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High Impact Practices (HIPs)

What, Why, and How?

What are High Impact Practices?

High Impact Practices (HIPs) are educational strategies associated with better student outcomes.  They are based in a large body of empirical research.

When done well, they are associated with positive outcomes:

  • Deeper learning
  • Increased persistence and retention
  • Higher GPA
  • Greater sense of belonging

Dr. George Kuh coined the term High-Impact Practices in 2008 in his AAC&U monograph “High-Impact Educational Practices: What they are, who has access to them, and why they matter.  (link).  He identified 10 educational practices associated with better outcomes using the National Survey of Student Engagement dataset. See the next tab Examples of HIPs for a complete list.

Learn more:

Video: “Overview of High-Impact Practices, Taxonomies, and Assessment” by Jerry Daday, founding member of HIPs in the States.

Podcast: “HIPs (High Impact Practices) – Pam Bowers, Ken O’Donnell, and Robin Schofield from HIPs in the States” s01e11 from IUPUI Leading Improvements in Higher Education: A podcast with Stephen Hundley.  

Bristol Contact: Tim Hathaway,


Examples of HIPs

Dr. George Kuh identified 10 High-Impact Practices in 2008.  Here is his list with some defining characteristics:

  • First Year Seminars and Experiences – strong emphasis on critical inquiry, frequent writing, information literacy, collaborative learning.
  • Common Intellectual Experiences – core curriculum or common theme such as One Book.  Includes a variety of curricular and co-curricular experiences.
  • Learning Communities – two or more linked courses for a cohort of students. They often explore a common theme/topic or ask big questions from the lenses of different disciplines.
  • Writing Intensive Courses – Writing across the curriculum, not just one course. Students produce and revise various forms of writing.
  • Collaborative Assignments and Projects – Collaborative learning involves solving problems as a group and listening to others.  Examples range from study groups to team-based assignments.
  • Undergraduate Research – Students are involved in systematic inquiry and create new knowledge or contribute to a field, such as art or music.
  • Diversity/Global Learning – Systematic exposure to new people, situations, or ways of thinking.  This is often found in experiential learning in the community and/or study abroad.
  • Service Learning, Community Based Learning – Experiential learning with community based partner.  Projects identify a need in the community and create a project to address that need. It must be followed by reflection.
  • Internships – Experiential learning in the workplace with the benefit of supervision and coaching.  Structured feedback and reflection are essential.
  • Capstone Courses and Projects – A culminating experience which integrates and applies learning across the curriculum.

Since 2008, Kuh expanded this list to include ePortfolios. 

In 2011, The Center for Community College Student Engagement began issuing a series of reports on curricular and co-curricular HIPs called Matter of Degrees They found statistically significant evidence for the following practices.  They also found that the impact grows significantly as students participate in more than one. 

Structured Group Learning

  • Orientation
  • Accelerated Developmental Education
  • First Year Experience
  • Student Success Course
  • Learning Communities

Customized Learning and Support

  • Academic Goal Setting and Planning
  • Experiential Learning Beyond the Classroom
  • Tutoring
  • Supplemental Instruction
  • Assessment and Placement
  • Registration before classes begin
  • Class Attendance
  • Alert and Intervention