High Impact Practices

Strategic outcome

Growth in number of students who engage in high in Student Affairs.

Characteristics of high-impact practices

(Kuh & O’Donnel, 2013; Kuh et al., 2017; Lee et al., 2021)

  • Performance expectations set at appropriately high levels
  • Significant investment of concentrated effort by students over an extended period of time
  • Interactions with faculty and peers about substantive matters
  • Experiences with diversity: engage in activities and inquiry regarding diverse communities, cultures, and /or ideas.
  • Frequent, timely, and constructive feedback
  • Opportunities to discover relevance of learning through real-world applications
  • Public demonstration of competence
  • Periodic, structured opportunities to reflect and integrate learning

Examples of high-impact practices: first-year seminars, common intellectual experiences, learning communities, service learning, undergraduate research, study abroad, diversity/global learning, internships, and capstone courses and projects.

Adopting HIPs in SA: Acknowledging that the above listed examples of high-impact practices (HIPs) are well recognized by faculty and staff, SA aims to use the characteristics of HIPs to guide the design and delivery of co-curricular experiences. Such alignment between curricular and co-curricular experiences holds promise for promoting student success.

Identification of HIPs in SA: Proposed program/service/experience should have at least three of the above listed HIPs characteristics to be considered for inclusion.

Guiding questions for designing high-impact practices:

  • What changes are expected short- term, intermediate, and long-term student learning and success outcomes as a result of students’ engagement in one or multiple high-impact practices?
  • In what areas do we expect equity gaps to be reduced over time?
  • What learning will be acquired or reinforced from this experience?
  • How does the experience connect, relate to, or integrate with learning from other curricular and co-curricular learning experiences?


Kuh, G. D. (2008). High-impact practices: What they are, who has access to them, and why they matter. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Kuh, G. D. (2009). What student affairs professional need to know about student engagement. Journal of College Student Development, 50(6), 683-706. https://doi.org/10.1353/csd.0.0099

Kuh, G. D., & O’Donnell, K. (2013). Ensuring quality & taking high-impact practices to scale. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Kuh, G.D., O’Donnel, Ken, & Schneider, C. G. (2017). HIPs at ten. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 49(5), 8-16. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00091383.2017.1366805

Lee, L., Wilkum, K., Immel, K. R., & Fischer, A. E. (2021). A taxonomy for designing and evaluating high-impact practice experiences. College Teaching, 69(4), 191-201. https://doi.org/10.1080/87567555.2020.1846487