RESEARCH

Delivering on the Promise of High-Impact Practices

Research and Models for Achieving Equity, Fidelity, Impact, and Scale

The goal of Delivering on the Promise of High-Impact Practices is to provide examples from around the country of the ways educators are advancing equity, promoting fidelity, achieving scale, and strengthening assessment of their own local high-impact practices. Its chapters bring together the best current scholarship, methodologies, and evidence-based practices within the HIPs field, illustrating new approaches to faculty professional development, culture and coalition building, research and assessment, and continuous improvement that help institutions understand and extend practices with a demonstrated high impact.

Leading Improvements in Higher Education Podcast

Assessment Update article

Volume Index

Comprehensive Reference List (2022)

Research Statement


By training, I am a survey researcher who studies the engagement of college students and, in some cases, writes about learning analytics in higher education. Regarding student engagement, I have researched student participation in high-impact practices, the experiences of students with disabilities, and how institutional rankings relate to engagement (typically, there is no relation). As for learning analytics, I have edited a volume on how campuses incubate these technologies, written a definitive article on this subject for faculty, and used text mining technologies. Here I have described my research using the criteria required in the Binghamton University’s procedures for personnel case: importance, accomplishments, and trajectory.

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Recent Publications

Convergence Issues for Disability Measures at Public 2-Year Institutions

The purpose of this study is to demonstrate how triangulating responses from the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) with information from the federal Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) exposes data incongruency, specifically when considering the population of students with disabilities at 2-year institutions.

Read the article


The Mediating Effects of Student Services on Engagement Among First-Generation and Transfer Students Who Use Disability Services at Community Colleges

Using Community College Survey of Student Engagement data, the relationship between frequency of use of student services and engagement behaviors was measured for 7,441 students using disability services. Through structural equation modeling, mediation effects of use of services on engagement for first-generation and transfer students with disabilities at community colleges were measured for academic challenge, support for learners, and student-faculty interaction.

Read the article

Edited Volumes

Delivering on the Promise of High-Impact Practices (Stylus Publishing)

The purpose of this volume is to bring together the best current scholarship, methodologies, and

evidence-based practices within the HIPs field.

Read the chapter abstracts



Learning analytics in higher education. New Directions for Higher Education (Jossey-Bass) 

We conceptualized an issue that would inform campus leaders, faculty, and staff about the scope and type of activities and initiatives required to bring learning analytics to their campus. The goal of this volume is to introduce the reader to a basic understanding of learning analytics and the types of projects and initiatives that several leading practitioners have adopted and adapted, providing substantive examples of implementation, and expert learnings on some of the more nuanced issues related to this topic.

Read the volume


Most Cited Studies

Student Engagement and Student Learning: Examining the Convergent and Discriminant Validity of the Revised National Survey of Student Engagement

The objective of the research was to compare evidence of convergence and discrimination for the two versions of NSSE using canonical correlation analysis. Results indicated that both versions of NSSE provided clear evidence of convergence in that student engagement measures were significantly and positively related to perceived gains in learning.

Read the article



Revisiting the Relationship between Institutional Rank and Student Engagement

In a reprise of Pike’s research, the current study examines the relationship between three institutional ranking schemes, U.S. News, Forbes, and Washington Monthly and student engagement, as measured by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). Findings reveal few relationships exist between NSSE’s measures of student engagement and the three institutional ranking schemes, except for a modest negative relationship between rank and student-faculty interactions.

Read the article

Recent Presentations

Measuring Convergent and Discriminant Relationships Between High-Impact Practice Participation and Student Engagement Among Community College Students

Using data from 79,755 respondents to the Community College Survey of Student Engagement from 455 institutions, the relationship between HIP participation and student engagement was measured via hierarchical linear modeling.

See presentation slides



Effects of Compositional Diversity on Engagement of Community College Students With Disabilities

Using 96,985 responses to the Community College Survey of Student Engagement from 503 public institutions, multilevel modeling was employed to measure how student-level use of these services and institution-level average use of these services relate to the engagement of students and specifically students with disabilities.

See presentation slides

Council for the Study of Community Colleges Conference


Examining equity and student success using CCCSE data

The Center for Community College Student Engagement’s (CCCSE’s) Research Affiliate Program was launched in 2020 to encourage greater utilization of CCCSE data to extend our understanding of student engagement across diverse community college populations. This session presents the work of five Research Affiliates examining student engagement among diverse populations such as active military and veteran students and students with disabilities, as well as the role of faculty in promoting student success. These works demonstrate how CCCSE data can be used to identify areas of need to better promote equity among all students and the role of faculty engagement.

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American Library Association


Not a Spare to spare: An experimental study in reducing average hold time between public library system digital collections 

Reducing wait time is a top prerogative of any digital collections manager in public libraries (Costello, 2017). One experimental strategy is monitoring the ratio of holds per title, and for titles that exceed the ratio, enabling the cost per circ (CPC) lending model for eligible titles. In our study, average hold time will be compared between three public library systems in the same state. In each system, the collections manager has employed a different strategy for reducing average hold time over three months.


The purpose of this research is to discern if any of the strategies are more effective, while accounting for differences between systems (e.g., number of users, budget, collection). The following research question guides our study: Accounting for system differences, is there a significant relationship between system holds management strategy and average hold time?

See poster

Read paper

College Student Personnel Association Of New York State Annual Conference


New Findings on High-Impact Practices

From his new book Delivering on the Promise of High-Impact Practices, Zilvinskis will highlight stories about how campuses have demonstrated fidelity, scale and quality in the pursuit of equity within their High-Impact Practices.

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Engagement of Students with Disabilities

Zilvinskis has led a team of higher education scholars to update survey measures of disability. These survey items have been added to the 2021 National Survey of Student Engagement and their results will be shared during this session.

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The American Association of Colleges and Universities


This session shares findings from the new Stylus book Delivering on the Promise of High-Impact Practices, edited by the presenters. Assembled chapters draw from colleges and universities across country, including community colleges, regional comprehensives, and research institutions. The book presents up-to-the-minute work on HIPs, from authors taking on some of the field’s most vexing and persistent challenges: how to assure fidelity, to take practices to scale, and to assess reliably for impact.

Read my remarks

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National Center for Special Education Research


Participated in a Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting about research in postsecondary education for students with disabilities, sponsored by the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) within the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). This research focus is new for NCSER and we are organizing the TWG to help identify and prioritize the types of research that would best advance the field.

Technical Working Group Summary

Meeting agenda

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See presentation key points

Updating the NSSE Disability Items


Our proposal included two major changes. First, our research team wanted to update the stem of the first question. The existing language came from the medical model of disability, including the word “diagnosed.” Our criticism of this approach is that it removes the efficacy of the student and puts diagnosis in the hands of a third-party medical professional. Second, our team wanted to expand the options for the follow-up question, which would provide researchers and educators with a better option for disaggregation.

Read NSSE Sightings blog post

The Center for Community College Student Engagement Research Affiliate


The two primary goals of this program are to advance research on community college student experiences by increasing access to the largest data set of its kind and to enhance the visibility of affiliates’ research on community colleges and community college students.

Program website

Assessment Network of New York Keynote Speaker


In this presentation, Assessing High-Impact Practices, issues of advancing equity, assuring fidelity, achieving scale, and assessing outcomes of High-Impact Practices are explored through figures of prominence, my own research, and passages from our volume.

See the presentation slides

See HIPs scholarly resources

New Research Presented at the Assessment Institute


The purpose of this presentation is to use national data to identify areas of under enrollment in HIPs for underserved students. These findings will provide direction for community college stakeholders to ensure equitable participation in HIPs. Furthermore, this presentation will promote better familiarization of CCSSE data and encourage stakeholders to make use of their own institutional information.

See the presentation slides

Research Presented at the Association for Institutional Research Forum Annual Conference


The purpose of this session is to demonstrate how triangulating Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) survey responses with federal Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) information exposes a data quality issue, specifically when understanding the population of students with disabilities at 2-year institutions.

See the presentation slides

Research Presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting


Measuring Convergent and Discriminant Relationships between HIP Participation and Student Engagement among Community College Students

See the presentation slides



The Effects of Compositional Diversity on Engagement of Community College Students With Disabilities

See the presentation slides

Research Handbook on University Rankings


Chapter 23: Does teaching count? The relationship between US News World Report faculty resource measures and students experiences with faculty by John Zilvinskis, Louis M. Rocconi and Alexander C. McCormick. 


For the purposes of the current chapter, we focus on the measures within the Faculty Resources category of the U.S. News & World Report rankings to see how (or if) they relate to the NSSE’s measures of Student-Faculty Interaction and Effective Teaching Practices.

Book information

University World News coverage

Higher-ranked colleges don’t provide a better educational experience, new study shows


College rankings dominate the conversation regarding quality in postsecondary education, but new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York reveals that rankings have little to no relationship to student engagement, an important indicator of collegiate quality. 

Beyond the classroom, research helps faculty reach underserved students


Like any professor, Assistant Professor John Zilvinskis spends a good portion of his day teaching and working with University students. However, his research interests and his background mean that he also studies students just like the ones he’s teaching.