The Center for Teaching Excellence is dedicated to highlighting and broadcasting good teaching practices here at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. So many of the things that make the IUP experience great for students occurs through teaching techniques and activities called High Impact Educational Practices.

High Impact Practices are experiences or instructional methods that help to increase student engagement and support student success overall by improving retention and completion rates.

High Impact Practices include: First-Year Experiences, Common Intellectual Experiences, Learning Communities, Writing-Intensive Courses, Collaborative Assignments and Projects, Undergraduate Research, Diversity/Global Learning, ePortfolios, Service Learning and Community-Based Learning, Internships, and Capstone Courses and Projects.

The Center for Teaching Excellence is pleased to release this video highlighting the IUP String Project, directed by Linda Jennings, associate professor in the Department of Music. This video showcases great teaching practice that integrates service learning for exceptional instruction and experiential educational opportunities for IUP students.

Since 2004, the IUP String Project continues to provide a community string music education outreach program for the Indiana area as well as a unique teacher training program for IUP music students. As part of the National String Project Consortium, the IUP String Project supports national initiatives in string music education of mentoring future string teachers and providing more opportunities for young string musicians to grow through music. The video tells the story of the IUP String Project. A special thanks to Sarah Everett and Stephanie Taylor-Davis for making this video possible.

Field-based “experiential learning” with community partners is an instructional strategy—and is often a required part of the course. Giving students direct experience with issues they are studying in the curriculum and pairing these ongoing efforts to analyze and solve problems in the community allows students to both apply what they are learning in real-world settings and reflect in a classroom setting on their service experiences. These programs model the idea that giving something back to the community is an important college outcome, and that working with community partners is good preparation for citizenship, work, and life.

In whatever form, service learning is a High Impact Practice. Development and implementation of service learning takes a substantial amount of planning and communication among faculty, students, and campus partnerships/communities, but the high impact for students, faculty, and community partners is rewarding for all.

IUP's Office of Service Learning promotes excellence in professional and personal character development through experiential learning opportunities that bridge the curriculum with community service. Service learning opportunities for students are supported by a variety of units and departments across campus.