Bellarmine chosen for national Institute on High-Impact Practices

May 26, 2021

Logo for Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU)

Bellarmine University is one of 61 colleges and universities—and the only one from Kentucky—selected to participate in the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)’s 2021 Institute on High-Impact Practices and Student Success, to be held virtually from June 15-18.

The Institute is designed to help universities reach their goals of quality education, equity and student engagement through teaching and learning practices widely known as “high-impact practices,” or HIPs. These practices include learning communities, undergraduate research, service-learning opportunities and more.

“Evidence-based research tells us that students who participate in high-impact practices such as internships, collaborative assignments, community engagement, and first-year seminars experience far-reaching benefits that include enhanced academic performance and holistic development,” said Dr. Helen-Grace Ryan, Bellarmine’s vice president for Student Affairs.

Ryan will attend the AAC&U’s Institute along with Dr. Kathryn West, professor of English and chair of the Liberal Education Taskforce (LET)’s First-Year Experience Subcommittee; Dr. Joy Jacobs-Lawson, associate professor of Psychology and co-chair of the LET; Dr. Kristen Wallitsch, dean of Student Success & International Programs; Lory King, associate dean of Academic Advising; Dr. Lilly Massa-McKinley, assistant vice president for Career Development and Strategic Partnerships; Stephanie Reilly, executive director of the Alumni Association; and Jessica Lynch, director of Orientation, New Student and Family Programs.

During the Institute, each participating team will work with leading experts and practitioners to develop or deepen practices that support student engagement. Teams will also strengthen the ways they assess learning outcomes from HIPs, so they can work to improve these outcomes for all students.

A key goal of Bellarmine’s strategic plan is to provide a distinctive and highly personalized educational experience for every student. The university provides five learning communities for first-year students, as well as the Pioneer Scholars program for incoming first-generation students; offers a wide range of service-learning opportunities and study abroad experiences; encourages undergraduate research; and guarantees every student an internship opportunity.

“Participation in the Institute will advance our already robust Bellarmine student experience, considering innovative ways to further weave HIPs throughout the curriculum and co-curriculum,” Ryan said. “Ultimately, our goal is to provide a transformative student experience that bolsters our students’ lifelong success.”

The AAC&U, which advances the vitality and public standing of liberal arts education, comprises more than 1,000 member institutions, including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities and comprehensive universities of every type and size.


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