Teaching and Learning Workshop at the 2019 Annual Science Atlantic Leadership Meetings

Workshop: High Impact Practices (HIPs) – how might we better adapt and integrate these in the sciences?

November 16, 2019, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS

Led by Anne Marie Ryan, Dalhousie University Teaching Fellow in Earth and Environmental Sciences, 3M National Teaching Fellow, and Faculty Associate, Dalhousie Centre for Learning and Teaching

Workshop Summary

In recent years, research has identified a number of teaching practices in higher education that engage students in deeper approaches to learning. These high impact practices (HIPs) allow a diverse population of students to experience a positive and effective undergraduate education (American Association for the Advancement of Science). Among these teaching and learning approaches are first-year seminars, capstone courses, service learning, undergraduate research, internships, and international experiences, yet scaling any of these for all students can be difficult, especially in the sciences, where funding issues and larger classes are considerations, particularly in the early undergraduate years. Why these approaches are considered high impact practices is outlined by Kuh (2013), and these considerations suggest that there are a number of other ways in which we might adapt the teaching and learning environment to provide such an enriched experience for all students throughout their undergraduate years. This workshop aims to highlight significant criteria for integrating these approaches into our teaching in the sciences, allowing time for engaging in possibilities, and time for conversation around the potential impact, as well as the possible pitfalls, of such innovative approaches.


Anne Marie Ryan is a 3M National Teaching Fellow and a faculty member in the department of earth and environmental sciences at Dalhousie University. Anne Marie completed her PhD in earth sciences at Dalhousie University, following an undergraduate degree in her native Ireland, and masters degrees as Acadia (science) and Mount Saint Vincent (education). She currently teaches courses across the undergraduate years in introductory geology, environmental geoscience, and in science education, as well as science leadership to senior undergraduates. She has taught or co-taught studio courses and workshops in Topics in Science Teaching and Learning and is a frequent workshop facilitator and presenter at education conferences locally and internationally. Anne Marie’s research focus is twofold: in the field of higher education, her focus is on geoscience and science education more broadly, with current projects in science and humanity, threshold concepts, and the contrast between novice and expert reading and working with geologic maps and other visual representations, using eye-tracking. In environmental geochemistry, her most recent focus is on metals in urban soils, commonly working with honours students and her fourth year environmental geoscience students on a variety of projects in the field.

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