Practices Operational Definitions
Adapted by the CU
Denver HIP Taskforce from the AAC&U Descriptions (May 2016)
HIPs are a list of nationally recognized engaged teaching-and-learning strategies that were developed under the auspices of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). Widespread practice and scholarship-of-teaching-and-learning suggest that student participation in HIPs improves their educational experience and their degree success and that underrepresented minority students especially benefit from engaging in multiple HIPs.
Below are working definitions of HIPs and, linked to the name of each, the "Best-Practices Guidelines." These definitions and guidelines were drafted and revised over the course of two years by committees of faculty, staff, and students at the University of Colorado Denver, incorporating feedback from faculty experts in each HIP across CU Denver's downtown campus.
First Year Seminars
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
FYSs also feature rigorous discipline-based content.
Experiences:An intentionally designed group of learning experiences (e.g., courses,
co-curricula, community-based activities), in which learning in one experience
is developed and strategically applied in a linked experience. This includes
the horizontal integration of several courses by a shared “big idea” theme or
vertical integration, as in scaffolded curriculum, either within a major or linking
gen-ed core courses to more advanced applications in major courses. These
experiences frequently are multidisciplinary and team-learning-based.
cohort of students who share a specific set of clustered learning experiences.
Typically, these include paired courses, or a single course, integrated by an
academic theme, collaborative learning, peer mentoring, and intentional
co-curricular activities, such as service, a common reader, and special
programming. Such communities tend to be designed with targeted populations in
mind, such as first-years, transfers, or majors.
These courses treat students' production and revision of writing as central to
the learning of course content. These courses provide explicit instruction
about writing in specific disciplines, including the forms appropriate for
different audiences. Student writing receives substantive feedback from
instructors and peers, and revisions, when successful, respond to this
Collaborative learning combines two key goals:
learning to work and solve problems in the company of others, and sharpening
one’s own understanding by listening seriously to the insights of others,
especially those with different backgrounds and life experiences. Approaches
range from study groups within a course, to team-based assignments and writing,
to cooperative projects and research.
Research [and Creative Activity]: “An inquiry or investigation conducted by
an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative
contribution to the discipline” (http://www.cur.org/about_cur/). Ideally, this
process is project-based, collaborative, publically disseminated or presented,
and within a credit-bearing course.
Experiences that focus on
student engagement, exploration, and analysis of cultures, life experiences,
and worldviews different from their own. Students explore “difficult
differences” such as racial, ethnic, gender inequality, or continuing struggles
around the globe for justice, human rights, freedom, and power. Those deepened
perspectives support students in interacting and communicating more ethically
and effectively with people different from themselves.
Service Learning, Community-Based
Learning: Field-based experiential learning that connects meaningful
community engagement, course content, and civic responsibility provides students
direct experience with issues they are studying with ongoing efforts to
identify needs, assets, and solutions with the community. Focused service
learning opportunities allows, students to both apply what they are learning in
real-world settings and reflect in the classroom setting on those experiences.
formally integrate students’ academic studies with practical work experience in
a professional environment. These learning opportunities are structured,
supervised experiences focusing on intentional learning goals that support the
student's educational and career interests while enhancing personal development
and professional preparation. Academic internship are curriculum-based, credit-bearing,
and ideally involves a “learning agreement” signed by faculty, student, workplace
supervisor, and internship advisor.
Capstone Courses and Projects: A
culminating experience in a program that requires students to integrate and
reflect on what they have learned in the program as well as across their entire
undergraduate experience and is demonstrated in the form of a project such as a
presentation, performance, portfolio, exhibit, or research paper.