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Montana Western to Host Education Conference on High Impact Practices

October 15, 2018

The University of Montana Western will host the “Taking Student Success to Scale: High Impact Practices” Southwest Montana Regional Conference on October 18, 2018.

Taking Student Success to Scale Conference

High-impact practices (HIPs) were first described in 2008 by educational researchers, George Kuh and Ken O’Donnell, as proven strategies to increase student success. These strategies include the implementation of first-year seminars and experiences, learning communities, writing-intensive courses, collaborative assignments and projects, undergraduate research, travel/global learning, service learning, internships and field experiences, capstone courses and projects, and ePortfolios.

Montana Western serves as a natural host for the conference due to its unique approach to classroom scheduling and immersive learning known as Experience One. Students at Montana Western take one course at a time for 18 days, before moving on to the next course, earning the same amount of credits as in the traditional course scheduling model. Experience One was first introduced in 2001 as a way to better engage students in their learning environment. Students at Montana Western, the only public four-year university in the nation to offer Experience One, benefit from many high impact strategies as they complete their degrees due to the immersive nature of Experience One.

The goal of the conference is to raise awareness of successful high-impact practices in the Montana University System. This opportunity also allows educators to gather and share the strategies needed to make HIPs more available to all students. The National Association of System Heads (NASH) is supporting the work as part of its “Taking Student Success to Scale” initiative.  The initiative is designed to share best practices of proven student success strategies.

“Experience One is one example of the successful strategies that NASH is interested in promoting at a national scale to increase participation in high impact practices,” explained Montana Western’s Dean of Outreach and conference coordinator, Anneliese Ripley, Ed.D.

The conference will be a one-day event beginning with a presentation by keynote speaker, Dr. Ken O’Donnell, one of the first researchers to describe high-impact practices. O’Donnell is currently the Associate Vice President of Student Success Program Integration and Assessment at California State University in Dominguez Hills. During his talk, O’Donnell will be looking at ways to make HIPs systemic and will discuss the challenges that may surround this kind of move and the potential successes that could result.

Participants in the conference will divide into break-out groups and attend presentations by fifteen UMW faculty and staff members along with seven visiting lecturers from other universities. Presenters will explain the ways they have incorporated HIPs into their classrooms and fields of study.

“The most recent National Survey of Student Engagement data shows Montana Western’s freshmen and seniors report higher participation in high impact practices when compared to other Rocky Mountain public institutions,” stated Ripley.

Montana Western faculty members will present on how they incorporated HIPs in a wide range of instructional topics and will share the success they have had with HIPs in their classrooms.

To view the agenda for the conference and the topics that will be discussed, please download the preliminary schedule. All faculty, staff, students and community members are invited to attend free of charge after registering online.

For more information about the conference, please email [email protected].