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High Impact Practices at South Piedmont

Improving Student Success

A team led by Dr. Diane Paige is creating the foundation for the collaborative High Impact Practices program (HIPs) at South Piedmont. The Association of American Colleges and Universities identified HIPs as able to help improve student learning, success, persistence and retention. Most community colleges do not have a collaborative program of HIPs, but instead have separate programs such as Honors or ePortfolio. HIPs at South Piedmont includes ePortfolio, Honors, Global Scholars of Distinction, as well as two new programs: Learning Communities, led by Ryan Brown and Undergraduate Research, led by Stephen Silvoy.

Ryan Brown drinking CoffeeBrown created an AA in a Year Coffee House for students in the HIPs program. This provides a supportive community for students by offering meetings to explore topics such as career options, ePortfolio, growth mindset, and the power of persistence. Brown invites AA in a Year faculty to join the meetings and lead discussions on their areas of expertise. Tammy Frailly participated in a Coffee House by sharing her ePortfolio expertise and answering student questions. These types of interactions provide ways for students to access resources to support their learning.

The new Learning Communities program, which Brown is leading, allows students to take two or more courses in a cohort. Members of this cohort are able to establish connections with one another, which more readily facilitates discussions about courses. Instructors challenge students to apply what they learn in the classroom to the outside world. They accomplish this through common readings, community-based service, professional topics and research.

Silvoy, who recently joined SPCC as a permanent full-time English instructor, is leading the Undergraduate Research program. This program will introduce students to in-depth research and inquiry on topics that relate to their studies or career, which makes the research especially relevant. Participating students will work with faculty and librarians to research and present or publish their findings.

Submitted by Dana Glauner