Initiatives: High-impact Practices

High-impact practices (HIPs) are educationally effective teaching and learning practices that, when designed well and implemented with fidelity, have been shown to accrue educational benefits for students. HIPs share a set of underlying characteristics that help make them effective, including “considerable time and effort,” real-world application of learning, meaningful engagement across differences, and “frequent and substantive feedback” (NSSE, nd).

In fall 2017, the Kirwan Center assembled a leadership team representing four USM institutions to help inform the Kirwan Center’s efforts to scale, sustain, and assess High-Impact Practices (HIPs) system-wide. The team is focusing on building capacity within their institutions to track student participation in HIPs, adapt and use emerging quality frameworks associated with HIPs, and assess the individual and cumulative impact of HIPs on student retention/progression/completion and on student learning. In undertaking this work, the Kirwan Center hopes to catalyze a set of lead institutions in advancing their own HIPs efforts while also positioning them to serve as models for other institutions within the System and across the country in scaling, sustaining, and assessing high-quality HIPs.

USM institutions are actively exploring undergraduate research opportunities, living/learning communities, classes run in residence halls, small group collaboration, interdisciplinary programs, and experiential and service learning.

Our Work in High-impact Practices

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June 11, 2018

In Fall 2017, the Kirwan Center assembled a leadership team made up of representatives from four USM institutions to help advance system-wide efforts to scale, sustain, and assess High-Impact Practices (HIPs). The team will spend a year building capacity within its institutions to track student participation in HIPs, adapt and use emerging quality frameworks associated with HIPs, and assess the individual and cumulative impact of HIPs on student retention/progression/completion and on student learning.

Each of the institutional leaders formed teams in Spring 2018 to conduct an inventory of existing HIPs at their institutions using a common matrix, which will help determine areas to target capacity building efforts going forward.

April 8, 2014

Living Learning Communities (LLC) and specialized living options offer first year students the opportunity to live with other first year students who have a similar interest. LLC students have the opportunity to be part of an engaged learning community that goes beyond the traditional classroom experience.

November 14, 2013

Scheduled for completion in 2016, the Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center (ESJ) will accommodate 2,000 students in multiple classrooms ranging in size from 80 to 320 seats. All spaces will be equipped with the latest classroom technologies designed for active learning even in the largest lecture halls.