high impact practices

Last month, I was at a meeting on my campus regarding High-Impact Educational Practices, where the discussion centered around the need to incorporate more of these practices into students’ educational experience.  If you don’t what High Impact Educational Practices are, here’s a list, as determined by the Association of American College and Universities (here’s a link for more information: https://keycenter.unca.edu/sites/default/files/aacu_high_impact_2008_final.pdf ):
  • First-Year Seminars and Experiences
  • Common Intellectual Experiences
  • Learning Communities
  • Writing-Intensive Courses
  • Collaborative Assignments and Projects
  • Undergraduate Research
  • Diversity/Global Learning
  • Service Learning, Community-Based Learning
  • Internships
  • Capstone Courses and Projects
I’ve been asked to develop a presentation on the connection between our work in Life Design work and these High Impact Educational Practices.  As I was preparing my outline for the presentation this morning, I realized the importance of helping students “find their why” and the impact it could have on these practices.   Imagine how powerful our students’ experiences in college would be if they understood their purpose and meaning – “Who do I want to be?” and “What am I here to do?”  Think about effectiveness of High Impact Educational Practices if we empowered students to optimize their lives and become the best version of themselves, in order to make a positive contribution to the world.  For example, I’m working with six students interested in creating their own degree programs because they understand their “WHY.”  They have an interest in serving the world in a different way; we don’t have a major specific to address their theme, so they want to construct their own curriculum around that theme.  What we’re developing is a plan which incorporates at least six of the High Impact Educational Practices as part of their program.  End result – the students will take ownership of their educational experiences.
I believe the exploration of purpose and meaning should be the foundation of High Impact Educational Practices, to make them even more effective and accessible to students across a wide range of programs.  And, in an economy that’s more entrepreneurial and a future that’s even more uncertain, purpose and meaning empowers students to create and develop their own high impact educational practices while in college – and beyond.

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