Heralding High Impact Practices: From Idiosyncratic Implementation to an Institutional Initiative by Leveraging the LMS

Concurrent Session 2
Streamed Session Leadership

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

In this presentation we share our institution’s multistep process to document existing implementation of HIPs and establish systematic processes to promote their inclusion in courses including online and blended modalities. During the session presenters and attendees will co-create a resource and recommendations document that will be available after the session.


Director of the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning at Texas A&M University-Central Texas. I am also an Associate Professor in the M.Ed. in Higher Education Leadership program. I take life-long learning seriously, and recently completed a second doctorate. My research focuses on transformative learning through high impact practices, and the history of higher education.

Extended Abstract

High impact practices (HIPs) provide significant learning benefits, especially to underserved students (i.e., first-generation, transfer, and racial/ethnic minorities), but students in these groups are less likely to participate in HIPs than students in more traditionally advantaged groups (Finley & McNair, 2013).

To answer the call to “adopt intentionally structured curricula that make HIPs more widespread and more available to all students” (Kinzie, 2012), our institution began a multistep process to document the existing implementation of HIPs and establish systematic processes to promote their inclusion in courses including online and blended modalities. This work supports multiple goals of the University Strategic Plan and Academic Master Plan including offering outstanding undergraduate and graduate programs, promoting degree completion through outstanding curricular programs, preparing engaged citizens that contribute to their communities, and providing an inclusive, accessible, equitable campus climate that supports all members of the university community. 

As a new institution just now celebrating its 10th birthday that serves a non-traditional student body in which 100% of our students transfer from other institutions, we have adopted a number of high impact practice initiatives. The first institutional level high impact practice was our Writing Intensive (WI) courses, adopted from our parent institution and modified when we were independently accredited in 2009. Study abroad procedures were implemented in 2014, and student internships in 2015. The service-learning task force was created in 2014 and quickly established an advisory board and guidelines for SL course designation, peer review, and service learning faculty fellows. From that work grew the Faculty Center for Civic and Community Engagement in 2019 to expand the reach of service-learning. And in 2018, the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) was launched to improve undergraduate writing through our Writing Intensive/ Instructive (WI) courses. In addition to these university-level plans, individual faculty members were incorporating HIPs into their courses such as performing research with undergraduates in online courses, building community gardens on the second floor of the library, and staging a simulated burial site on campus for forensic anthropology investigations.

When conceptualized as discrete initiatives, resources to support faculty work implementing these HIPs were scattered across multiple offices or were entirely lacking, procedures for routine review and revision by faculty were ill defined, and institutional assessment efforts failed to capture the opportunities faculty were offering students to most effectively impact their learning.

To overcome this fragmentation, faculty members with the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning created an organization in the LMS to compile research supporting each HIP, house documents and materials in one place, organize faculty learning communities, develop assessable learning outcomes, and highlight faculty work in their courses. Pulling these materials together led to the identification of gaps and inconsistencies in procedures that prompted an action plan to address these issues and better unify the institution’s approach. Work is ongoing to designate HIP courses in the student registration system and identify future needs to address in the upcoming Quality Enhancement Plan.

Outcomes of this work thus far have revealed that many faculty members are engaged in HIPs, and some are embedded in required courses, enabling access to these learning experiences for all students. Our aspirational goals are to promote the inclusion of HIPs into multiple program courses and provide equitable access to the most impactful learning experiences for all students.

During the session, participants will be actively engaged in the content that is presented.

  1. The presenters will demonstrate the function of the HIPs organization in the LMS based on audience request. Participants will respond to a poll regarding which HIP materials in the organization they want to see demonstrated. The two most popular topics voted by the audience will be presented.

  2. The presenters will share a list of resources to support the inclusion of HIPs in the curriculum. Participants will review and discuss the list of resources so they can include them in their own institutions’ efforts. 

  3. The presenters will provide examples of how participants may address similar organizational issues at their institutions and solicit recommendations from attendees. Participants will respond to a link to solicit additional resources to address HIPs-related issues in a crowd-sourced online document that will be available to attendees after the session so all can access the recommendations.

After the session, attendees will be able to

  1. discuss an example of scaling high impact practices at the institutional level,

  2. identify ways to facilitate collaboration across the institution to promote the inclusion of high impact practices in the curriculum.

  3. include research citations and links to best practices regarding HIPs in their own institution’s resource archives.