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High-Impact Practices (HIPs)

Common Intellectual Experiences

PPCC definition of CIEs:

Common Intellectual Experiences are shared learning experiences that support course curriculum and often integrate multidisciplinary themes.  


CIEs can be difficult to define because they can take many forms and they often overlap with multiple other HIPs, like First-Year Seminars, Learning Communities, and Collaborative Assignments & Projects. Thus, this HIP must refer to all other forms of CIEs than those.


Why CIEs Are Effective:

Because CIEs are shared by a cohort of students, faculty, and staff, they build community, interactive engagement, and co-learning, typically also involving negotiation of different views.


Of the “Eight Key Elements” that distinguish high-quality HIPs, they typically involve at least four:

  • Interaction with faculty and peers about substantive matters;
  • Experiences with diversity, wherein students are exposed to and must contend with people and circumstances that differ from those with which students are familiar;
  • Periodic, structured opportunities to reflect and integrate learning;
  • Opportunities to discover relevance of learning through real-world applications.

Additionally, CIEs promote critical thinking and complex problem solving, both in the experience and in the reflection about the experience.

Adapted from UC Denver

This video on Common Intellectual Experiences explains the value of this HIP in the context of a course designed specifically for all undergraduates.

"Certainly, Study Abroad in Costa Rica was a Common Intellectual Experience.  In the future we could formalize our relationship as staff/faculty/students with a common assignment that is completed by all of the students before or  during the trip.  When possible, each discipline/class could contribute their own expertise to the common activity.  The Communication class did a great job prepping the group for the trip this time; I'm sure in the future we could find different things for each class to do for group preparation prior to or common activities and/or assignments during the trip."

                                                                                                         --Cynthia Holling-Morris, Faculty Professional Photography  

A CIE may be a single event for a small cohort of students. Or, it may be designed specifically for students within a major. Or, it may be a large, integrated program that brings together many students and classes, and integrates learning across multiple disciplines and co-curriculum, with synthesis as a primary objective.

One form of CIE is a common reading program. It may be the simplest, in terms of the number of moving parts (one book), and the most inclusive: potentially everyone on a campus could participate. For example, Indiana University offers a Them-es-ter program, an umbrella of centrally funded and organized events, speakers, readings, etc. in which individual courses and programs may participate.


At Pikes Peak Community College, we have observed CIEs mostly functioning as a series of co-curricular events or experiences that support a theme for various courses.


Some examples of CIEs at PPCC could include classes or programs partnering with:

  • All Pikes Peak Reads--Dawn Bergacker, Jared Benson, and team 
    • Fall 2017 selection:Twilight: LA, 1992. Please email to request the Shortened Reader
  • The Housing and Food Task Force--Ann-Marie Manning, Tiko Hardy
  • Service Members Expressive Arts Program (SMEAP)--Laura Ben Amots, Gary Walker
  • The Global Village--Bruce McCluggage, Jaki Taggart, Amy Cornish
  • The Multicultural Awareness Conference--Kristina Charfauros, Keith Barnes, various faculty
  • Hidden Figures Steam Project initiative--Jacque Gaiters-Jordan and team
  • Parley--Gary Walker, Emily Forand
  • Study Abroad--Ruth Ann Larish, Cynthia Holling-Morris, Regina Lewis, Jo Ellen Becco


Visit Queensborough Community College as an example of a common reading program, like our All Pikes Peak Reads.



APPR Mission, Goals and SLOs


Create a common intellectual experience between PPCC students in different classes and programs, and also with community groups engaged in the local reading program, All Pikes Peak Reads (APPR).

Program goals:

Facilitate the integration of learning across multiple experiences.

Encourage reflection by students upon their learning.

Learning Outcomes:

Contest: Students should be able to articulate how participating in the APPR contest helped them integrate out-of-classroom learning with their classroom content.

Showcase of Talent event: Students should be able to reflect upon how participating in the APPR contest event helped them prepare for future challenges they will encounter in their careers.

HIPs Faculty Specialists are peer experts who are ready to assist fellow faculty to implement or improve high impact practices.

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