HIP Institution Stories

Institutions Making an Impact with Their HIPs!

Students socializing in a dorm room at Pitzer College

Service-Learning at Pitzer College

Pitzer College shares their HIP data use story below.


Showcasing HIPs 
Pitzer College, Washington State University, and Samford University
Enhancing Access and Quality
Marian University, CSU San Marcos, and IUPUI
HIP Data Displays
University of Toronto and Utah State University
Accreditation/Quality Improvmt.
Middle Georgia State University and Martin Methodist College

High-impact practices (HIPs) are a topic with a strong following among NSSE participating institutions. Colleges and universities have used their HIP data and results in a variety of ways to:

  • Showcase students’ participation in HIPs in comparison to peer institutions
  • Make the case to granting agencies and donors about the importance of investing in programs and supports to ensure more students can participate in HIPs
  • Explore evidence of HIP participation and quality in accreditation and quality improvement projects associated with the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges-Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC) and the Higher Learning Commission
  • Feature HIP data in institutional dashboards including results disaggregated by race-ethnicity, first-generation status, major and other student characteristics
  • Share HIP results from NSSE and FSSE to stimulate discussions about faculty priorities and student learning experiences
  • Build evidence of HIP demand using first-year student results and senior results to advocate for scaffolded experiences, a coordinating office, or for tagging HIPs in the curriculum or on students’ transcript

Below are select examples of HIP data use at NSSE participating institutions:

Showcasing HIPs

Students socializing in a dorm room at Pitzer College

Pitzer College tracks HIP participation

Pitzer College (Claremont, CA) tracks students’ participation in HIPs, highlighting their strong rates in comparison to peer institutions “Far West Privates” and within their Carnegie Classification. Pitzer results show strong initial engagement among first-year students (71% with at least one HIP) and continued interest and growth with seniors (97% with at least one HIP), higher than comparable institutions. These findings are shared with faculty and staff to emphasize the importance of students’ early engagement with HIPs and the relationship to higher retention and graduation rates.

Image of a data figure from Washington State University's website featuring HIP results for seniors.

Washington State University features HIPs on webpage

Washington State University (Pullman, WA) features HIP results on a dedicated HIPs assessment webpage to demonstrate a commitment to ensuring that the University’s Common Requirements (UCORE) curriculum provides opportunities for participation in HIPs, including the senior capstone experience course (CAPS) requirement, Academic Success and Career Center Internship Support for Students, the International Programs Study Abroad, along with other experiences as appropriate to the course and discipline.

Samford University HIP results affirm institutional efforts

Samford University (Birmingham, AL) promotes its strong HIP results as affirmation of the commitment of their faculty and staff to deliver rigorous academic programs and a variety of learning experiences. NSSE 2020 HIP results are featured in comparison to private institutions in the Southeast. NSSE results are also essential data sources for various levels of accreditation and academic program review.

NSSE provides important insights that help us evaluate the student experience at Samford. Our high-impact practice results affirm the commitment of our faculty and staff to delivering rigorous academic programs in an environment that promotes student engagement through a variety of learning experiences.

Andrew Westmoreland, President, Samford University

Enhancing Access and Quality

Two students talking an a classroom at Marian University
Marian University

Marian University (Indianapolis, IN) has an institutional effort to increase student participation in internships and field experiences. NSSE results helped the University assess these important career-related HIPs. Participation in these HIPs has grown by 16 percentage points since 2015. In NSSE 2019, 82% of Marian’s seniors reported participating in an internship. This program’s success has largely been driven by Marian’s institutional culture of cross-department support as well as an institutional focus on remaining learning centered. Housed within The Exchange, Marian’s career development office, the program comprises an institutional system for internships that includes partnerships between academic departments and the Office of Institutional Research, which oversees the administration of NSSE and strives to make both quantitative and qualitative data accessible to all stakeholders through presentations across campus and intranet access. Marian is also committed to assessment to ensure equity and quality. For example, they plan to examine which students participate in internships and how their engagement outcomes compare to those of nonparticipants.

California State University San Marcos Students take research notes together in a meadow
California State University San Marcos

California State University San Marcos (San Marcos, CA) places a priority on High-Impact Practices (HIPs) such as the first-year seminar, internships, and undergraduate research. Emblematic of this institutional emphasis, a HIP task force composed of faculty, staff, and administrators with interest or involvement in campus HIPs used NSSE data to disaggregate student participation in HIPs by student major and demographic characteristics. These data helped them identify student groups less likely to participate in HIPs and to direct them to HIP opportunities. CSUSM stakeholders have used NSSE data to measure the overall effect of efforts to improve HIP participation, and the data suggest interventions are working. Encouragingly, results from subsequent NSSE administrations indicated that HIP participation has increased. Also, using common HIP data has facilitated cross-division collaboration at the university, as all entities work from the same data points and share a common framework for conversations to identify needs and plan interventions. Read more about CSUSM in Lessons from the Field, Volume 4.

two students wearing masks doing a service activity at IUPUI
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (Indianapolis, IN) stakeholders are interested in increasing participation in and measuring the quality of High-Impact Practices (HIPs). One key campus initiative targeting this goal is the RISE Initiative—Research, International experiences, Service-learning, and Experiential learning—which provides maps for students to enroll in RISE courses and resources for faculty (e.g., taxonomies and funding for course development). To measure the quality of RISE, the Office of Institutional Research and Decision Support uses retention data, follow-up surveys, qualitative interviews, and NSSE data. Triangulated with data from the other sources, NSSE data help illuminate the relationship between HIP participation and desired student outcomes. NSSE results have indicated that, among first-year and senior students, RISE participation is related to increases in engagement behaviors associated with Higher-Order Learning and Discussions with Diverse Others.

HIP Data Displays—Informative, Accessible, and Creative

A snapshot of a portion of University of Toronto's Tableau dashboard showing bar chart figures.

University of Toronto data displays inspire interest in HIP results

At the University of Toronto (Toronto, Ontario), increasing student participation in High-Impact Practices (HIPs) is a major goal, yet presenting data in a way that inspires interest and change among educational units has been challenging. Through new, compelling data visualization techniques, NSSE data have been used to show the relationship between participation in HIPs with student satisfaction and engagement and to generate interest in and conversation about HIPs across campus. See the “EI: HIP” Tableau display.

Researchers in a lab studying water flow at Utah State University

Utah State allows users to explore NSSE-FSSE data

Utah State University (Logan, UT) features their NSSE-FSSE comparable results, including student-reported HIP participation and how important faculty think it is for students to do HIPs, in their Tableau dashboard. The dashboard allows filtering by college and department, gender, race or ethnicity, enrollment status and class level. Students' behavior and faculty ratings of importance on average display the correspondence between what faculty identify as important and what students do.

Accreditation and Quality Improvement Projects

Middle Georgia State University logo for the Experiential Learning program

Middle Georgia State University (Macon, GA) designed a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges entitled “Experiential Learning@MGA.” It detailed a plan for students to engage in several high-impact practices (HIPs) with the goal of reinforcing the “student-centered focus of the University’s strategic plan.” The experiential learning approach was selected after analysis of NSSE results and internal assessment data indicated MGA students were participating in some HIPs less frequently than their peers at comparison institutions. For example, NSSE findings showed MGA seniors participated less often in undergraduate research, collaborative learning, and service-learning. MGA’s QEP fosters students’ progress through four tiers of experiential learning activities throughout their time at the university. MGA developed a rubric with specific evaluative criteria that allows them to qualify courses and activities as experiential learning and to help ensure consistency across these experiences. As MGA carries out their phased implementation of this QEP, NSSE will serve as an important assessment tool.

A large class of students doing a service-learning project for Earth Day at Martin Methodist University.
Service-learning at Martin Methodist College

Martin Methodist College (Pulaski, TN) created a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) to help infuse evidence-based high-impact practices (HIPs) into the MMC academic curriculum. Affirmed by research indicating that HIPs have a positive educational effect for students from widely varying backgrounds, MMC deemed that the college is in a unique position to help its primarily rural, low-income, and first-generation college students be successful. Their QEP proposes to increase the number of HIPs and student’s participation, and to create robust faculty development activities to support HIP development and systematically create multiple HIPs per program area. NSSE and FSSE will be used to monitor and assess QEP progress, with a particular focus on examining HIP participation and impact among students from various underserved and traditionally advantaged groups.

Evidence-Based Improvement in Higher Education

Center for Postsecondary Research
Indiana University School of Education
201 N. Rose Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405-1006
Phone: 812.856.5824