High Impact Practices: AASCU grant winners named

4th January 2018

By Steven Krolak

(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)—Ten IU Southeast faculty members have each received a $1,000 stipend to support the use of high impact practices (HIPs) in their courses during the Spring 2018 semester.

The awards allocate a grant from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) to fund development and implementation of HIPs in first-year courses, where they have been shown to contribute markedly to student success and persistence.

Examples of HIPs in use at IU Southeast include learning communities, collaborative assignments, service learning opportunities, internships and capstones.

IU Southeast is one of only 20 institutions to receive this support, part of a larger $1.1 million award to AASCU by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to further the association’s Re-Imagining the First Year of College (RFY) project funded by the Gates Foundation and USA Funds.

IU Southeast is one of 44 institutions nationwide engaging in this project, whose purpose is to ensure success for all students, particularly those who have historically been underserved by higher education.

To be selected, instructors who teach first-year students submitted proposals to a three-person multi-disciplinary committee for review. The ten strongest were selected according to primary criteria that included the clarity of goals, the appropriateness of the HIP to the class objectives and the viability of assessment.

The selected instructors will receive support from ILTE and faculty colleagues with experience in the use of HIPs. At the end of the spring 2018 semester, the instructors will create a report that describes their HIP and how it unfolded in their classroom. The reports will form the basis for a workshop on May 8 that will allow other interested faculty members to benefit from the project.

The winners are:


Christopher J. Kimmer, Associate Professor of Informatics

Dr. Kimmer will enhance instruction in a freshman-level online Programming and Databases course (INFO-C112).  He will use several collaborative assignments to augment peer interaction between students throughout the semester.


Jean Abshire, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies

Dr. Abshire will implement a high impact practice in Introduction to International Relations (POLS-Y109).  She has designed a series of collaborative assignments that lead up to a culminating event at which students participate in a Model United Nations Security Council simulation relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This semester-long project, grounded in and amplifying standard course content, requires sustained collaboration between students with the goal of enhancing global learning.


Jean Abshire, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies

Combining global learning with the creation of a poster presentation, Dr. Abshire will implement a Courageous Choices project in her First Year Seminar class (COAS-S104). Students will research a globally diverse set of cases in which common people choose to work against discrimination, human rights violations, or other forms of significant injustice. They will create posters to be shared with the campus campus community.


Suprana Mukhopadhyay, Lecturer of Biology

Dr. Mukhopadhyay will use a fish collection from Blue River, Indiana, housed at IU Southeast in her Introductory Biology course (BIOL-L102). She will engage students in a collaborative research assignment using existing databases to find information on the current ecological distribution, phylogeny and taxonomy of these specimens. Findings will be submitted into a database using GoogleDocs. Any significant findings will be made available through the Urban Ecology Research link on the IU Southeast Biology page, or will be published.​


Beth Rueschhoff, Associate Professor in Biology

Dr. Rueschhoff will implement a high impact practice in her Introduction to Biology course (BIO-L101). She will develop several collaborative assignments and projects that build upon students’ skills first attained in First Year Seminar. In addition, this course will focus on developing students’ scientific writing skills using collaborative assignments.


Margot Morgan, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies

Dr. Morgan will be integrate DigiPo (Digital Polarization Initiative), a tool designed by AASCU’s American Democracy Project, into her Introduction to American Politics course (POLY-Y103). DigiPo gives students the means to assess the accuracy of Internet rumors. During the course of the semester, students will develop their literacy and publish a wiki page for a particular fact they have chosen.


Margot Morgan, Assistant Professor of Political Science

Dr. Morgan will incorporate a mock trial into her Introduction to Political Theory class (POLS-Y105). As part of the class, students will read the first book of Plato’s Republic and Aeschylus’ play the Oresteia. This play juxtaposes two very different systems of justice and explores the implications for democracy that each presents. Students will work on a collaborative project where they enact the roles of the characters in the play. The students must use evidence from the text to make their arguments as to the guilt or innocence of Orestes.  The trial is an example of a collaborative assignment/project.


Kagna Ouch Sampson, Lecturer of Chemistry

Dr. Sampson will enhance her Principles of Chemistry course (CHEM-C105) using collaborative projects to amplify students’ understanding of chemistry. Specific projects require students to apply concepts to the real world while working together to develop an idea which culminates in a written paper and a short group presentation on their work (e.g., create solutions to produce conductivity to create light).


Quinn Dauer, Assistant Professor of History and International Studies

Dr. Dauer will implement diversity and global learning and enhancing student literacy practices in his Issues in Latin American History course. His course will require students to learn the process of thinking critically about information. Using DigiPo (Digital Polarization Initiative), a tool designed by AASCU’s American Democracy Project, students will create wiki pages that assess the accuracy of assertions often found on the Internet. Students will complete a semester-long research and writing project on a question relevant to Latin America.


Rebekah Dement Farmer, Adjunct Instructor, Honors Program

Dr. Dement Farmer will implement a writing intensive project grounded in undergraduate research for her students in the Honors Seminar course (HON-H104). Students in this class will collaborate in the research process to develop a year-long independently selected research project that culminates in a final paper, to be published using an interactive pressbook presentation.


“Faculty play a key role in student retention,” said Dr. Donna Dahlgren, dean of student success and persistence. “These faculty who won a high impact practice grant are clearly deeply engaged with teaching in the most effective way by designing a classroom that grabs their students’ attention.”

Keep an eye out for the High Impact Workshop on May 8, 2018, where these faculty members will share the outcomes of their projects in a campus event that celebrates high impact practices and student success.

Homepage photo: Management students engage in a collaborative problem-solving exercise, an example of a high-impact practice.

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