Educators examine High Impact Practices for student success

High Impact Practices conference

More than 80 college faculty, staff and administrators from Tennessee’s 40 community and technical colleges gathered recently to discuss and share high impact practices (HIP) for student success at The College System of Tennessee’s “Get HIP to Teach” conference in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

“A primary benefit of being a statewide system is we can look at what actions are proving to have a real effect on helping students be successful in their studies and to be persistent in their pursuit of a credential, and then we can share those best practices with other institutions in hopes of replicating that success across the state,” said Heidi Leming, Vice Chancellor of Student Success for the System, which is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

The System is one of four state higher education systems in the country – and the only community and technical college system – recently selected by the National Association of System Heads to identify and scale up high impact practices that improve student success.

Attendees at the Jan. 11 conference heard from national guest speakers, such as Tom Green, Associate Executive Director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, who spoke of the association’s work on the development of comprehensive student records in higher education. Jennifer Keup, Director of the National Resource Center for First-Year Experience, presented findings from national research studying the effectiveness of various programs targeted at helping students make a successful transition to the college in their first year on campus. Amelia Parnell, vice president of research and policy for NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, discussed how institutions are using badges, e-portfolios, and co-curricular transcripts to help students discuss what they learn outside the classroom. Other topics discussed included how institutions conduct quality assurance practices of their HIPs, ePortfolios, and service-learning.  

Leming said she was pleased at the participation of so many higher education professionals, many who traveled more than four hours to attend. “The enthusiasm for exploring innovative practices is evident in how engaged our faculty and staff are in the discussions we’ve had at the conference,” she said. “The dedication to student success is clear throughout the system.”

Additional statewide opportunities for sharing ideas and successes would be planned in the future, Leming said.

What is a High Impact Practice? 

A High Impact Practice is a method of teaching that ...

  • Positively affects a student’s educational outcome
  • Has been widely tested across many different educational institutions
  • Can take different forms depending on the school and type of learner
  • Is based upon educational research
  • Increases student retention
  • Improves student engagement
  • Works for students from a variety of different socioeconomic and educational backgrounds
  • Provides lifelong learning strategies

Examples of High Impact Practices include 

  • First Year Seminars
  • Internships
  • Service Learning
  • Study Abroad
  • Learning Communities
  • Undergraduate Research
  • ePortfolio

The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.