Accelerating the efficient scaling of experiential education & High-Impact Practices

through customized services, technologies, and implementation support

“For too long, retention and graduation initiatives have not been connected to work in the classroom, and faculty have not seen their place in these projects. In fact, some initiatives have stalled because they do not tie institutional and classroom goals together. They do not make the macro tangible and they do not take the micro seriously. But High Impact Practices are a mechanism to connect state level policy all the way down to the crucial one-on-one relationship between faculty and student.”

Jacobson. C. (2020). Re-energizing student success: High Impact Practices as a mechanism to connect state policy to classroom practice. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 52(3),17-23.

What We Do

Student Opportunity Center accelerates the scaling of experiential education & High-Impact Practices through customized implementation and consulting services. SOC provides: solutions to centralize experiential learning opportunities; structures to embed experiential education in the curriculum; tools to connect students with opportunities; and the data infrastructure to analyze disaggregated participation and learning outcomes data.

Dr. Krys Strand
Dr. Krys StrandDirector of National Fellowships and Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity, Concordia College
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"SOC is a fantastic tool that can connect every student on campus with opportunities and help campuses track applications and participation in those opportunities."

Guiding Principles

Faculty Care about HIPs

HIPs connect campus initiatives on teaching and learning with those on retention and graduation. This connection to classroom practice differentiates HIPs from other initiatives and improves the rate of successful implementation

HIPs Close Equity Gaps

Participating in experiential learning, such as High-Impact Practices, can improve success for first-generation students, students of color, and students who enter college less academically prepared

HIPs Increase Retention and Graduation Rates

Students who participate in HIPs are more likely to persist to graduation and have higher overall GPAs than their peers

HIPs Provide Students Career Advantages

Students who participate in HIPs demonstrate skills such as critical thinking, writing, and appreciation for diversity, which are all skills that employers consistently say new graduates need to succeed

How We Do It

Many colleges and universities recognize the need to better connect students’ learning across their in- and out-of-classroom experiences, but how to do this often feels overwhelming. Creating a holistic experiential education implementation infrastructure is a heavy lift for many campuses, with the average campus spending 3-5 years to create or scale their experiential learning initiatives. Unfortunately, many campuses exert time and energy reinventing existing practices, creating understandable initiative fatigue and decreasing the chance of success.

By working with SOC, campuses can accelerate change and reach scale in just 18-24 months.

We do this by partnering with campuses to develop and implement a holistic strategy to scale high-quality equitable experiential education and High-Impact Practices using vetted methods. We work with you through an iterative process that includes strategy and goal development, an audit of your existing experimental opportunities, and the implementation of a personalized plan that includes assessing student learning, administering faculty and staff professional development, designing equity goals, and building a robust data infrastructure.

Foundations

We start by reviewing the foundational research on why experiential education matters and ensuring that the team has common language and definitions

Assessment

We must first identify what we want students to learn, before we can know if learning takes place. SOC offers best-practices and best-in-class assessment materials and training

Strategy

Effective experiential opportunities are implemented strategically to ensure quality and promote the equitable participation of diverse students. We help you build and manage implementation of a holistic student success strategy integrated with your institution’s mission and values

Professional Development

Creative, sustained professional development is a critical component of a successful strategy. We offer best-in-class HIPs professional development services, help you devise a sustainable in-house strategy, and connect you to a network of national experts

Curriculum Development

We develop research-based curriculum and classroom materials, customized to your unique institution and department, to ensure students’ learning and success

Equity

We help you implement equitable experiential education that moves beyond access to scale high-quality experiential education that is accessible and relevant to your populations

Data

We believe in focusing on better use of data to drive change. This entails building a robust data infrastructure that enables campuses to analyze disaggregated student participation and outcomes data

Finance and Operational Audit

We can help you make data-driven decisions to maximize your resources dedicated to experiential learning operations

Experts

Work with a network of national experts on experiential learning and High-Impact Practices. These leaders help campuses develop their own comprehensive and sustainable strategies to efficiently scale their experiential education initiatives by consulting on quality, equity, diversity and inclusion, assessment, pedagogy, curricular development, research, and more.

George D. Kuh, Ph.D.

Founding Director of NILOA, Adjunct Professor at the University of Illinois, Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus at Indiana University, Founding Director NSSE

John C. Cavanagh, Ph.D.

Prev. Chancellor PASSHE, President Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area

Carina N. Beck, Ed.D.

Vice Provost - Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success and Director, Hilleman Scholars, Montana State University

LaVar Charleston, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Education

Erick Montenegro

NILOA Fellow, Director of Communications for the Credential Engine

Cynthia Alby, Ph.D.

Director of GC Journeys / Professor of Education

Bruce Vandal, Ph.D.

Prev. Senior VP Complete College America

Claire Jacobson, Ph.D.

VP Campus Strategy at SOC, Prev. Director of NASH TS3, HIPs

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