Piedmont College is about to show off its “HIPs”

CAMMIE BAGLEY Executive Director & News Editor

As the college goes through its reaccreditation process, campus administrators will begin promoting “High Impact Practices” – HIPs – that students partake in during their time at Piedmont.

Every 10 years, colleges that are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS/COC) must go through a reaffirmation process to be sure that they are meeting accreditation standards. Piedmont will be evaluated by SACS representatives March 27-29.

Director of Institutional Effectiveness Vickie Turner said that during this visit, evaluators will be conducting interviews and reviewing college data to ensure the college is meeting SACS standards, including the effectiveness of Piedmont’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).

The QEP must focus on undergraduate learning or the support of undergraduate learning for both the Demorest and Athens campuses, Vice President for Academic Affairs Perry Rettig said. After collecting feedback from students and faculty over the past couple years, the college selected a proposal for “High Impact Practices” (HIP) as part of their QEP.

“Many students are already participating in one or more high impact practices and don’t realize it,” Rettig said. “Experiences that go beyond the traditional classroom may be HIPs, including internships, leadership, study abroad, and undergraduate research.”

HIP practices are meant to engage students in deeper learning experiences both inside and outside the classroom, and is based upon research from the American Association of Colleges and Universities. HIP within the classroom includes learning communities, collaborative learning and undergraduate research.

Outside the classroom HIP includes service learning, leadership, an internship and the study abroad program. Rettig said that HIPs can have an impact on a student’s educational experience that lasts forever.

“Ten years from now a student may not remember a particular lecture from their foreign language class, but they will remember their experience they had speaking that language in the native country,” he said.

The Campus Activities Board and the Student Government Association are planning activities in the coming weeks to help get the word out about HIP. During the week of Feb. 6, CAB is hosting “Spirit Week,” which will include a scavenger hunt that involves students taking photos of themselves while participating in a high impact practice.

“I want students to get their money and time here and get everything out of their college experience,” said Rettig. “That’s what HIP can do for them.”