AACU - HIPs Application Narrative FINAL QCC 042114
1. AAC&U Summer Institute on High Impact Practices & Student Success:
Integrating Queensborough Community College’s Academies Model with HIPs
Queensborough Community College (QCC), a unit of The City University of New York (CUNY),
is an urban institution in a residential area of Queens, NYC serving approximately 14,000
degree-seeking students. We have one of the most diverse student bodies in the US: 26%
Hispanic, 23% Black, 22% Asian, and 21% White (Factbook, Fall 2012). Constituting a large
immigrant population, approximately 70% of our students need remediation, and many must
take several developmental courses to be prepared for college-credit instruction.
Because of our commitment to educating under-represented and under-prepared students,
Queensborough has been dedicated to innovative pedagogies. Prior to George Kuh’s landmark
(2008) article on High Impact Practices (HIPs), as early as 1999 we implemented a Writing in
the Disciplines/Writing Across the Curriculum program. During 2006-9, the College participated
in a MDRC-sponsored study of learning communities. In 2006, we received an American
Association of Community Colleges grant to develop our service learning initiative. In addition to
these innovative pedagogies, faculty across campus utilize other instructional techniques
believed to have significant effects on student learning, subsequently identified by Kuh as “high
In 2009, Queensborough integrated these and other HIPs into its innovative Freshman
Academies model. These efforts were recognized when QCC was designated as one of only 12
phase one Roadmap Colleges by AAC&U. Subsequently, the Freshman Academies model was
expanded in the fall of 2013 to move beyond the first year experience in order to create a more
comprehensive educational environment that promotes academic excellence and encourages
student retention, success, and completion through graduation. The “Queensborough
Academies” are discipline-based and include areas such as STEM, Health-Related Sciences,
Business, and Visual and Performing Arts. Each Academy is dedicated to incorporating HIPs to
further students’ learning and development.
We need now to develop a more rigorous and systematic assessment of the implementation
and efficacy of our high impact practices, especially given their centrality to our Academies
model. Our new provost and senior vice president, Dr. Michael Reiner, has encouraged us to
design a comprehensive evaluation of what we do, how we do it, and whether our efforts are
effective in order to engage in the continuous improvement cycle.
To date, evidence demonstrates that exposure to HIPs positively affects QCC students’ overall
graduation and retention rates (Corradetti et al., 23). To understand why this is the case, a
more in-depth analysis of these individual pedagogical innovations within our Academies is
necessary if we are to capitalize on their strengths, make modifications to weaknesses, and
customize efforts to meet the needs of our students. Therefore, Queensborough needs to
participate in this AAC&U Institute to further fulfill our mission.
“Useful Evidence,” “Building from the Ground Up,” and the “Politics of Change,” are three
Institute tracks of particular relevance to our needs. At Queensborough, we want to: 1) Develop
an effective assessment strategy; 2) Determine how to integrate HIPs systematically into our
Academies model; and 3) Become effective change agents for this endeavor.
To date, the College has assessed students’ perceptions of how HIPs affected their learning.
However, a needs assessment is necessary to further institutionalize HIPs within the new
2. Academies model. For example, we are unsure at present as to the depth and breadth to which
faculty are using HIPs within their courses, whether the implementation is consistent across
classes, and the effectiveness of these pedagogical innovations to improve student learning.
Faculty have drafted Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for each HIP; these are in need of
review, refinement, and reification. Once completed, rubrics must be developed to analyze
artifacts, raters must be trained and measures calibrated, data must be collected, analyzed, and
used for decision making about program effectiveness.
Our goal is to utilize the expertise of the Institute faculty, as well as that of our own team, to
create a High-Impact Practices Assessment Action Plan. This will include a formative evaluation
of current implementation of HIPs focusing on:
current courses offering HIPs
identified Student Learning Outcomes for each HIP
professional development for faculty using and assessing HIPs
developing a protocol for evaluating HIPs effectiveness
This formative evaluation will in turn allow us to modify and fine tune our HIPs currently
embedded in the Academies. In addition, the development of reliable and valid instruments for
direct measurement of student learning in HIPs will be the prelude to our summative evaluation
of effectiveness. A multivariate research design will then allow us to tease apart the contribution
of various HIPs within the different Academies for influencing student learning and achievement,
thereby allowing us to customize the delivery of effective instruction. Finally, after conducting a
formal summative assessment of student learning, we would use the results to ensure
“continuous improvement” through systematic assessment of the HIPs and their
institutionalization into the Academies model.
Throughout its history, Queensborough has contributed to the national conversation to improve
teaching, learning, and student success. Recently, QCC was selected by AAC&U as an original
Roadmap college, with responsibility to mentor other institutions. We have presented about
HIPs at national conferences such as AEEBL (Association for Authentic, Experiential, and
Evidence-Based Learning), HETS (Hispanic Educational Technology Services), CSRDE
(Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange), CCHA (Community College Humanities
Association), and CCFA (Community College Futures Assembly). A team participated in the
nation-wide Connect to Learning project (Catalyst for Learning: ePortfolio Resources &
Research site http://c2l.mcnrc.org/category/qcc/). Queensborough faculty have also published
about HIPs in various journals, most notably AAC&U’s Peer Review (Abbott 10-13).
Under the leadership of our President, Dr. Diane Call, these efforts will continue. Our goal is not
only to better integrate HIPs into our Academy model, but also to disseminate the findings of our
research to the academic community. Queensborough is particularly eager to develop a
systematic protocol to ensure reliable and valid evaluation of the effectiveness of its HIPs and
produce findings that can lead to continuous improvement.
Our team is composed of five members: the chief academic officer, an assessment expert, an
administrator in charge of improving teaching and learning via HIPs, an administrator
responsible for coordinating the integration of HIPs into the Academies, and a faculty leader
with background in educational psychology and an interest in research on innovative pedagogy.
3. Dr. Michael Reiner, College Provost, has served as an academic administrator at community
colleges and as a professor of psychology colleges and universities. While at Kennesaw State
University, he was honored with the Distinguished Teaching Award and named University
System of Georgia Board of Regents Distinguished Professor for Teaching and Learning.
Dr. Arthur Corradetti is Dean of Accreditation, Assessment, and Institutional Effectiveness. In
this role, he provides institutional support to ensure that the assessment of HIPs is aligned with
overall Academy assessment efforts and with the College strategic plan. Dr. Corradetti has
experience leading Middle States accreditation efforts, both for the self-study in 2009 and
currently for the periodic review due in 2014, and has led many faculty development workshops.
Dr. Jane E Hindman is the Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.
Currently, she develops and coordinates all professional development efforts related to HIPs.
She provided leadership in the development of the HIPs Student Learning Outcomes and
reflective assessment activities. In addition, Dr. Hindman is engaged in numerous activities at
Queensborough to improve teaching and student learning.
Susan Madera is an Academic Program Manager, recently focusing on HIPs and is a Roadmap
team leader. In the latter role, she has mentored two Roadmap Phase II colleges (Monroe
Community College and Manchester Community College). She coordinates particular HIPs,
including the Common Intellectual Experiences and Learning Communities.
Dr. Andrea Salis is an educational psychologist with a specialization in learning, development
and instruction at the community college level. She integrates several HIPs in her classes. Dr.
Salis collaborates with faculty to assess and perform empirical research on HIPs effectiveness
to enhance student learning and academic performance.
Abbott, Jillian. “Interdisciplinary Teaching through Learning Communities: A Perspective from a
Part-time Faculty Member.” Peer Review. Vol 14, no 3. Summer 2012. 10-13.
Corradetti, Arthur, Michele Cuomo, Victor Fichera, and Susan Madera. “The Freshman
Academies Assessment Protocol.” Peer Review. Vol. 15, no. 2. Spring 2013. 23-24.