Banner image

High Impact Educational Experiences

What Is a HIEE?

High Impact Educational Experiences promote student learning through curricular and co-curricular activities that are intentionally designed to foster active and integrative student engagement by utilizing multiple impact strategies.

Key Elements of HIEE: Impact Strategies

Research on good college teaching and learning (Chickering and Gamson, 1987; Ewell and Jones, 1996; Kuh and O’Donnell, 2014) has established that high impact learning experiences allow students to personally invest themselves, develop meaningful relationships with peers/faculty/staff through collaborative work, receive frequent feedback, actively pose and solve problems, experience real world applications of knowledge, reflect on their learning processes, disseminate what they have learned, interact with others who are not like themselves, and feel challenged to meet appropriately high levels of performance.

These key elements of high impact educational experiences (Kuh and O’Donnell, 2014) are what we are calling impact strategies. Incorporating the following into learning activities will amplify the impact of the experience on the students’ learning:

  1. Performance expectations set at appropriately high levels (Performance Expectations)
  2. Significant investment of time and effort by students over an extended period of time (Personal Investment)
  3. Interactions with faculty, staff and peers about substantive matters (Meaningful Interactions)
  4. Experiences with diversity wherein students are exposed to and must contend with people and circumstances that differ from those which students are familiar (Diverse and Inclusive Experiences)
  5. Frequent, timely, and constructive feedback (Quality Feedback)
  6. Periodic, structured opportunities to reflect and integrate learning (Opportunities to Reflect and Integrate Learning)
  7. Opportunities to discover relevance of learning through real-world applications or through real-world/authentic experiences (Practical Application)
  8. Public dissemination of learning experience (Demonstration of Competence)


HIEE Taxonomy Instructional Tool

The HIEE taxonomy is a tool to help educators reflect on their teaching inside and outside the classroom. It is NOT meant to serve as a grading rubric for student work.  Rather, this taxonomy is an instructional tool meant to encourage educators to thoughtfully consider and cultivate the impactfulness of each engagement opportunity.

Examples of How to Apply the Tool

Example: CAPES!

CAPES! is a skill development program for children with developmental disabilities and WSU pre-service teachers. View the video to learn how Dr. James Zagrodnik and Dr. Natalie Williams apply the HIEE Taxonomy to the CAPES! program.

Example: Undergraduate Research & Creative Endeavors

High Impact Programs, like the Office of Undergraduate Research, provide support for students engaged in research, scholarly, and creative endeavors.  Watch the video to learn how to apply the HIEE Taxonomy to undergraduate research and creative endeavors.


Training Opportunities on HIEEs

Each year, the Teaching and Learning Forum facilitates numerous Communities of Practice (COP) on different high impact educational experiences.  The community of practice provides a supportive environment to a small group of faculty and staff who want to explore and experiment with various teaching methods.  Go to the Teaching and Learning Forum's COP site to learn more and sign up.

Additionally, we've launched a new program to help faculty and staff learn more about high impact strategies and how to incorporate them into their courses or programs. The program breaks up each impact strategy from the HIEE taxonomy into eight training modules.

The modules are available on Bridge, and can be completed at your own pace. Each module includes information about each impact strategy, its three levels and activities to help you integrate the strategy into current or new programs.

Register for a module

HIEE Centers/Offices at WSU

Weber State University faculty and staff provide students with numerous high impact educational experiences.  Listed below are some of those HIEEs and the corresponding office or center that can help you get engaged with a particular HIEE.



Proactive Advising
Internship (INT)
Community Engaged Learning (CEL)
First Year Experience Class (FYE)
First Year Experience Program
Honors Class (HNRS)
Honors Program
International Experiences
Study Abroad Program
Undergraduate Research (CRE)
Office of Undergraduate Research
Peer Mentor
Peer Mentoring Programs
Leadership Experience
Student Involvement and Leadership
Supplemental Instructor
Supplemental Instruction Program
Sustainability Class (SUS)
Sustainability Practices and Research Center (SPARC)
Project-based Learning
Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) Program

For more information, please contact the Student Success Engagement Committee Co-chairs:

Brenda Marsteller Kowalewski
Associate Provost for High Impact Programs and Faculty Development
MA 317B

Jeff Hurst
Dean of Students
MA 317A