We were asked today to consider: what activity, experience, or pedagogy is not currently considered a High Impact Practice (HIP), but should be? In the five minutes we had to free-write, I thought about independent majors.
If the characterizing features of a HIP are strong and intentional relationships, integrative learning, and dedicated time, my independent major process definitely fit the bill.
In case you didn’t know: I was an independent major. In my first three semesters of college, I came to some deep, driving questions about classroom practice, identity, hierarchy, equity, and teaching and learning. As I struggled to fit my niche interests into an established major, I kept coming back to a single possibility: what if I designed the interdisciplinary space I need for myself?
With some strong mentorship and support, I reflected deeply on my experiences and drafted a narrative explaining my academic development and path. If the characterizing features of a HIP are strong and intentional relationships, integrative learning, and dedicated time, my independent major process definitely fit the bill. I worked with my advisors to self-author my academic experience. With their support, I made meaning of the big questions that drive me, and the wide range of courses and co-curricular activities that helped me answer those questions.
My independent major continues to influence how I make sense of my academic identity. I majored in “Educational Identity and Empowering Pedagogy” and every major life-decision I’ve made since declaring an undergraduate major back in early 2013 refers back to that degree.
So could this be a HIP?