SOC University

Campuses that have successfully scaled high-quality equitable High-Impact Practices share several qualities.  Below, we outline these common features and then detail the specific ways in which HIPs University, HIPs College, and EL University (pseudonyms) focussed their efforts: academic departments, bridging the gap between the co-curriculum and curriculum, and creating a HIPs graduation requirement.

These successful campuses ensured that their HIPs initiatives are part of a comprehensive student success framework that includes HIPs as one key component.  They ensured that their HIPs work is tied into existing campus and state initiatives to maximize resources and minimize burnout. 

Successful campuses recognize that focussing on HIPs is an opportunity to bring quality learning into the core of the existing student success and completion agenda.

Unlike many existing student success initiatives, teaching and learning are the crux of successful scaling of HIPs.  Successful campuses recognize that focussing on HIPs is an opportunity to bring quality learning into the core of the existing student success and completion agenda.  Unlike many student success initiatives, faculty are the core of the success of HIPs initiatives and successful campuses tap into faculty’s energy around improving teaching and learning to redesign courses and programs to include or improve HIPs. 

These redesigns also included creating student learning outcomes across HIPs, and a common data system to track not only participation, but also learning outcomes.  At successful campuses, HIPs are assessed by learning outcomes across the HIP experience.  And data is collected in a central system and disaggregated by important indicators including race, ethnicity, and first-generation status.  

To be successful in these initiatives required these campuses to move from ad hoc adoption by the domain of the willing to a campus-wide cohesive initiative.  Doing so, requires committing to extensive professional development and investment in faculty and staff leadership

With these changes, all three universities’ commitment to student success has increased as demonstrated by decreased equity gaps, increased retention rates, and increased student learning assessment metrics. Participation in HIPs has also increased as measured by both internal and NSEE data.  High quality equitable HIPs is now part of the ethos of what it means to be part of these university communities.  HIPs have transitioned from a “nice to have” to a foundation of the respective curriculums. 

Case Studies (Click to see more details)

HIPs University: Scaling HIPs through academic departments

HIPs University (HU) identified four signature experiences in which every student participates. These HIPs are aligned to learning outcomes and tied to the university’s mission of what it means to be a “HIPs University graduate”.  The four signature HIPs are:

  1. First-year experience
  2. Undergraduate research
  3. Collaborative learning
  4. Capstone experience

By focussing on FYS and capstone, HU intends to “bookend” HIPs at the beginning and end of the student experience.  By focussing on scaling HIPs through the majors they intend to capture students “in the middle.”  Through its work with SOC, HU realized that their previous HIPs implementation lacked strategy and left too much to chance.  Over the course of 36 months, HU re-designed their HIPs program to ensure multiple touch points based on the research that shows that participating in multiple HIPs increases the positive benefits for students.  In addition, students had previously been asked to demonstrate skills for which they hadn’t been adequately prepared.  With this in mind, HU intentionally scaffolded HIPs throughout the curriculum by focussing on integrating the signature HIPS into program plans.  

Department HIPs plan: The English Dept at HIPs University has scaffolded HIPs across six required courses in the major.  These 6 courses feature 9 different HIPs (some courses focus on more than one).  The HIPs are scaffolded so students are exposed to HIPs at different levels of the curriculum.  The HIPs were also selected to focus on the department’s primary student learning outcomes: critical research and analysis; collaborative learning, and writing.  To assess gaps, the department completed a cross-map between their HIPs, department SLOs, and the NACE competencies. This work revealed that students who complete the major are well prepared in writing, collaborative learning and research.  The cross-mapping revealed that the department needs to analyze its data for transfer students to ensure they are also receiving a well-designed program plan.  The department also identified increasing a focus on diversity/global learning as a priority. While they know that many faculty include this content in their courses, they realized that their focus on diversity could be more intentional.

HIP IntroducedHIP scaffolded Department SLONACE competencyLevel
ENGL 100: First-year seminarFirst-year seminar
Collaborative learning
Collaborative learning
Oral/written communications
ENGL 200Undergraduate research
Writing intensive
Writing intensiveCritical research and analysis
Oral/written communications
Critical thinking/problem solving
ENGL 300: Sophomore SeminarDiversity/Global learning Undergraduate researchWritingGlobal/multi-cultural fluencyIntermediate
ENGL 400-level electiveCommunity-based learning, study abroad or internshipDepends on courseCollaborative LearningDepends on courseAdvanced
ENGL 500: Senior SeminarCapstoneCollaborative learning
Undergraduate research

Critical research and analysis; Collaborative learning, Writing
Critical thinking/problem solving
Oral/written communication
Professionalism/work ethic

HIPs College:
Scaling HIPs by Bridging the Co-Curriculum and Curriculum

This campus’s commitment to scaling HIPs began with a mandate from the state system office that all students  graduate with a minimum of two HIPs.  One of these must be completed in the first two year of enrollment and one in the final two years of enrollment.  In response to this requirement, HIPs College partnered with SOC and hired a new Vice President of Experiential Learning & Student Success.


The Vice President of Experiential Learning and Student Success created a college-wide task force with representatives from IT, academic affairs, student affairs, institutional research, and other campus partners.   Over a 2-year period, the task force developed a HIPs taxonomy based on a 3-tiered measure of identified pedagogic criteria.  Using the taxonomy, over 750 courses and co-curricular experiences were audited and tagged by HIP level 1-3.  

Students can complete their HIPs requirement through both approved academic courses or co-curricular options.  Both course and co-curricular options are held to the same high standards and assessed for the campus’ HIPs student learning outcomes.  The close partnership between academic affairs and student affairs reflects the universities mission to “educate the whole student.” 

All tagged experiences are added to the student information system which syncs nightly with SOC.  A level three tag indicates that the experience meets the graduation requirement.   SOC worked with these campuses to create targeted professional learning communities led by faculty and SOC Subject Matter Experts.  Faculty and staff teaching courses and experiences tagged levels one or two are given feedback and matched with a mentor to make revisions to resubmit their course for level 3 tagging.  Faculty and staff now report having a better understanding of the HIPs College student population and feeling re-energized in their work.

Through its adoption of SOC, students now have one place to go to track their progress and to collect artifacts that can be used to create a co-curricular transcript.

Experiential Learning University:
Scaling HIPs through Educational Pathways

Four year ago HIPs College began a process of revising its graduation plans.  This process led to the creation of the ELU HIPs pathway for students that spans all four years of enrollment and bridges curricular and co-curricular areas.  Beginning in year one, students complete a required first-year seminar that also embeds diversity or global learning.  In year two, students can select between study abroad,  community-based learning, or undergraduate research.  In year three, all students complete an internship.  And, finally, in year four, students complete the pathway with a culminating experience such as a capstone or ePortfolio.

ELUs HIP pathway requires a  huge amount of data currently managed by programs and offices across the campus.  ELU partnered with SOC to ensure they had processes in place to implement the new graduation requirement and collect the necessary data. 

ELU’s HIP pathway was especially complicated because it requires managing both required and student-selected elements.  In addition, because the pathway is required for graduation, the accuracy of the data is of paramount importance.

By using SOC, ELU students have one place to learn about and track all aspects of their pathways program ensuring they stay on track.  In addition, SOC gives administrators a single place to manage and track students’ progress through the pathway, including giving feedback on and approving artifacts, tracking milestones, signing off on completed pathways, and analyzing disaggregated data on participation and learning outcomes for each HIP within the pathway.  ELU worked with SOC to create an equity dashboard that reports on enrollment data in HIPs experiences by race and ethnicity, URM status, Pell grant eligibility, and identification as first-generation.  ELU is now equipped with tools to make data-based decisions that prioritize both quality and equity.  

User Journeys


Student Sally logs into SOC to find, apply to and manage her experiential learning opportunities. Depending on the type of integration, students will either apply directly through SOC, or are sent to the vendor-portal. Sally is using SOC’s opportunity, projects and pathways features. Some of the things she has done in SOC include:

  • Applies to a summer internship she finds at the DOJ through SOC national database (opportunity)
  • Applies to a study abroad program via SOC that connects to her campus’ TerraDotta database (opportunity)
  • Identifies a service learning opportunity to fulfil a course requirement via SOC that connects to her campus’ GivePulse database (opportunity)
  • Tracks her progress on her major pathway–must complete 6 HIPs to graduate (pathways)
  • Applies to and is accepted into the honors program.  Throughout her 2 years in the program she uses SOC to track her progress and ensure she meets program requirements (pathways & projects)
  • Submits her application to be an undergraduate research assistant. Once accepted to the position she tracks her hours and uploads her monthly reflections through SOC. (projects)


Dr. Hernandez had been teaching a first-year seminar in the political science department for six years. He felt the course had become stale and was interested in including community-based learning into his course.  As part of the redesign of FYS, his dean asked him to join SOC’s professional development community.  Dr. Hernandez joined a team of HU faculty across departments working on the reboot of the first-year seminars and was paired with an SOC subject matter expert in CBL.  Throughout the semester-long process, Dr. Hernandez analyzed his disaggregated course data from the past 6 years.  He realized that more women than men, and fewer non-Hispanic white students were taking and passing the course. Dr. Hernandez then joined the equity and curriculum group to focus on closing the identified equity gaps.  Through his work with the FYS and equity teams he revamped his syllabus, assignments, and rubrics.