Based on the work of George Kuh (2008) on institutionally-structured teaching and learning practices and student experiences positively associated with deep student learning, persistence, and student satisfaction, there are eleven High-Impact Practices (HIPs) recognized by AAC&U. In addition, Kuh and O’Donnell (2013) identified Eight Key Elements of HIPs that meaningfully support student success. 

AAC&U and Hart Research Group reports have found the following benefits of student participation in two or more HIPs: 

  • Increased satisfaction with general education 
  • Increased GPAs 
  • Increased feelings of connectedness 
  • Decreased college completion times 
  • Compensatory effects, especially for first-generation college students and students from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups (Finley & McNair, 2013) 

High-Impact Practices

Based on the work of George Kuh (2008) on institutionally-structured teaching and learning practices and student experiences positively associated with deep student learning, persistence, and student satisfaction, the following are considered by AAC&U as High-Impact Practices (HIPs) when delivered with high quality:

First-year seminars have been found to increase student persistence and retention, with the work of George Kuh (2006) and the AAC&U LEAP report revealing the characteristics of the highest quality first-year experiences (characteristics bolded for emphasis): Many schools now build into the curriculum first-year seminars or other programs that bring small groups of students together with faculty or staff on a regular basis. The highest-quality first-year experiences place a strong emphasis on critical inquiry, frequent writing, information literacy, collaborative learning, and other skills that develop students’ intellectual and practical competencies. First-year seminars can also involve students with cutting-edge questions in scholarship and with faculty members’ own research. 

In Five High-Impact Practices: Research on Learning Outcomes, Completion, and Quality, Swaner & Brownell (AAC&U, 2010) found that the following outcomes can be attributed to students’ participation in first-year seminars as high-impact practices: 

  • Higher persistence rates, 
  • Higher graduation rates, 
  • Short-term positive effects on grade point averages, 
  • Gains in commitment to social justice/multicultural awareness, 
  • Greater academic and campus engagement, and 
  • Greater faculty and peer interaction. 

New Student Transitions and First Year Experience serves as a resource for this high-impact practice, and a full list of first-year seminar courses is available through the Minerva’s Academic Curriculum website.

The AAC&U defines Common Intellectual Experiences as the evolution of a “core” curriculum to include a variety of forms, such as a set of required common courses or a vertically organized general education program that includes advanced integrative studies and/or required participation in a learning community. These programs often combine broad themes—e.g., technology and society, global interdependence—with a variety of curricular and co-curricular options for students. 

The Learning Communities Association (2019) defines learning communities as “educational approaches that involve the integration of engaged curricular and co-curricular learning and emphasize relationship and community building among faculty/staff and a cohort of students in a rich learning environment.” Learning communities typically include “a curricular structure characterized by a cohort of students participating in an intentionally designed integrative study of an issue or theme through connected courses, experiences, and resources” and/or “a community of learners participating in a residential learning community that intentionally integrates learning through curricular and co-curricular education in a residential experience” (LCA, 2019).

Research on Learning Communities in Higher Education

Seminal Research 

Learning Community Journals 

  • Learning Communities Journal – Presenting the Scholarship of Student and Faculty Learning Communities and Communities of Practice 
  • Learning Communities Research and Practice – Promoting the Practices and Knowledge the Strengthen the Learning Communities Field 
  • Learning Community Resources 
  • AAC&U Resources Page on High-Impact Practices – Includes campus models and case studies on high-impact educational practices, including learning communities. 
  • Learning Communities Association – Formed in 2016, the LCA aims to “foster college student learning, success, and development through the production and dissemination of knowledge that informs learning community theories, policies, practices, programs, and professional development enacted by higher education faculty, staff, and administrators.” 
  • Washington Center Monographs on Learning Communities – As the National Resource Center for Learning Communities, the Washington Center’s monographs include findings from their Pew Charitable Trusts’ funded National Learning Communities Project (2000-2003). 

UNCG’s General Education Council defines Writing Intensive Courses as courses in which students regularly use writing, in class and in homework, to formulate, analyze, interpret, evaluate, process content, and engage with multiple perspectives on important questions and problems related to a particular subject or field of work. A key aim in any WI course is for students to learn to use multiple drafts of a paper to investigate and organize ideas, consider diverse points of view, and apply feedback from other readers in shaping the form and content of a final draft. A second key aim in any WI course is for students to receive instruction in writing processes and hands-on coaching in learning to write.

The Writing Center is one of UNCG’s multi-literacy centers and serves as a resource for instructors who are engaged in writing-intensive courses.

Research on Writing Intensive Courses

  • Wendy Strachan, Writing-Intensive: Becoming W-Faculty in a New Writing Curriculum (Utah State UP, 2008). 
  • John Bean, Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom (Jossey-Bass, 2001). 
  • Thomas Hilgers, Edna Lardizabal Hussey, and Monica Stitt-Bergh, “As You’re Writing, You Have These Epiphanies”: What College Students Say About Writing and Learning in Their Majors. Written Communication 16(3), 1999. 
  • John Ackerman, The Promise of Writing to Learn. Written Communication, 10(3), 1993. 
  • C Williams Griffin, Teaching Writing in All Disciplines (Jossey-Bass, 1982).

More information coming soon! Visit our team-based learning teaching guide to learn more about how this practice is implemented at UNCG.

The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) defines undergraduate research as “an inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline.” At UNCG, we recognize that undergraduate research has a “high impact” on student learning when that project is conducted under the supervision of our faculty and staff. We also like to broaden the possibilities of experience to include those projects “that seeks to make an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline.”

The Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creativity Office (URSCO) serves as a resource for implementing undergraduate research at UNCG.

Research on Undergraduate Research

  • Auchincloss, L., Laursen, Sl.L., Branchaw, J.L., Eagan K., Graham, M., Hanauer, D., Lawrie, G., McLinn, C., Pelaez, N., Rowland, S., Towns, M., Trautmann, N. Varma-Nelson, P., Weston, T, and Dolan, E. (2012) Assessment of course-based undergraduate research experiences: A meeting report. CBE—Life Sciences Education 13, 29–40. 
  • Hart Research Associates (2015). Falling Short? College Learning and Career Success. AAC&U. Retrieved from 
  • Hart Research Associates (2013). It Takes More Than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success. AAC&U. Retrieved from 
  • Hathaway, R.S., Nagda, B.A., Gregerman, S.R. (2002) The relationship of undergraduate research participation to graduate and professional education pursuit: an empirical study. Journal of College Student Development 43(5) 614-631. 
  • Hensel, N., editor (2012). Characteristics of Excellence in Undergraduate Research. Washington, DC: Council on Undergraduate Research, 62 p. 
  • Hu, S., Scheuch, K., Schwartz, R., Gayles, J.G., & Li, S. (2008) Reinventing undergraduate education: engaging college students in research and creative activities. ASHE Higher Education Report, 33(4), Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. 
  • Hunter, A.B., Laursen, S.L., & Seymour, E. (2006) Becoming a scientist: The role of undergraduate research in students’ cognitive, personal, and professional development. Science Education 91, 36-74. 
  • Kinkead, J., & Blockus, L. (2012) Undergraduate Research Offices & Programs: Models & Practices, Washington, DC: Council on Undergraduate Research, 277 p. 
  • Kuh, G.D. (2008) High-Impact Educational Practices: What They Are, Who Has Access to Them, and Why They Matter. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities. 35. 
  • Lopatto D. (2007) Undergraduate research experiences support science career decisions and active learning. CBE life sciences education.6(4), 297-306. 
  • Maton KI, Pollard SA, McDougall Weise TV, Hrabowski FA. (2012) Meyerhoff Scholars Program: a strengths-based, institution-wide approach to increasing diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The Mount Sinai journal of medicine, New York. 79(5), 610-23. 
  • Russell SH, Hancock MP, McCullough J. (2007) The pipeline. Benefits of undergraduate research experiences. Science. 316(5824), 548-549. 
  • Seymour E, Hunter A-B, Laursen SL, DeAntoni T. (2004) Establishing the Benefits of Research Experiences for Undergraduates in the Sciences: First Findings from a Three-Year Study. Science Education. 88(4), 493-534. 
  • Shaffer, C.D., Alvarez, C.J., Bednarski, A.E., Dunbar, D., Goodman, A.L., Reinke, C., Rosenwald, A.G., Wolyniak, M.J., Bailey, C., Barnard, D., Bazinet, C., Beach, D.L., Bedard, J.E.J., Bhalla, S., Braverman, J., Burg, M., Chandrasekaran, V., Chung, H-M., Clase, K., DeJong, R.J., DiAngelo, J.R., Du, C., Eckdahl, T.C., Eisler, H., Emerson, J.A., Frary, A., Frohlich, D., Gosser, Y., Govind, S., Haberman, A., Hark, A.T., Hauser, C., Hoogewerf, A., Hoopes, L.L.M., Howell, C.E., Johnson, D., Jones, C.J., Kadlec, L., Kaehler, M., Silver Key, S.C., Kleinschmit, A., Kokan, N.P., Kopp, O., Kuleck, G., Leatherman, J., Lopilato, J., MacKinnon, C., Martinez-Cruzado, J.C., McNeil, G., Mel, S., Mistry, M., Nagengast, A., Overvoorde, P., Paetkau, D.W., Parrish, S., Peterson, C.N., Preuss, M., Reed, L.K., Revie, D., Robic, S., Roecklein-Canfield, J., Rubin, M.R., Saville, K., Schroeder, S., Sharif, K., Shaw, M., Skuse, G., Smith, C.D., Smith, M.A., Smith, S.T., Spana, E., Spratt, M., Sreenivasan, A., Stamm, J., Szauter, P., Thompson, J.S., Wawersik, M., Youngblom, J., Zhou, L., Mardis, E.R., Buhler, J., Leung, W., Lopatto, D., and Elgin, S.C.R. (2014) A course-based research experience: How benefits change with increased investment in instructional time. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 13, 111-30.Corwin, L.A., Graham, M.J., and Dolan, E.L., 2015, Modeling Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences: An Agenda for Future Research and Evaluation, CBE–Life Sciences Education, 14, 1-13. 
  • Shanahan, J.O., Ackley-Holbrook, E., Hall, E., Stewart, K., and Walkington, H. (2015) Ten Salient Practices of Undergraduate Research Mentors: A Review of the Literature, Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 23(5), 359-376. 
  • Willison, J.W., 2012, When academics integrate research skill development in the curriculum, Higher Education Research & Development, 31(6), 905-919. 
  • Wilson, R., 2003, Research “Undergraduate Research: in the Humanities, Modern Language Studies, 33(1), 74-79. 

According to the AAC&U, many colleges and universities now emphasize courses and programs that help students explore cultures, life experiences, and worldviews different from their own. These studies—which may address U.S. diversity, world cultures, or both—often explore “difficult differences” such as racial, ethnic, and gender inequality, or continuing struggles around the globe for human rights, freedom, and power. Frequently, intercultural studies are augmented by experiential learning in the community and/or by study abroad.

The International Programs Center and Office of Intercultural Engagement both serve as a resource for diversity/global learning at UNCG.

Resources for Diversity/Global Learning

  • Bell, K., Donaghue, J. & Gordon, A. (2018). Collaborative leadership: Advancing diversity, equity, and comprehensive internationalization in higher education. Berkley, CA: Diversity Abroad. 
  • Brewer, Elizabeth, & Ogden, Anthony. (Eds.). (2019). Education abroad and the undergraduate experience: Critical perspectives and approaches to integration with student learning and development. Sterling, VA: Stylus. 
  • Deardorff, Darla K., & Arasaratnam-Smith, Lily A. (Eds.) (2017). Intercultural competence in higher education:  International approaches, assessment, application.  London: Routledge. 
  • Griffin, P. (2007). Conceptual foundations for social justice education: introductory modules. In M. Adams, L. A. Bell, & P. Griffin (Eds.), Teaching for diversity and social justice (p 58). New York, NY: Routledge. 
  • Harper, S. R., & Hurtado, S. (2007). Nine themes in campus racial climates and implications for institutional transformation. New Directions for Student Services, 2007(120), 7-24. 
  • Landorf, Hilary, Doscher, Stephanie, & Hardrick, Jaffus. (2018). Making global learning     universal: Promoting inclusion and success for all students. Sterling, VA: Stylus. 
  • Ramsey, V. J., & Latting, J. K. (2005). A typology of intergroup competencies. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 41(3), 265-284. 
  • Schirch, Lisa, & Campt, David. (2007). The little book of dialogue for difficult subjects: A practical, hands-on guide. New York, NY: Good Books. 
  • Sorensen, N., Nagda, B. R. A., Gurin, P., & Maxwell, K. E. (2009). Taking a “Hands On” approach to diversity in higher education: A Critical‐Dialogic Model for effective intergroup interaction. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 9(1), 3-35. 
  • Vande Berg, M., Paige, R. M. & Lou, K. H. (Eds.). (2012). Student learning abroad: What our students are learning, What they’re not, and What we can do about it.  Sterling, VA: Stylus. 

Service-learning is a credit-bearing, educational experience that integrates meaningful community service with academic instruction and reflection to enrich learning, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. Service-learning provides an opportunity for colleges and universities to enhance learning by engaging in activities that are driven by community needs. This high impact teaching pedagogy represents a necessary link in the application of theory to practice while establishing partnerships with local agencies, schools, non-profit organizations, and government. 

The Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement and Institute for Community and Economic Engagement both serve as resources for instructors who wish to engage in service-learning in their courses.

Research on Impact that Service-Learning has on College Students 

  • Astin, A. W., & Sax, L. J. (1998). How undergraduates are affected by service participation. Journal of College Student Development, 39(3), 251-63. 
  • Engberg, M., & Fox, K. (2011). Exploring the relationship between undergraduate service-learning experiences and global perspective-taking. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice 48(1), 85-105. 
  • Eyler, J. S., Giles D. E., Stenson C. M., & Gray, C.J. (2001). At a glance: What we know about the effects of service-learning on college students, faculty, institutions and communities, 1993-2000 (3rd ed.). Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University. 
  • Resources for Using Service-Learning Pedagogy 
  • Campus Compact. Introduction to Service-Learning Toolkit, 2nd ed. Providence, RI: Campus Compact, 2003. 
  • Zlotkowski, Edward, ed. 2006. Service-Learning in the Disciplines. 21 vols. Sterling, VA: Stylus. 

Service-Learning Journals 

An Internship offers students the opportunity to experience work environments while learning valuable skills. Increasingly, employers seek candidates with previous workplace experience. Internships are an excellent way to gain such experience. 

Internships can be paid opportunities, and/or they can be credit bearing. Students should work with their faculty adviser or internship coordinator to determine whether or not a particular internship is eligible for academic credit. 

The most effective internships exist as partnerships between students, internship sites, and educational institutions. In this ideal situation, each party shares a goal of student learning outcomes. 

Career & Professional Development works actively with employers to develop opportunities for students to gain work experience and contribute first-hand to the effective operation of our partner organizations. Our career coaches can help students research, prepare for, and successfully compete for internship opportunities found through both on-campus and off-campus channels.

To find an internship, students are encouraged to utilize Handshake, UNCGs official online career management platform at  

More information coming soon!

When integrated into courses, e-portfolios can serve as a valuable project to engage students in synthesizing and reflecting upon the learning they’ve done. As a digital showcase of a professional persona or a presentation of an experience, an e-portfolio often helps students think through the context of their learning and how to convey its importance to a broader audience. It can re-center learning around the learner. Creating e-portfolios also requires students to gain valuable digital skills and can provide them with an immediately useful online resource for going on the job market after graduating. 

The Digital Media Commons (located in the lower level of the Jackson Library) can support students and instructors who are interested in developing ePortfolios as part of the curriculum.

Research on e-Portfolios in Higher Education 

  • Cowan, J., & Peacock, S. (2017). Integrating reflective activities in eportfolios to support the development of abilities in self-managed experiential learning. Reflective Practice, 18(5), 655–672. 
  • Deneen, C. C., Brown, G. T. L., & Carless, D. (2018). Students’ conceptions of eportfolios as assessment and technology. Innovations in Education & Teaching International, 55(4), 487–496. 
  • Kuh, G. D., Gambino, L. M., Ludvik, M. B., & O’Donnell, K. (2018). Accentuating Dispositional Learning from HIPs Using ePortfolio. Assessment Update, 30(3), 8–9. 
  • Reynolds, C., & Shaquid Pirie, M. (2016). Creating an Eportfolio Culture on Campus through Platform Selection and Implementation. Peer Review, 18(3), 21–24. 
  • Rivera, J., & Loebick, K. (2017). Integrating High Impact Practices: Recognizing Attributes and Overcoming Obstacles in Learning ePortfolios. Experiential Learning & Teaching in Higher Education (ELTHE): A Journal for Engaged Educators, 1(2), 25–50. 
  • Roberts, P., Maor, D., & Herrington, J. (2016). ePortfolio-Based Learning Environments: Recommendations for Effective Scaffolding of Reflective Thinking in Higher Education. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 19(4), 22–33. 
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