High Impact Practices

What are High-Impact Practices? 

High-impact practices (HIPs) are educational practices that research has shown to increase student retention rates, student engagement, and persistence to graduation for all students across diverse backgrounds.

HIPs can help improve student success, especially for historically underserved students. They can also facilitate learning inside and outside of the classroom. High-Impact Practices help support the state's Drive to 55 and Complete College initiatives.  Students who complete High-Impact Practices as a part of their education will receive badges on their transcripts showing the HIP they completed.

For more information about TBR’s High Impact Practices initiative:  High Impact Practices - Tennessee Board of Regents

HIPs at Walters State

Walters State, with the assistance of the Tennessee Board of Regents, is focusing on the following High-Impact Practices (HIPs) with the goal of every student having access to at least two high-impact practices before graduation.  

HIPs CertificationsCertifications are identifiers that a student has completed a qualification for an industry or a particular skill area. Certifications identified in this taxonomy refer to credit-bearing courses that curricularly enable a student to take an assessment leading to industry-recognized certification.


AGRM 2010/2011 - Turf and Ornamental Horticulture

CULA 1200 - ServSafe Certification
ENST 1320/2320 - Certified Solidworks Associate Certification
HLTH 2310 - CPR and First Aid Certification
OTAP 1320 - CarFit Certification

First-Year Experiences

HIPs First-Year ExperiencesFirst Year Experiences are courses that are designed for students entering college for the first time (or for the first time in a long time). These courses help introduce students to the necessary skills for college success such as critical thinking, writing, communication, information literacy, study skills, etc. These can be focused on a specific discipline or general education.

EDUC 1010 - Jessica Mills
EDUC 1030 - Jessica Mills
SURG 1102

Global Cultural Awareness

HIPs Global Cultural AwarenessGlobal and cultural awareness courses are credit-bearing experiences in which students learn how to communicate across cultures while developing an understanding of global interdependence and how it is influenced by culture – understood as the values, beliefs, practices, rituals, and behaviors held by groups of people. These courses will provide tools to increase students’ critical analysis of the global and intercultural nature of society and practice ethical reasoning to successfully navigate this world.

ART 2020 - Jessie VanderLann-Delaney
GEOG 1012 - Philip Kledzik
PTAT 2250
SPAN 1005- Erika Stevens
SWRK 2020 - Angie Elkins

Honors Education

HIPs Honors EducationHonors education is characterized by in-class and extracurricular activities that meet the needs and abilities of the students it serves through practices that are measurably broader, deeper, or more complex than comparable learning experiences typically found at institutions of higher education. Honors experiences include a distinctive learner-directed environment and philosophy, provide opportunities that are appropriately tailored to fit the institution's culture and mission, and frequently occur within a close community of students and faculty (adapted from NCHC, 2016).

ENGL 1020 - Jay McMahan
ENGL 2110 - Jay McMahan
BIOL 2230 - Kamal Malik and Lisa Eccles
BIOL 2231 - Lisa Eccles

Learning Communities
HIPs Learning CommunitiesLearning Communites consist of same groups of students taking two or more classes concurrently for academic credit and engaged in a substantial amount of time in common intellectual activities, within and outside the classroom, with intentional curricular connections.


MDIS 1010/1020

Peer Mentoring

HIPs Peer MentoringA mutually beneficial relationship between a specified student group (i.e. mentee) and a more experienced student (i.e. mentor) who engages with the mentee in a structured helping capacity to cultivate strong relationships and provide peer-to-peer support. In many cases, peer influence is stronger than that of the expert. (e.g. student services practitioner/faculty member) (Trip, 2000).  Through role modeling and sharing authentic stories of success and failure, the mentee gains the skills and support needed to navigate the college campus. In addition, through systematic training, the mentor gains transferable leadership skills and meaningful professional experiences that can be used to complement and positively affect the retention, academic success and educational experience of the mentee. (Newton & Ender 2010;  Terrion, & Leonard 2007).

EDUC 1030 - Jessica Mills
SURG 1410
SURG 2310
SURG 2420

Service Learning

HIPs Service LearningService-learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. Curriculum includes structured field-based “experiential learning” alongside community partners, which reinforces course learning outcomes. Within the TBR System, credit-bearing service-learning designated courses are incorporated into general education or college core requirements for a degree program.

OTAP 1360
EDUC 2210 - Lori Campbell
SPED 2010 - Misty Hayes
SOCI 2210 - Jason Dixon
SWRK 2010 - Angie Elkins

Student Employment
HIPs Student Employment

Student Employment is the practice of providing financial support through Federal Work-Study (FWS), institutional funds, or departmental funds to students enrolled in an undergraduate program in exchange for their contribution to the academic department, support unit, or community organization in which they are employed. Student employees work toward meaningful learning outcomes through the fulfillment of job responsibilities. These outcomes may include intellectual growth, development of the NACE competencies, or receipt of technical training, among other mutually agreed-upon goals (adapted from NASPA).

As an instructor, you can ask for a student worker to help you!  

Faculty using student workers: 
Angie Elkins
Jackie Larson
Kelly Moore

Study Abroad

HIPs Study AbroadStudy abroad is a credit-bearing experience incorporated into general education or college core requirements for a certificate/degree program. Curriculum includes field-based “experiential learning” in locations outside the U.S. with an emphasis on inter-cultural understanding and communication.  Students apply what they are learning in a real-world setting and reflect on their experiences abroad as part of the course requirements.  Walters State works with the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies (TnCIS) to develop and plan Study Abroad Experiences.

Faculty who teach through TNCIS
Erika Stevens - Spanish
Angie Elkins - Sociology
Paul Lubotina - History

Technology Enhanced Learning

HIPs Technology Enhanced LearningInstructional practices that leverage digital technologies to enhance teaching and learning. (Digital technology is any electronic tool, system, device or resource that facilitates learning and improves student performance. Examples include, but are not limited to, social media, online games, multimedia, productivity applications, cloud computing, interoperable systems, and mobile devices. Digital technologies can be used to increase engagement, encourage collaboration, deliver support, and increase awareness and understanding.)

ACCT 1010 - Glenn McGuire
BIOL 2230 - Lisa Eccles
HIMT 1305
SWRK 1020 - Angie Elkins
NRSG 2640

Undergraduate Research

HIPs Undergraduate ResearchUndergraduate research is an inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student in collaboration with a faculty member that makes a unique intellectual, scholarly, or creative contribution to the discipline, and for which the student receives academic credit either through a course or independent study. The student's contribution may be part of a new or ongoing faculty research project (adapted from CUR).

BIOL 2610/2611 - Lisa Eccles
HIST 2010 - Susanna Webb
PHIL 1600 - Paul Turner and Matthew Baddorff

Work-Based Learning

HIPs Work-Based LearningWork-based Learning represents credit-bearing experience that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships, practicums, clinicals, co-ops and similar experiences, integrated with a class or related to a major field of study, give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied learning and make connections in professional fields students are considering for career paths, while giving employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent (NACE, 2011).

CRMJ 2197
ECED 2235
NURS 1330
COMM 2550
RESP 1220


The Quality Dimensions of High-Impact Practices

  1. Significant student effort over an extended time
  2. Development of potential research questions, hypotheses, or projects related to course materials
  3. Experiences with varied perspectives and cultures
  4. Timely, substantive, constructive feedback
  5. Reflection opportunities
  6. High expectations and appropriate levels of difficulty
  7. Opportunities for real-world relevance
  8. Discussion of course concepts with peers and faculty
  9. Public demonstration or presentation of knowledge gained


High Impact Practices at Walters State

If you would like more information on including a high-impact practice in your courses, please reach out to Angie Elkins, Coordinator of High-Impact Practices, angie.elkinsFREEWS.






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