Taking High-Impact Practices to Scale in Capstone and Peer Mentor Programs, and Revising University Studies' Diversity Learning Goal

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The Journal of General Education

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University Studies, Portland State University's general education program, is now more than twenty years old; its leaders frequently answer questions from other higher education institutions regarding how the program takes high-impact practices to scale. In this article, three program leaders detail how University Studies' Peer Mentor and Senior Capstone Programs and one recently revised diversity learning goal demonstrate the opportunities and challenges of taking high-impact practices to scale. This article used published assessments of the program, experiences by current program leaders, and interviews from faculty members and peer mentors. Overall, the coauthors conclude that three dynamic qualities contribute to a scaling up of its programs and curricular initiatives: (1) focus on University Studies' aspirational goals; (2) interplay between scaling up and scaling inward—acknowledging the agency of its teaching and learning community to address challenges and effect change; and (3) collaborative and engaged leadership. These findings suggest that, contrary to notions that running a program of this scale only addresses budgets and staffing needs, University Studies adapts to change because it built a dynamic and aspirational framework across its general education program.


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