Maximizing High-Impact Practices in an Environmental Design Curriculum – An Introductory Study


The Environmental Design (ENVD) program at Auburn University is a multidisciplinary program designed to solve twenty-first century problems. The curriculum focuses on the built environment, while placing an emphasis on “systems thinking” which focuses on how the parts of the whole interact. Students can personalize their projects based on their individual interests and create conceptual solutions to the problems studied. While the degree is a broad exposure to design disciplines, the individuality of this major allows it to stand out amongst related majors within the College of Architecture, Design and Construction at Auburn University. The ENVD program has followed the university strategic plan to elevate the student experience through high-impact practices. The study focused on high-impact practices currently measured by Auburn University including e-portfolios, internships, co-ops, undergraduate research, and study abroad. The study also evaluated and categorized student- given data regarding peak student moments. These peak moments potentially represent additional high-impact practices to be experienced. Results indicated students participated in an average of just over one high-impact practice during their time in the ENVD program. Peak moment data indicated specific additional opportunities in mentorship, empathy and diversity, and additional project-based learning. If a curriculum model could be created that highlighted specific opportunities for high-impact practices, students may be encouraged to complete additional high-impact practices during their academic studies. In addition, the ENVD program could expand high-impact practices by better conveying the value and importance of these as students begin their academic studies.

Author Information
Ana Marie Hanger, Auburn University, United States
C. Ben Farrow, Auburn University, United States
Tom Leathem, Auburn University, United States
Eric M. Wetzel, Auburn University, United States

Paper Information
Conference: IICE2023
Stream: Learning Experiences

This paper is part of the IICE2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Hanger A., Farrow C., Leathem T., & Wetzel E. (2023) Maximizing High-Impact Practices in an Environmental Design Curriculum – An Introductory Study ISSN: 2189-1036 – The IAFOR International Conference on Education – Hawaii 2023 Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon