Center for Teaching Excellence and Learning (C-TEL)

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Email:, location: Mabee Library 206A, phone: 785.670.2835 (CTEL), hours: 9-4 Mon-Fri

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High Impact Community Engagement Practices

Definition:  High Impact Community Engagement Practices (HICEPs) are any student centered, interactive, experiential educational endeavors, either curricular or co-curricular, that are clearly community focused and action based. The purpose is to move from an observer of the conditions that exist in our society to intellectual awareness and informed action.

A HICEP is a project that...

  • Is designed to encourage students to reflect on their connections and commitments to the community in which they live (local, national, global).
  • Brings campus partners (faculty, staff, and students) and community partners together to address specific issues, problems or concerns.
  • Is created and designed through collaboration of campus partners and community partners.
  • Encourages students to integrate academic and practical knowledge.
  • Involves structured and guided reflection by students on the meaning and broader implications of the HICEP project/activity.
  • Is designed to benefit students through learning and community partners through capacity building of the organization.
  • Is designed and carried out with explicit, clearly articulated Learning Outcomes which are assessed.

Learning Outcomes for Students Participating in HICEPs

It is suggested that at least one of the following outcomes be included in the development of a HICEP activity/course.

Upon completion of a HICEP project or activity students will:

  • Connect and extend knowledge (facts, theories, etc.) from their own academic study/field/discipline to civic engagement;
  • Demonstrate evidence of adjustment in their own attitudes and beliefs as a result of working within and learning from a diversity of communities and cultures;
  • Articulate a clarified sense of civic identity;
  • Demonstrate abilities in self-awareness and self-reflection;
  • Show evidence of initiative and team leadership;
  • Tailor communication strategies to effectively express, listen, and adapt to others to establish relationships;
  • Articulate the value of public action and/or;
  • Demonstrate ability and commitment to collaboratively work across and within community context and structures to achieve a civic aim.

Features of High Impact Community Engagement Projects

High Impact Community Engagement Projects ideally include an emphasis on:

  • Place-based learning that incorporates community understanding, local context, local assets and includes community voice in defining the nature of the project and the relationship.
  • Co-creation of projects and products in which community partners and campus partners (students, faculty, staff) share in status as co-educators
  • Integration of academic and practical knowledge
  • Time depth for multi-year capacity building (multi-year relationship between campus partners and community partners)
  • Development of student participants through the identification of challenges that meet their intellectual, academic and skill level.
  • Scaffolded (sequenced) projects that evolve over multiple semesters or years
  • Team -based learning in which  students and community work together to maximize learning, collaboration, and leadership
  • Reflection on the community context, broader implications, and student learning
  • Mentors who coach and guide the process through dialogue
  • Learning opportunities that are clear, collaborative, and well defined through outcomes
  • Focused around Capacity Building needs of the community partners
  • Use of Evidence-based Models for community engagement and assessment of student learning
  • Assessed for evidence of student learning and community impact

2014-2015 High Impact Community Engagement Practices

November is High Impact Practices Month:  Please go to "Our Programs" section of this site and  browse our Workshops, Webinars, and Speakers during the month of November.

Our culminating event will be a style meet and greet between Community Partners and Campus Partners so that each can begin to establish relationships for the following academic year.  Keep your eyes pealed for details. 

Instructor and student looking at a skeleton

Student in art class