The University of Wisconsin System is one of four higher education systems nationwide to be awarded a two-year grant from the National Association of System Heads (NASH), an organization of the chief executives of 46 public colleges and university systems in the United States. The $150,000 grant will be used to advance the UW System’s work on making high-impact educational practices (HIPs) available to underrepresented minority, low-income, and first-generation students across the organization.
UW-Eau Claire, UW-Green Bay, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Parkside and UW-Whitewater will partner in an ongoing initiative to expand access to HIPs for underserved students, as well as design system-wide data collection processes for reporting student learning and student participation in HIPs.
“We are honored to be one of only a handful of institutions to be selected to champion this effort,” said UW System President Ray Cross. “The research clearly shows that involving students in high-impact practices has a positive and measurable effect on their long-term educational success, and this new grant will help us build upon our success.”
UW System institutions have been working to implement HIPs since shortly after their introduction to the higher education field in 2008. Through strategies such as first-year seminars, learning communities, service learning, research with faculty, internships and field experiences, study abroad, and culminating senior-year experiences, UW System institutions have taken a broad approach to promoting student success. The recent creation of an Office of Student Success is evidence of a structural and strategic commitment to supporting, retaining and graduating students.
Recent data attests to the success of these strategies. According to recent data drawn from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) in 2017, more than 85 percent of UW seniors reported engaging in at least one HIP during their time in college, while nearly 70 percent indicated having engaged in two or more HIPs.
Other NSSE data shows a need for work in key areas of student participation. For instance, 60 percent of UW seniors participated in service learning, and 23 percent reported engaging in a study abroad program. About one-third (27 percent) of all UW seniors took part in research with faculty.
In addition to the NASH Grant, the UW System will contribute $75,000 to cover costs associated with providing individualized support to the five partner institutions and to sustain efforts beyond the life of the grant. Other winners of NASH grants include the University System of Georgia, the Tennessee Board of Regents, and the Montana University System. The grants are funded by the Lumina Foundation.