High Impact Practices

High Impact Practices (HIPs) Top of Page

Beginning in 2004, the UW-Superior Faculty Senate has endorsed six new Programs designed to further the campus public liberal arts mission.  Each Program has become part of the campus' commitment to providing students with a dynamic engaging learning experience. Each provides or directs activities on campus and in the community that prepare students for 21st century careers and life-long learning.

Academic Service-Learning (AS-L) Top of Page

Academic Service-Learning (AS-L) is community-based learning, embedded within a credit-bearing course, enhancing students' understanding of the course's learning objectives and of their sense of civic responsibility.

Courses with an AS-L designation will provide students an opportunity to have hands-on, real-world experiences by applying knowledge from the course while simultaneously meeting identified community needs. Research has shown that AS-L experiences provide students with a distinctive advantage for their career and/or graduate school preparation.  

During the 2017-18 academic year, 34 professors incorporated AS-L into 73 course sections. As such, there were 1,039 student experiences with 183 community partners. Students completed 28,125 hours of service; this had a direct economic impact of $675,000.

AS-L is a part of an even larger institutional commitment to community engagement that is directly connected to UW-Superior’s mission. UW-Superior is leveraging its strengths as an anchor institution—one in which community engagement is deeply ingrained, fully institutionalized and effectively taught and implemented. 

Senior Experience Top of Page

Each department has a required Senior Year Experience. SYE supports students' integration of their extensive college learning experiences and the deep knowledge of their major field of study. The SYE is a culminating experience and creates a capstone to the student's UW-Superior education.

Each student is required to share his or her Senior Experience work with the campus and wider community. These public presentations of Senior Experiences are uniquely designed by each discipline in accordance with expectations of the particular field of study and serve as a celebration of their achievements.

Undergraduate Research and Scholarship and Creative Activity (URSCA) Top of Page

The Center for URSCA promotes student involvement in a broad range of research and scholarly work beginning in their first year on campus. It is a natural fit with the other five High Impact Programs that engage students in taking responsibility for their learning and in finding interesting and dynamic means of applying. URSCA activities strengthen students' critical thinking, analysis, and problem solving abilities whether it is in science or literature, psychology or the arts. By learning these abilities in all sorts of courses across the curriculum students enter their Senior Capstone ready to take on their SYE project.

URSCA is involved in sending students and their research to Posters in the Rotunda (Madison), The UW System Wisconsin Symposium, and to other state and national conferences as funds allow. In collaboration with the UW Superior Foundation it coordinates the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program and every spring it holds a Day of Celebration of students' URSCA projects.

Writing Across the Curriculum Top of Page

In recognition of the key role writing plays in a liberal education, the Writing across the Curriculum Program aims to promote a culture of writing at UW-Superior.

To this end, it offers students the opportunity to seek a Certificate of Writing Excellence. For faculty and teaching staff, the program provides support through grants and brown-bag sessions for making student writing a meaningful part of courses and curricula. Finally, the program sponsors a variety of writing events on campus and beyond.

Certificate of Writing Excellence Top of Page

The Certificate of Writing Excellence Program at the University of Wisconsin-Superior enables students to attain and exhibit excellence in writing. The program is administered through the UW-Superior Writing across the Curriculum (WAC) Program.  The Writing across the Curriculum Coordinator advises certificate-seeking students concerning their progress toward fulfilling the requirements.

The certification is shown on students' transcripts and can be listed on their resumes, thus providing prospective graduate schools and employees with an indication of their level of attainment in an area--writing--that is important in these arenas.


  1. Application to the program prior to completion of 75 credits: Students are encouraged to apply early in their college careers but must apply prior to the completion of 75 credits. Students beyond 75 credits may petition for admission by submitting a descriptive and  well-supported written request to the Writing across the Curriculum (WAC) Coordinator.
  2. Successful completion of four writing-certificate-eligible (WCE)
    courses (at least two of which are upper-level courses), for a minimum
    of 12 credits, receiving a B or higher in each.
      One WRIT course at the 200-level or above can be included among the four courses; the rest must be writing-certificate-eligible courses, which will have prefixes other than WRIT or ESL.  No more than two of the four courses can have the same prefix. (View up-to-date list of WCE courses)
  3. Attendance at three (minimum) UW-Superior WAC-coordinated workshops. One must concern learning to construct the portfolio for the certificate; the others will concern how to improve one's writing.
  4. One specific project involving substantial use or study of writing beyond the classroom (academic service learning project, leadership role on campus, internship, completion of a digital storytelling project pertaining to writing, participation in writing events such as a writing workshop [excluding those for Requirement 3], a series of readings, a professional conference, etc.) The student's choice of project must be pre-approved by the WAC Coordinator.
  5. Successful completion of a portfolio of work, to include:
    1. One sample of the student's written work from each writing-certificate-eligible course, revised and improved upon beyond the draft graded for the course
    2. A copy of the work produced during the beyond-the-classroom project or proof of participation in a writing-specific event.
    3. A reflective essay on the experience/writing process of the beyond the classroom project.
    4. A reflective essay on the student's growth as a writer throughout his or her work on the writing for the certificate. This work will make direct reference to the written works included in the portfolio.

The portfolio must be approved by the WAC Coordinator in order for the student to receive the certificate.

Public presentation of the portfolio at the campus event showcasing WAC projects.

For more information on this certificate visit the Certificate of Writing Excellence webpage.