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Vol State Teaching & Learning Center

Teaching & Learning Center: High Impact Practices

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


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).

HIP Discussion Framework for the Classroom:

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)

Diversity & Inclusion

The mission of Diversity and Inclusion at Volunteer State is to help increase awareness and celebrate diversity on our campus and in the community.

VSCC Contact: Anne-Marie McKee


Diversity Programs

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion sponsors programs during the academic year. Links to materials related to these programs are available in the Diversity and Inclusion Programs section on the Culturally Responsive Teaching page.

Global Learning (International Education)

VSCC Contact: Ami Price


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

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

Definition of Practice

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


Definition of Practice

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).

SOURCE: TBR HIP Taxonomy: Honors Education

Honors @ VSCC

VSCC Contact: Ines Petrovic



Definition of Practice

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: Brenda Wolff


Definition of Practice

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.

Work-Based Learning @ VSCC

VSCC Contact: Dr. Rick Parrent


Definition of Practice

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.

SOURCE: TBR HIP Taxonomy: Technology Enhanced Learning

Technology-Enhanced Learning @ VSCC

VSCC Contact: Bryan Saums


Making a Better Poster

Here's a nice example of technology-enhanced learning. The following video shows us how to enhance a presentation poster using online technology. If a student uses a QR code on a poster, the student has the opportunity to learn how to create and edit a blog, create online videos, connect their resume to their poster presentation, and learn a host of other technology that enhances their employability--all while focusing on course subject matter.

Meet Your HIPs Coordinators

  • International Education and Study Abroad, Ami Price,
  • Experiential and Service-Learning, Kelly Ormsby,
  • First-year Experience and Technology-Enhanced Learning, Dr. Krista Mazza Carter,
  • Honors, Abigail Felber,
  • Undergraduate Research, Brenda Wolff,
  • Work-based Learning and Internships, Dr. Rick Parrent,

Video: Key Features of High Impact Practices

HIPs, Equity, and Inclusion

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

Types of High Impact Practices

HIP Ambassador Monthly Connection Calls

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

All faculty and adjuncts are invited to attend these meetings, so please share this information widely. Those interested should sign up at the registration site: Ambassadors will then send out meeting links.

Save the Date: World Food Day, October 2022

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 (typically the fourth week of October), 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.

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

Service-Learning and Undergraduate Research opportunities will be included.

Google Site for World Food Day at VSCC, 2021

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)