QEP is HIP: A Case Study Implementing an Institution-wide Undergraduate Research Community of Practice for a Small, Private College Setting

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Melissa Tingle
Julia Schmitz
Perry Rettig

Abstract

Piedmont College’s quality enhancement plan (QEP) emphasizes a developmental and progressive integration of high-impact practices (HIPs) into the academic and social fabric of the institution. The QEP is HIP initiative provides students with multiple opportunities to deepen learning and leadership skills, which leads to improvements in student success, persistence, and retention. However, the institution grappled with how to effectively engage students in effective, meaningful research-based experiences. During the 2nd year of its QEP implementation, a campus-wide undergraduate research symposium was launched to showcase students’ research and creative inquiry in an effort to (a) gain full institutional participation in this crucial HIP and (b) offer the underserved student population (defined as ethnic minority, Pell-eligible, and first-generation students) an opportunity to participate in professional socialization and experience faculty mentorship. This case study shows the initial influences of this HIP on student success (in terms of grade point average [GPA]), students’ perceptions of their own learning, students’ persistence (measured with the Grit Scale), and retention from the 2018–2019 to the 2019–2020 academic year. Specifically, this study compared students who presented their research at the undergraduate research symposium to students who did not. While the immediate influence of this HIP on student persistence/perseverance (grit scores) remains undetermined, the retention rates and GPA appear to have been higher for students who presented, in both the dominant and underserved populations. Furthermore, students reported an increase in perceptions of their own learning. These findings are significant and affirm that undergraduate research communities can be considered a HIP for students, including those of underserved populations.

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How to Cite
Tingle, M., Schmitz, J., & Rettig, P. (2021). QEP is HIP: A Case Study Implementing an Institution-wide Undergraduate Research Community of Practice for a Small, Private College Setting. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 21(1). Retrieved from https://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/josotl/article/view/30359
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