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First Freshman Provocation
Aims to Provoke and Inspire Students

RELEASED: Jan. 23, 2008

EAU CLAIRE — The College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will sponsor the first Freshman Provocation at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 28, in Schofield Auditorium.

Organizers of the event said they hope it will "provoke" students to seriously consider the concept of liberal education as vital to their futures. The goal is to inspire and educate students about the power of a liberal education in the 21st century information age.

Four faculty members — Dr. Evan Weiher, professor of biology; Dr. April Bleske-Rechek, assistant professor of psychology; Dr. Jim Phillips, professor of chemistry; and Dr. Marty Wood, professor of English — will speak about how their own liberal educations have impacted their personal and professional lives and why they advocate that students should work intentionally to develop broad content knowledge and skills across disciplines.

Dr. Jennifer Shaddock, professor of English and director of graduate studies in English, said the Provocation is motivated, in part, by a decade-long initiative, "Liberal Education and America's Promise: Excellence for Everyone as a Nation Goes to College," launched in 2005 by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Educational, business, community and policy leaders joined with the AAC&U to begin a national conversation about the need for a broad-based liberal education for all college students.

"Within such an education, students gain an appreciation for the historical, cultural, ethical and global environments in which they will be working," said Shaddock. "In addition, LEAP emphasizes that college graduates will need strong analytic, computational and communication skills, as well as an ability to integrate knowledge and apply it in new settings and toward complex problems."

The University of Wisconsin System, including UW-Eau Claire, has been an active institutional partner with LEAP since its inception.

"The Freshman Provocation aims to provide first-year students with a compass to these general learning principles," Shaddock said. "With such an orientation, students in their first year of college may become highly intentional about an academic plan that assures the achievement of these essential learning outcomes."

A raffle of "must-read" books recommended by the speakers will be held during the event, and cookies and hot chocolate will be served.

For more information on the first annual Freshman Provocation, contact Dr. Michael Weil, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, at 715-836-2025.

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NW/JP

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