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Teaching & Learning Center: High Impact Practices

The Teaching and Learning Center provides Vol State faculty with resources to help them professionally.

High Impact Practices

High impact practices are evidence-based teaching and learning practices that have been widely tested and shown to be beneficial for college students from many backgrounds, especially historically underserved students, who often do not have equitable access to high-impact learning (Kuh, 2008).

Click HERE for a HIP Discussion Framework for the Classroom!

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In these programs, field-based “experiential learning” with community partners is an instructional strategy—and often a required part of the course. The idea is to give students direct experience with issues they are studying in the curriculum and with ongoing efforts to analyze and solve problems in the community. A key element in these programs is the opportunity students have to both apply what they are learning in real-world settings and reflect in a classroom setting on their service experiences. These programs model the idea that giving something back to the community is an important college outcome, and that working with community partners is good preparation for citizenship, work, and life.


Experiential/Service-Learning @ VSCC

VSCC Contact: Kelly Ormsby


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Internships are another increasingly common form of experiential learning. The idea is to provide students with direct experience in a work setting—usually related to their career interests—and to give them the benefit of supervision and coaching from professionals in the field. If the internship is taken for course credit, students complete a project or paper that is approved by a faculty member. (AAC&U)

TBR Definition of Practice

Work-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).


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Honors 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). (TBR)


Image is decorativeHonors @ VSCC

VSCC Contact: Ines Petrovic Garcia



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A course intended to enhance the academic and social integration of first-year students by introducing them to essential skills for college success and a supportive campus community comprised of faculty, staff, and peers. FYSs often place a strong emphasis on critical inquiry, frequent writing, information literacy, collaborative learning, and other crucial competencies. Some FYSs also feature rigorous discipline-based content. (TBR)

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Technology-enhanced learning is a set of instructional practices leveraging 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, online portfolios, 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. (TBR)


Definition of Practice

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. (AAC&U)

TBR Definition of Practice

Global 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 explore difficult differences such as racial, ethnic, and gender inequality, as well as struggles around the globe for human rights, freedom, and power. 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.

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If you are interested in teaching in a study abroad program, VSCC partners with the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies (TnCIS) to offer academically enriching experiences in countries around the world. Faculty applications open about 18 months before programs depart. Details can be found here: Applying to Teach in a Study Abroad Program

VSCC Contact: Ami Price


Campus International Education @ VSCC

Are you interested in participating in or coordinating a local, culturally enriching experience? If you have a great idea for a performance, guest lecture, or other event that will benefit the VSCC community, funding is available! You can find information here: Campus International Events

Image is decorative  VSCC Contact: Melanie Cochran



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Undergraduate research is an inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual, scholarly activity, or creative contribution to the discipline and for which the student receives academic credit either through a course or independent study (adapted from CUR).SOURCE: TBR HIP Taxonomy: Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities

Many colleges and universities are now providing research experiences for students in all disciplines. Undergraduate research, however, has been most prominently used in science disciplines. With strong support from the National Science Foundation and the research community, scientists are reshaping their courses to connect key concepts and questions with students’ early and active involvement in systematic investigation and research. The goal is to involve students with actively contested questions, empirical observation, cutting-edge technologies, and the sense of excitement that comes from working to answer important questions. SOURCE: AAC&U High-Impact Educational Practices


Undergraduate Research @ VSCC

VSCC Contact: Kelly Ormsby and Brenda Wolff


Meet Your HIPs Coordinators

  • Experiential and Service-Learning
    • Kelly Ormsby,
  • Campus International Education (Global/Cultural Awareness)
    • Melanie Cochran,
  • Honors Education
    • Ines Petrovic Garcia,
  • Study Abroad International Education (Global/Cultural Awareness)
    • Ami Price,
  • Undergraduate Research 
    • Kelly Ormsby,
    • Brenda Wolff,

HIP Ambassador Monthly Connection Calls

Information about the HIP Ambassador Monthly Connection Calls can always be found on the HIP Ambassador website along with bios and contact details for each ambassador. 

Why do HIPs?

HIPs are positively associated with:

  • Persistence and GPA
  • Deep approaches to learning
  • Higher rates of student‐faculty interaction
  • Increases in critical thinking, writing skills
  • Greater appreciation for diversity
  • Higher student engagement overall, and “compensatory effects”

Source: Kinzie, Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research UWGB, 2012

Tennessee Collegiate Honors Council Annual Conference (TCHC) at Austin Peay State University February 2023

In February a group of students from the Honors Program and the Honors Program Director traveled to Clarksville to participate in the Tennessee Collegiate Honors Council Annual Conference (TCHC) at Austin Peay State University. It was a productive weekend filled with knowledge and building connections.  The most rewarding part was to see students present their research, learn about projects other students are working on, and connect with directors and deans from the institutions they plan to attend after Vol State. 

This conference was the first academic conference these Honors students attended, and they shared positive feedback.  One student expressed her gratitude for “this weekend’s extraordinary Honors experience. Words cannot express what a delightful and productive time I had.”

Read Across America

National Service Month

April is National Service Month! We will be hosting our annual Service Fair on April 12th and April 13th, 2023 on several VSCC Campuses! We can't wait to see you there!

April is National Service Month! Click here for information from our 2022 Service Fair!


World Food Day

Google Site for VSCC World Food Day 2022 

Google Site for VSCC World Food Day 2021

World Food Day is an annual global celebration to promote worldwide awareness and action for accessible, fair, sustainable, and healthy food for all. Vol State’s event, in collaboration with Fall Festival, features student projects, cooking demos, and community guests, highlighting the vital and interesting roles of food from home to classroom, across local and global communities. Service-Learning and Undergraduate Research opportunities will be included.

Community Partners have included:

  • Sumner County Master Gardeners (Project Directors for our Campus Garden)
  • UT Institute of Agriculture Sumner Co. Extension Office
  • Sumner Regional Hospital
  • Second Harvest Food Bank, Farm to Family
  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Tennessee Environmental Council
  • Lipscomb University Environmental Science Program
  • Middle Tennessee State University Fermentation and Agricultural Science Programs
  • Tower Gardens
  • Hill Family Farm
  • Wade Family Farm
  • Vegfest Nashville
  • Tennessee State Museum
  • Vanderbilt University Humphreys Fellows

Get HIP with Common Intellectual Experiences!

Common Intellectual Experiences: The older idea of a “core” curriculum has evolved into a variety of modern forms...often combin[ing] broad themes—e.g., technology and society, global interdependence—with a variety of curricular and cocurricular options for students. (AAC&U)