Mapping Assets: High Impact Practices and the First Year Experience

  • Shelly Wismath Liberal Education Program, University of Lethbridge Lethbridge Alberta T1K 3M4
  • Jan Newberry Anthropology Dept., University of Lethbridge Lethbridge Alberta T1K 3M4
Keywords: First Year Experience, High Impact Educational Practices, Group Work, Transition to University, Retention from First to Second Year


This paper describes a course called The First Year Experience: Mapping our Communities designed around a theme of asset mapping, which allowed us to organically integrate a number of pedagogical goals with a number of high-impact practices. The mapping metaphor extended from physical mapping of the university campus as a space to the mapping of  academic and social resources, including mapping of the students’ sense of self and goals, their new environment and all the assets available to help them succeed. The theme of asset mapping also encompassed different world views and the concepts of perspective and positionality to provide students with a critical perspective on their own understanding and its limits. Our research assesses the success of this course at meeting its many intertwined goals, based on both quantitative and qualitative data collected from students in two recent course offerings.

Author Biographies

Shelly Wismath, Liberal Education Program, University of Lethbridge Lethbridge Alberta T1K 3M4
I am a Professor of Mathematics, and teach in the Liberal Education Program at the University of Lethbridge. I serve as Chair of the Liberal Education Revitalization Team.
Jan Newberry, Anthropology Dept., University of Lethbridge Lethbridge Alberta T1K 3M4
I am an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Lethbridge, and a member of the Libera Education Revitalization Team.


Barr, R, and J. Tagg (1995). From teaching to learning: A new paradigm for Undergraduate Education. Change, November--December, 13-25.

Brown, A. L. (1987). Metacognition, executive control, self-regulation, and other more mysterious mechanisms. In F. E. Weinert & R. H. Kluwe (Eds.), Metacognition, motivation, and understanding (pp. 65-116). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Bruffee, K.A (1995). Sharing Our Toys: Cooperative Learning versus Collaborative Learning Kenneth A. Bruffee, Change, Vol. 27, No. 1, Jan. - Feb., 1 – 19.

Bruffee, K. A. (1984). Collaborative learning and the “conversation of mankind.” College English, 46(7), 535-552.

Bruffee, K. A. (1993). Collaborative learning: Higher education, interdependence, and the authority of knowledge. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Flavell, J.H. (1979). Metacognition and cognitive monitoring: A new area of cognitive-developmental inquiry. American Psychologist, 34(10), 906 – 911.

Flavell, J. H. (1987). Speculations about the nature and development of metacognition. In F. E Weinert & R. H. Kluwe (Eds.), Metacognition, motivation and understanding (pp. 21-29). Hillside, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Fleming, N. & Mills, C. (1987). Not another inventory, rather a catalyst for reflection. In, D. Wulff & J. Nyquist (Eds.) To Improve the Academy, Vol. 11, pp. 137-155.

Gregorc, A.F. (1979). Learning/teaching styles: Their nature and effects. In J. W. Keefe (Ed.) Student Learning Styles: Diagnosing And Prescribing Programs. Reston, VA: National Association of Secondary School Principals. 19-26.

Kretzmann, J. P., J. McKnight, and D. Puntenney. (2005). Discovering community power: A guide to mobilizing local assets and your organization's capacity. Evanston, IL: Asset-Based Community Development Institute, School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University.

Kuh, G. D, Kinzie, J., Schuh, J. H., &, Whitt, E. J. (2005). Student Success in College: Creating Conditions that Matter. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Kuh, G. D. (Ed.) (2000). The NSSE 2000 Report: National Benchmarks of Effective Educational Practice. National Survey of Student Engagement: The College Student Report.

Kuh, George D (2008). High-Impact Educational Practices: What They Are, Who Has Access to Them, and Why They Matter, American Association of Colleges and Universities.
Accessed at July 16, 2015.

National Survey of Student Engagement (2012). Promoting Student Learning and Institutional Improvement: Lessons from NSSE at 13. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research.

Pintrich, P. R. (2002). The role of metacognitive knowledge in learning, teaching, and assessing. Theory Into Practice, 41(4), 219-225.

Sen, A. (1993). Capability and well being. In M. Nussbaum and A. Sen (Eds.) The quality of life (pp. 30-53). Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Slavin, R.E. (1990). Cooperative learning: Theory, research and practice. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Smith, R. (2011) Bioregionalism. In. C.W. Allin (Ed.). Encyclopedia of environmental issues, (pp. 164-165). Pasadena, CA: Salem Press.

Sternberg, Robert J. (1998) “Metacognition, abilities, and developing expertise: What makes an expert student?." Instructional science 26.1-2 (1998): 127-140.

Tinto, V. (n.d.). Taking Student Success Seriously: Rethinking the First Year of College. Retrieved August 18, 2015 from

Vaughan, N. D. (2010). A Blended community of inquiry approach: Linking student engagement and course redesign. Internet and Higher Education, 13, 60-65.

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design (expanded 2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
How to Cite
Wismath, S., & Newberry, J. (2019). Mapping Assets: High Impact Practices and the First Year Experience. Teaching & Learning Inquiry, 7(1), 34-54.