High Impact Learning FAQs

Q: What is high impact learning?

A: High impact learning engages students in experiential opportunities off campus with partnering organizations and businesses. In this way students apply what they are learning in the classroom in practical settings that develop professional skill sets while positively impacting the community.


Q: What is service learning and whom should I contact about service learning opportunities?

A: Service learning is a pedagogy that combines academic curriculum with meaningful service, which enhances learning through reflection.


Q: What is community service and whom should I contact about a community service opportunity?

A: Community service is when students engage in volunteer experiences that benefit our local community.


Q: How could I gain an off campus community service federal work study position?

A: We have a number of federal work study positions at partnering organizations. To view all available positions follow this link: https://campus.plymouth.edu/cbcp/high-impact-learning/high-impact-learning-opportunities/.


Q: How could I get involved in service trips?

A: The center facilitates both domestic and international service trips during winterim and spring break.


Q: I have an idea for a high impact learning project, but I am not sure how to get started. Who should I contact for help?

A: The center would be happy to assist you in developing your project idea and connecting you to the appropriate off campus partners. To learn more please contact


Q: What types of high impact learning experiences does PSU facilitate?

A: Below is a list of definitions of terms regularly associated with high impact learning at PSU.

Co-curricular Student Engagement: “activities, programs, and learning experiences that complement, in some way, what students are learning in school – i.e., experiences that are connected to or mirror the academic curriculum” (Great School Partnership, 2013).

Community Engagement: Collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity (Campus Compact for New Hampshire, 2017).

Community Partners: Encompassing for-profit, non-profit, and community based organizations partnering with PSU both within the geographical region and beyond.

Civic Engagement: Individual and collective actions designed to identify and address issues of public concern. Civic engagement can take many forms, from individual volunteerism to organizational involvement to electoral participation. It can include efforts to directly address an issue, work with others in a community to solved a problem or interact with the institutions of representative democracy (Campus Compact for New Hampshire, 2017).

High Impact Learning: “High impact learning engages students in experiential opportunities off campus with partnering organizations and businesses. In this way students apply what they are learning in the classroom in practical settings that develop professional skill sets while positively impacting the community” (Center for Business and Community Partnerships, 2016).

Integrated Clusters: “Flexible and inclusive, team-based, multidisciplinary structures that encompass faculty, centers and departments, as well as outside partners in the community (including other universities) and are defined by a common theme or broad focus area inspired by a major 21st century challenge” (Birx, Anderson-Fletcher & Whitney, 2013, p. 12).

Open Laboratories: “physical or virtual spaces that support engagement in integrated clusters, whether brainstorming, designing, or coming together to think, innovate, create, and engage across multiple disciplines” (Birx & Holba, 2016).

Service-learning: A teaching pedagogy that combines student engagement in experiential activities that address community needs, with robust reflection tied to learning outcomes (Jacoby & Howard, 2015).


References and Additional Resources:

Battistoni, R., & Longo, N. (2005). Connecting workforce development and civic engagement: Higher education as public good and private gain. Public Policy Institute, North Shore Community College.

Battistoni, R. M. (2002). Civic Engagement Across the Curriculum: A Resource Book for Service-Learning Faculty in All Disciplines. Campus Compact.

Birx, D., Anderson-Fletcher, E., Whitney, E. (2013). Growing an emerging research university. The Journal of Research Administration. 44(1), 11-34.

Birx, D. L., & Holba, A. M. (2016). Changing Pathways in Higher Education: Integration, Project-Based Learning, and STEAM. The New Hampshire Journal of Education. Retrieved from http://nhje.plymouth.edu/?article=changing-pathways-in-higher-education-integration-project-based-learning-and-steam

Campus Compact. (2015). Annual membership survey results. 

Campus Compact for New Hampshire. (2017). Definitions. Retrieved from http://www.compactnh.org/resources/campus-compact-definitions/.

Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (2015). CAS professional standards for higher education (9th ed.). Washington, DC

Center for Business and Community Partnerships. (2016). Retrieved July 09, 2017, from https://www.plymouth.edu/center-for-business-and-community-partnerships/high-impact-learning/high-impact-learning-faqs/

Clayton, P. H., Bringle, R. G., & Hatcher, J. A. (Eds.). (2013). Research on Service Learning: Conceptual Frameworks and Assessments. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

Colby, A., Beaumont, E., Ehrlich, T., & Corngold, J. (2007). Educating for democracy: Preparing undergraduates for responsible political engagement. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Cress, C. M., Collier, P. J., & Reitenauer, V. L. (2013). Learning Through Serving: A Student Guidebook for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Across Academic Disciplines and Cultural Communities (2nd edition). Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

Ehrlich, T. (2000). Civic responsibility and higher education. Westport, CT: American Council on Education and the Oryx Press.

Eyler, J., & Giles, D. (1999). Where’s the learning in service-learning? San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Finley, A. (2011). Civic learning and democratic engagements: A review of the literature on civic engagement in post-secondary education. United States Department of Education.

Great Schools Partnership. (2013). The glossary of education reform: For journalists, parents, and community members. Retrieved from http://edglossary.org/co-curricular/.

Jacoby, B. (2009). Civic Engagement in Higher Education: Concepts and Practices. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Jacoby, B., & Howard, J. (2015). Service-learning essentials: Questions, answers, and lessons learned. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.

National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement. (2012). A crucible moment: College learning and democracy’s future. Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Office of the President. (2006-17). Retrieved July 09, 2017, from https://www.plymouth.edu/office/president/institutional-mission/

Sponsler, L. E., & Hartley, M. (2013). Five things student affairs professionals can do to institutionalize civic engagement. Washington, DC: NASPA Research and Policy Institute.


For more information please contact Jessica Dutille at (603)-535-2372, jadutille@plymouth.edu or Casey Krafton at (603)-535-3274, cakrafton@plymouth.edu.