Theoretical Framework

Three Pillars

Engagement I Planning I Reflection


Theoretical Foundations


Kuh’s List of High Impact Practices:

High-Impact Practices (HIPs) are practices that “demand considerable time and effort, facilitate learning outside of the classroom, require meaningful interactions with faculty and students, encourage collaboration with diverse others, and provide frequent and substantive feedback.” (1).


Astin’s Theory of Involvement:

“Student involvement refers to the amount of physical and psychological energy that the student devotes to the academic experience” (2, p. 297).


Pace’s Theory on Quality of Effort:

“Learning and development requires an investment of time and effort by the student. Time consists of how often a student engages in an activity(s), while effort consists of how fully or thoroughly the student delves into the activity” (3, p.2).




  1. “Engagement in educationally purposeful activities is positively related to academic outcomes (academic outcomes defined as grades and persistence from first to second year of college)” (4, p.593).

Academic Success

  1. “First-year students who reported more interactions with faculty (discussed ideas with faculty in and outside class, discussed grades, and career plans) earned a higher cumulative GPA. For seniors, high quality of relationships with faculty, staff, and students, higher levels of engagement in community service, and living on campus were significantly and positively associated with cumulative GPA” (4 ,p. 600).
  2.  “...a variety of activities including first-year seminars, service learning courses, and learning communities positively affect grades in both the first and last years of college…even after controlling for a host of precollege characteristics” (5, p. 555).


  1. “...students who devoted more time to studying, engaged in interactions with faculty in and out of class, and participated in community service reported higher satisfaction with their overall educational experience than those who spent less time on study, engaged in fewer interactions with faculty out of class, and participated less in community service, respectively” (4, p. 604).
  2. “...students who reported more frequent engagement in academic and social activities earned higher grades and reported higher levels of satisfaction with their college experience” (4, p. 604).

Personal Gains

  1. “...students in undergraduate research and other creative projects improve their critical thinking abilities, learn to work well with others, and show high satisfaction with their undergraduate experience” (4, p. 593).
  2. “...when students are prompted to intentionally reflect after engaging in a service experience, they reported a sense of personal effectiveness, increased awareness of the world, awareness of personal values, and an increased level of engagement, as measured by engagement in the classroom” (4, p. 594).
  3.  “...when students actively participate in curricular and co-curricular events, they make friends, become oriented to campus quickly, get to know faculty members, and make important gains in critical thinking” (4, p. 591).




  1. Kuh, G. D. (2008). High-impact educational practices: What they are, who has access to them, and why they matter. Report from the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
  2. Astin, A. W. (1984). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Development 25: 297–308
  3. Pace, C. R. (1982). Achievement and the quality of student effort. Paper presented at a Meeting of the National Commission on Excellence in Education, Washington, DC
  4. Webber, K. L., Krylow, R. B., & Zhang, Q. (2013). Does Involvement Really Matter? Indicators of College Student Success and Satisfaction. Journal of College Student Development, 54(6), 591-611. Retrieved from
  5. Kuh, G., Cruce, T., Shoup, R., Kinzie, J., & Gonyea, R. (2008). Unmasking the effects of student engagement on first-year college grades and persistence. Journal of Higher Education, 79(5), 540-563.