Following the fall 2015 Undergraduate Experiences Symposium, which focused on High-Impact Practices (HIPs), the provost, individual deans, and other offices made funds available for competitive HIP grants at CU Denver. The initial HIP Steering Committee formed as a collaboration between Undergraduate Experiences (UE), the Center for Faculty Development (CFD), and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) to oversee the grants. The committee wrote and widely disseminated three types of CFPs:
- HIP Pilot Grant #1, for individual faculty from any academic program interested in integrating a single HIP into her/his course;
- HIP Pilot Grant #2, for any academic unit/program interested in integrating two or more HIPs into degree requirements;
- HIP Pilot Grant #3, for any academic unit interested in focusing on integrating the Diversity/Global Learning HIP into its academic program.
The CFPs specified award amounts, selection criteria, and the expected work-to-be-done, deadlines, and deliverables. The committee wrote and used a rubric for review of applications. A total of 28 proposals were received (18 for #1, 7 for #2, and 3 for #3); 22 grants were awarded. After changes over the course of the year, these were the final numbers:
- Grant #1: funded 16 faculty from 12 academic programs, 3 staff, and 2 students in three Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) focused respectively on Writing-Intensive Courses (WICs), Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URCA), and Capstone Courses and Projects, with total funding of $51,168.88.
- Grant #2: funded 32 faculty, 7 staff, and 4 students in five program-centric PLCs—Communication, International Studies, School of Education and Human Development, School of Public Affairs, and Sociology—with total funding of $62,032.60.
- Grant #3: funded 4 faculty, 1 staff, and 1 student in one program, the BA in Business Administration in the Business School, chaired by Brenda J. Allen, with funding from her office of $9,153.
The funding for the grants is summarized below:
Funding Projected Actual final
Contributor amount contribution
- Provost $85,900 $79,897
- Dean of CLAS $9,000 $9,000
- Dean of SEHD $3,000 $3,000
- Dean of SPA $3,000 $3,000
- CFD $10,000 $10,000
- D&I $7,000 $9,000
- UE $10,000 $10,000
TOTAL $127,900 $123,897
For this investment, 70 faculty, staff, and students worked through 2016 to integrate HIPs into courses and programs. As a result, in 2017, at least 16 courses (not counting 6-12 courses revised under grants #2 and #3) and 6 degree programs are more HIP-intensive than they were, offering 51 faculty members and, in this year alone, 100s of students a more engaged teaching-and-learning experience.
The process itself was designed to be a learning experience for the grant participants. The 9 team leaders were asked to conduct scholarship-of-teaching-and-learning on their chosen HIP(s) and to lead their teams in that study. In addition, the CFD not only provided individual guidance to leaders and teams upon request (e.g., classroom observations, focus groups, coaching) but also designed and offered a series of professional development events. Those included workshops on “Sustaining HIP Reforms,” “Building a Shared Vision Within a Program,” and “Curriculum Mapping and Scaffolding” to integrate HIPs, as well as one offered by the Office of Assessment on “Evidence-Based Assessment” of HIP reforms. Dr. Wood, Dr. Sobel, and Dr. Franklin held individual meetings with the eight grant #1 and #2 PLC leaders, and Dr. Allen mentored the grant #3 team through the length of its work.
As specified in the grant requirements, the 9 PLC leaders provided short summary final reports in December 2016 (available upon request) and stand ready to serve as presenters or mentors to other faculty about what they learned through the HIP grants. The steering committee, and especially the CFD, is capitalizing on the latter commitment this spring in three ways:
- A “Lunch-and-Learn” panel on “Involving Students in Course-Based Research Experiences” chaired by Leo Bruederle, campus Director of URCA, and including Sarah Horton, the PLC leader for the URCA grant team. In addition, Dr. Bruederle will lead a PLC to meet throughout this semester on building URCA into courses, open to all faculty.
- A PLC throughout spring on “Using Writing to Promote Learning” led by Rodney Herring, the PLC leader for the WIC grant team, open to any interested faculty.
- Finally, a campus event on April 13, 2017 at which 4-5 of the PLC leaders will dynamically summarize their HIP grant experiences through condensed, videoed Pecha Kucha presentations at the Auraria Library Learning Wall and attend to answer questions. The event will be opened by the chancellor and/or provost and include light refreshments.
The outcomes of the HIP grants are manifold. Involving 70 people on campus in a year-long collaborative learning and development process is itself an invaluable outcome. Revising two dozen or more courses and six degree programs to be HIP-intensive is a outcome that will continue to provide benefits to our faculty and students. Primary among those benefits are the results of intense focus on even more engaged teaching and enriched learning experiences for students not only for this year but for years to come. Finally, the expectation, prompted by national experience and data, is that these benefits also will improve student learning, retention, and success. If the CU Denver experience is like that at the Cal State System campuses, then underrepresented-minority students especially should experience increases in these areas. The assessment of these latter outcomes is not short-term or transparent, but the intention is to continue assessment of the impacts of the HIP grants in future years.
Guest Contributor: This report is by the HIP Steering Committee: Brenda J. Allen, Rich Allen, Jeff Franklin (chair), Laura Goodwin, Kelly Hupfeld, Marjorie Levine-Clark, Tony Smith, Donna Sobel, Kenny Wolf and Margaret Wood