Stephen F. Austin State University

High Impact Practices

High Impact Practices

High-impact practices (HIP) are practices that improve higher-order thinking skills and academic success. They cultivate the deep learning, practical skills, and experience that a twenty-first century workforce demands of college graduates. High-impact practices often include community-based service and learning communities at the freshman level and performance experiences such as internships and capstone-course projects at the senior level.

A number of experiences have been identified as being high impact. Three have been chosen at SFA as targeted learning platforms for improving students' higher order thinking and overall academic success. The three platforms are: collaborative assignments and projects; mentored undergraduate scholarship; and career-specific learning.

The literature suggests that a minimum of two HIP experiences are needed to reach a threshold of significant difference in higher-order thinking skills and enhanced student success (Kuh, 2008).

These programs alone do not guarantee success in meeting desired learning outcomes for high-impact programs. The American Association of Colleges and Universities advanced six attributes of effective high-impact programs in College Learning for a New Global Century.

Six Attributes of Effective High-Impact Programs

1. Students spend considerable amounts of time on meaningful tasks.
2. Faculty and student peers interact about substantive matters.
3. Students experience diversity through contact with people who are different then themselves.
4. Students receive frequent performance feedback.
5. Activities have applications to different settings on/off campus
6. Authentic connections are made with peers, faculty, community, and/or the university.