest institution of higher education with an enrollment of more than 170,000 students. It is also the nation’s top producer of associate in arts and science degrees. The college’s eight campuses and outreach centers offer more than 300 distinct degree programs including several baccalaureate degrees in education, public safety management, nursing and supervision and management. In fact, its academic and workforce training programs have served as national models of excellence. MDC is also renowned for its rich cultural programming. It is home of Miami Book Fair International, Miami International Film Festival, the Cultura del Lobo performing arts series, the National Historic Landmark Miami Freedom Tower, a sculpture park and a large art gallery and theater system.

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359,, media specialist
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482,
AAC&U media contact: Debra Humphreys, Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs, 202-387-3760, ext. 422,

Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
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