High-Impact Practices

The teaching and learning practices below have been widely tested and have been shown to be beneficial for college students from many backgrounds, especially historically underserved students, who often do not have equitable access to high-impact learning. These practices take many different forms, depending on learner characteristics and on institutional priorities and contexts.

  • First-Year Experiences
  • Common Intellectual Experiences
  • Learning Communities
  • Writing-Intensive Courses
  • Collaborative Assignments and Projects
  • Undergraduate Research
  • Diversity/Global Learning
  • ePortfolios
  • Service Learning, Community-Based Learning
  • Internships
  • Capstone Courses and Projects

On many campuses, assessment of student involvement in active learning practices such as these has made it possible to assess the practices’ contribution to students’ cumulative learning. Educational research suggests that the high-impact practices mentioned here increase rates of student retention and student engagement. However, on almost all campuses, utilization of active learning practices is unsystematic, to the detriment of student learning.

Read an excerpt from High-Impact Educational Practices: What They Are, Who Has Access to Them, and Why They Matter, by George D. Kuh (AAC&U, 2008).

Download a pdf flyer describing the High-Impact Practices here.

Campus Models and Case Studies

Humanities, Leadership, and Community at Cuyahoga Community College

Adolphe Musanga hated Cleveland when he first arrived. Cleveland was cold. Musanga had immigrated from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (sunny and warm) to San Diego (sunny and warm) in 2015, but... Read More

From Learning Communities to Capstones: Faculty Leadership for Integrative Liberal Learning

In September 2018, faculty and administrators from seven institutions gathered at Wagner College in Staten Island, New York, to share the work they continued in the years since they all participated... Read More

The Impacts of Project-Based Learning at Worcester Polytechnic Institute

In 1970, after one hundred years as a traditional science and engineering university, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) re-engineered its technological education to a new, student-centered... Read More
Every Campus a Refuge: Guilford College's Powerful Effort to Help Refugees Resettle

Every Campus a Refuge: Guilford College's Powerful Effort to Help Refugees Resettle

The woods west of Greensboro, North Carolina, have been a place of refuge for nearly two hundred years. Nearby Quaker communities would help slaves hiding there and smuggle them out to continue their... Read More

Civic Learning in the Major: Fusing Academic Disciplines and Community Engagement

Facing today’s most urgent challenges takes more than disciplinary knowledge. It takes good citizens. To prepare students for their future roles as leaders, humanitarians, and innovators, academic... Read More
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