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Steps to Leaps continues to engage students and support their academic pursuits

Two young women talking with text that reads #4 University for Engagement in the U.S. according to the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education 2022

The Steps to Leaps framework, created by students for students, continues to connect students to academic success, both inside and outside the classroom. The five learning pillars (well-being, leadership and professional development, impact, networks and grit) guide engagement of students in an active living and learning environment.

This fall, the Wall Street Journal recognized Purdue University for its commitment to engagement. In fact, Purdue moved up from fifth to fourth best overall university in the nation for student engagement. Student Life supports this effort by fostering connections to Purdue’s many campus resources, allowing students to take a more active role on campus and build their own community network. These networks provide students with the support they need to improve their well-being, develop as future leaders of the world and impact others in a positive way.

“Success may be measured in different ways but we know it goes beyond the job title and the paycheck,” said Beth McCuskey, vice provost for Student Life. “Today’s college student has a capacity of care that goes beyond themselves. They want to impact the world in a positive way. By helping students grow, balance and achieve amidst the challenges they face, we believe they will become the future leaders our world needs.”

How does it work? Just like one of the learning pillars suggests, it takes a network – a community of faculty, staff and students to spread the Steps to Leaps message. Through events and training sessions for faculty and staff and collecting stories of students who’ve benefited from adopting the pillars and benefitting from them, the Steps to Leaps holistic framework improves student character and well-being by providing students with tools, resources and support.

“Right now, we have a committee looking at ways to make Steps to Leaps easier to adopt in the classroom,” said Carl Krieger, director of Residential Education. “The more support, the better the positive impact Steps to Leaps can provide the entire campus community.”

Steps to Leaps is a campus-wide collaborative effort to help students reach their highest potential. By using the framework to enhance their critical thinking and to focus on applying the skills learned in the classroom to extra-curricular activities, internships, co-ops and future employment, we aim to better equip Boilermakers to leave their legacy as good global citizens. We encourage faculty and staff to partner with us in this endeavor. We are always looking for more to join our team. If your event or campus service aligns with a Steps to Leaps pillar, let us know. You can contact